This is a critical question. The post schedule and frequency of a subscription newsletter involves a series of trade-offs.
For example, your paid subscribers are (presumably) receiving premium content that free sign up readers are not. But does this mean that you shouldn’t also send paid subscribers the content received by free sign ups (in addition to their premium content)?
Conversely, you don’t want to inundate your paid subscribers with too much content. You (most likely) want your paid subscribers to only receive high quality content. For paid subscribers, less is often more. They expect to get regular and concise newsletter issues with valuable or entertaining information.
Since they are paying a premium to access this content, it typically will not include external ads, lengthy self promotion, or CTAs encouraging them to “become a paid subscriber” because they already are a paid subscriber.
However, a major part of running a successful paid subscription newsletter is the ability to convert free newsletter sign ups into paid subscribers. And besides the direct in-newsletter advertisements, what is the best way to convince free sign ups to take action become a paid subscriber? Demonstrate your value by publishing high quality content.
Of course, if you are already producing high quality content, that is exclusively available to your paid subscribers, you may find yourself in, what I refer to as, “The Subscription Newsletter Content Paradox“:
High quality content and frequent advertisements are essential to get paid subscribers, but you can’t simply give away all your best content for free. If you offer too much of your high value content to your free sign ups, there will be little incentive for readers to pay for access to premium content, and those that do pay to upgrade may be disappointed. Having readers feel unsatisfied will ultimately result in a higher newsletter churn rate and possibly frustrate your readers.
Luckily, now that subscription newsletter platforms such as Substack, Revue, and Ghost have been around a few years, there are a lot more subscription newsletters to look to as examples and data to help you pick the right frequency for sending out your Substack newsletter.
I’ve also personally been operating a subscription newsletter (Blogging Guide), so I can offer my insight and share the data I’ve collected so far.