Stock Up, Stock Down: Seaside Joe
Covering the Seahawks on an extremely daily basis: This is Seaside Joe 1394
This will be the end of my 12th season of covering the Seattle Seahawks on some level of a “professional” basis, and the fourth season since starting Seaside Joe in March of 2019. A day has yet to pass in that time without a Seaside Joe newsletter going out, and we’re about three months away from hitting the four-year mark.
But no year in the history of Seaside Joe has been more pivotal to the success of the newsletter than 2022 and the move to Substack that almost perfectly coincided with the biggest trade in Seahawks history.
The decision to trade Russell Wilson invigorated a fanbase that had grown bored of slightly above average seasons that consistently led to disappointing finishes in the postseason, and at least gave us reason to perk up and pay attention to the Seahawks once again. Even the discourse over who to blame for losing five of the last six games is more interesting than whatever Seattle’s fans were arguing about from 2016 to 2021.
I think we had just grown tired of arguing over the same issues and finally now we could turn our attention to the draft, to the latest coaching changes, and to a new quarterback.
I created the original Seaside Joe on Mailchimp because I had never started my own newsletter before and when I searched the internet for newsletter services, they were the first to pop up; it’s amazing how a little girl saying their company name incorrectly during ads on the Serial podcast about eight years ago was one of the best campaigns I can think of. It worked on me!
But Mailchimp actually sucks as a platform for a Seahawks newsletter and in 2021 I decided to create a supplementary newsletter on Substack as a way to cover the NFL draft without bothering people who only wanted to read about the Seahawks because Seattle so rarely had draft capital worth writing about.
Then they traded Russ for two firsts (both of which will end up being in the top-10) and two seconds. I moved the entire newsletter over to Substack this past March… And now we’re really moving.
With 2022 almost over, I am doing a special edition of Stock Up, Stock Down, this time focusing on the Seaside Joe newsletter itself because I think it is important for everyone to know where we started, where we are going, and what we can do to keep getting better.
Seaside Joe’s success is not me, it’s us.
Since moving from Mailchimp to Substack in March, the number of total subscribers has skyrocketed from 115 to a present count of 1,443 subscribers. That’s an increase of 1,154-percent! (I think! I just Googled how to calculate the increase! Google! Could we be bigger than Google one day?!)
When Seaside Joe moved to Substack, I wasn’t sure if we would grow or collapse, but I never expected to have 11x as many subscribers in less than nine months. If we even have 2x as many subscribers by the time we do Stock Up, Stock Down for 2023, we’ll stay on track to make the S&P 500 soon.
On that same path is the number of people who have supported Seaside Joe with either $5/month or $55/year or $120/year for those who feel it’s worth $10/month, which does more than just help me pay for my internet and Stathead and FootballOutsiders and other football subscription services. Although it does do that too. Paid subscribers graph:
It’s a vote of confidence that inspires more bonus content, but it also helps keep the free daily Seaside Joe newsletter FREE and DAILY. The last 1,394 days in a row, to be specific, and the first 1,200 or so of those days had no paid subscription option prior to moving to Substack.
But the other side of that “coin” is that more paid subscriptions leads to more Seahawks content creators realizing that what we’re doing at Seaside Joe is good and important. Many people respect numbers more than they respect words, but the numbers lead them to the words. I don’t want anyone to feel any pressure to be anything more than a free subscriber—I love you just where you are—I just want to highlight how impactful the growing number of paid subscribers have been for Seaside Joe’s development to date…as well as where I hope we are going in the future.
If we get to 3x as many paid subscribers ($5/month for about 40-50 articles comes out to around a dime a newsletter) there’s no telling where Seaside Joe could go from there.
Words about the Seahawks
I pledged to write over 1,000,000 words about the Seattle Seahawks this year (500 articles averaging 2,000 words per post=1,000,000 words) and we’ve gone well past that already. Seaside Joe isn’t what I do for a living. It’s what I do when I’ve got free time away what I do for a living.
But it would be unfair for me to say that this is a “job” or that I don’t like it. Every morning for as long as I can remember, I’ve woken up thinking about football. It could be the Seahawks, it could be a player, it could be a concept about the sport that I want to explore. It’s always in the context of, “How do I start researching this? How do I want to cover this? And will there be GIFs?”
I can’t claim to be exhausted from writing over one million words about the Seahawks this year in addition to writing many words about other football teams. My mind would be exhausted if I didn’t turn those thoughts into pages day after day after day.
My only real concern, now that I’m 40, is that my hands and fingers don’t feel all that good and I wonder how soon I’ll need to learn talk-to-text to keep going. But I will keep going.
Maybe other Substack creators don’t put as much of an emphasis on COMMUNITY as I do, but in my opinion the whole power of a place like this IS the community. The people. Over 95% of people on ANY website do not comment, they just read. That’s the same for Twitter as it is for a blog and that’s normal. I support that.
Whether you’re an active member of the community or a passive member, you’re just as important, and in many ways the lurkers are doing me as much of a service as those who don’t hang in the shadows.
It’s interesting how much I would “live for likes” on Twitter in the past, even though these hold no currency in the real world. It’s just dopamine for your brain to think that you’re social standing has increased in some way. That is not why I like “likes” on Substack; here, it just helps me curate, improve, and design the newsletter when I know what’s hitting and what isn’t. Likes do not increase visibility, they don’t trick people into thinking that they’re star pupils for the day, and they aren’t even noticed by anyone else other than me.
If you think a post was worth your time, feel free to hit the heart. If you don’t, don’t. That helps me design the future of the newsletter.
Slowly but surely the average number of likes and comments from March to December has increased from ~0-5 to ~25-30 and that’s A LOT more engagement than you will see on 99-percent of Substack newsletters. I care a lot about the people who subscribe to Seaside Joe, whether you’re actively engaging or only reading and moving on with your day; it means a lot to me that you think I’d be worth five minutes of your day and I will keep working hard not to waste it.
You can feel free to let me know when I am.
I mean, now I’m just being literal.
“Oh wow, is this my chance to finally comment about politics on Seaside Joe???” - Somebody, I’m sure.
No, it’s not that. It’s just a joke. The focus here is not on Elon Musk, it’s on people who continue to waste their lives tweeting, like I did for nine years, non-stop. I tweet now at @seasidejoenews but only as a means to promote the Seahawks newsletter and sometimes as a reminder that it is a vile wasteland literally designed to eat your time so that it can show you ads and sell your information.
Substack is only a means to an end—this is not an endorsement of the platform, it is merely the way that I can connect to you everyday and one day I’ll be completely self-sustaining without relying on a company—which is that I want to share thoughts about the Seahawks with other Seahawks fans.
Most people who share that same inclination have ended up on Twitter, but aren’t we pretty much at the end of Twitter?
You don’t have to read ads at Seaside Joe. I’m not selling your e-mail addresses to anyone. And you don’t have to scroll through 80-90% crap before you get to the small nuggets of valuable information that you actually went to the website for; people who tweet about the Seahawks still think it is functional and smart to also tweet their thoughts about Burger King or Marvel or…Elon Musk.
We only do one thing at Seaside Joe: Football. And football that somehow pertains to the Seattle Seahawks. That’s it. You’re a Seahawks fan and that’s what you deserve. There are plenty of resources for your other interests, and I’m not trying to encroach on anyone else’s space, I’ll leave it up to them. My only interest here is the Seahawks and that’s what we can share without any other distractions or hidden agendas.
Forgive them, they know not what they’re doing.
I love rivalries. I love them in my sports. I love them in my movies. I love them in my rap music. I love them between people who cover sports, movies, and rap music. I’m willing to bet that you love them too.
I’m also willing to bet that Seaside Joe, a one-person operation hustling on it as a side gig, could get more paid subscriptions than The Athletic Seattle, which is backed by The New York Times and has many full-time employees. We’re already boasting more subscribers than any other blogger (by a lot) and I am motivated to keep pushing until and beyond the moment we’ve blown past everybody else.
You are Joe. We are Joe. Go Joe.
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