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The best bargain, the most content about the Seahawks or football, and the goal to reach the most important one-percent of fans on the Internet
If we can get one-percent of the people who follow the Seattle Seahawks on Twitter to subscribe to this newsletter, Seaside Joe will be the most successful website on the Internet and/or person on the planet who covers the Seahawks. That’s all it would take: Not 100%, not 50%, and not 10%. Only 1% of their 2.5 million followers and Seaside Joe will be the biggest Seahawks story about people who write Seahawks stories.
Joe Note: This is a self-indulgent update about the Seaside Joe newsletter and not an article about the Seahawks, so if that sounds completely boring to you then I encourage you to skip it and I will take no offense. You signed up for a SEAHAWKS NEWSLETTER, not a NEWSLETTER newsletter, so I get it and you don’t have to worry about this as a regular thing; I will write 500 articles about the Seahawks this year, so editions like this one comprise 0.2-percent of the content. Why write any article like this one? I wouldn’t be here if I wasn’t always highly competitive about writing and check-ins are important because there is no easy way for you to see how Seaside Joe compares to other NFL newsletters. Is there more content than average or less content? Is it the most expensive subscription or is it the least expensive?
(Hint: It’s by far the most content and it’s easily the least-expensive.)
For those of you who are interested in the progress we’ve made, where we currently stand on Substack, and where we’re going, then read ahead. For those who aren’t, the regular free Seahawks newsletter will be posted later today and I’ll see you then!
How a Seahawks community can reach Number One on Substack
Comedy agent Barry Katz opens his podcast with a soundbite of him saying, “If you’re undeniable, you can’t be denied.”
Even if 99-percent of the Seahawks followers on Twitter never find out that we exist, we’ll still be number one among NFL newsletters. That’s why I have been so confident over the last year that Seaside Joe is more than capable of making a dramatic impact on sports media and our trajectory towards that goal has been undeniable. Despite me quitting social media in 2020 and not having a fraction of the reach of my competitors, we have shown consistent growth of total subscribers over the past 14 months on Substack:
There’s no marketing at or of Seaside Joe. No “tricking the algorithm”. No boosts from the Substack mothership. We get barely any recognition from other people who write about or talk about the Seattle Seahawks telling their followers to “read Seaside Joe!”. The reason we keep growing is because of YOU—Seahawks fans telling other Seahawks fans about us—and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I don’t want people to be tricked into Seaside Joe and I don’t want to simply have “the biggest numbers”, I only want to share my thoughts on the Seahawks—based on writing about the team everyday for the last 12 years, starting with a $25 per month contract in 2011—with other fans who feel like this newsletter is not a waste of their time.
Given that I ask you to read something that I write about the team literally every single day, it is imperative that I never waste the most valuable possession in anyone’s life: Time.
Hand-in-hand, the bigger we grow and the more Seahawks fans we reach, the more time I will have for Seaside Joe.
Football Newsletters in the Top-40 of Sports
As I write this, Seaside Joe has made it all the way to being 42nd on the Substack rankings for paid subscribers of sports newsletters. That’s not bad for someone who didn’t get hired by Substack, who doesn’t work at ESPN, and who isn’t a former coach or professional athlete. My unique skill and elite attribute has always only been one thing: I say “obsessively prolific”. Others might just say “annoying”.
You recall that I’ve pointed out—way too many times—that this newsletter has gone out for over 1,500 days in a row. Or that other Seahawks writers are preparing to do very little work over the summer, if they’ve done much since the season ended. Or that nobody else on Substack writes as often as Seaside Joe does.
But those are hollow claims without proof. This is proof.
This is not me saying that these are bad writers (they’re good writers), or that they should be punished (by all means, give them rewards), or that I’m better than them (in many ways, I’m worse!). This is only be providing proof to my claims that you’re getting an incredible bargain at Seaside Joe that you will find literally nowhere else.
There are 41 sports Substacks with more paid subscribers, but only six of them are about football. These are the six newsletters with more paid subscribers, what they charge, and what type of content is provided.
6. Go Long, by Tyler Dunne (15k subs)
April Posts: 40 total, 17 paywalled
“Thousands of paid subscribers” paying $8/month
No one else on this list will come close to Tyler in the total amount of content that was created in April, but I do think some distinctions are necessary. I don’t think podcasts count and I don’t think announcements/’send me mailbag questions’ should count: Of these 40 posts, nine are podcasts and six are announcements. That brings the total number of posts down to 25.
Of those, 13 are guest posts by Bob McGinn, who you may remember posted the S2 scores on Go Long last month. I don’t believe that McGinn will write as regularly after the draft. Tyler Dunne personally wrote seven articles in April that anyone can read for free and paying subscribers at $8/month got one additional article last month. The others were from McGinn.
9. The Draft Scout, by Matt Miller (19k subs)
April Posts: 8 total, 7 paywalled
“Thousands of paid subscribers” paying $10/month
The one “free” link is an announcement to come follow their live mock draft on April 11th. Five of the posts were written by Draft Scout’s writer “Mello”, one was by “A. Scout”, and the only thing that Matt Miller posted as himself was his “Final Big Board”. For $10/month during draft month, Miller posted one big board.
13. The Chief in the North, by Seth Keysor (9k subs)
April Posts: 12 total, 10 paywalled
“Thousands of paid subscribers” paying $5/month
Seth posted eight “know your draft crush” prospect preview articles, the first of which was free. If I was a Chiefs fan, I’d definitely be keen on Seth’s content—same as basically all the writers here!—I’m only noting the difference that you’re getting with Seaside Joe compared to the top football newsletters in the world.
I hate putting articles behind a paywall, but I do have to create content that encourages people to become paid subscribers and rewards those who have done so because that’s just common business sense. That’s why I write so many free and paid articles. I have to give away an article for free everyday before I can think of what to put behind a paywall. Most other Substacks go in a different direction and they put everything behind a paywall, but I think I have good reasons for not doing that and would rather put in the effort to just write multiple articles per day.
17. MatchQuarters, by Cody Alexander (8k subs)
April Posts: 10 total, 4 paywalled
“Thousands of paid subscribers” paying $6/month
If you want more insight on Xs and Os, MatchQuarters would be a good resource, even just as a free subscriber. I’ll even share Cody’s thoughts on the Devon Witherspoon pick because I think they’re worth reading!
Seattle Seahawks - Devon Witherspoon/CB, Illinois: I tweeted last night right after this pick that the combination of Tariq Woolen and Devon Witherspoon allows the Seahawks to play aggressively outside. Pete Carroll is a notorious off-ball Cover 3 coach but has been transitioning to more of a Fangio style of play for the past few years. In my mind, the Seahawks saw the success of former Denver DC Ejiro Evero and his use of Surtain and Mathis, both on-ball (press) CBs. The ability to shut down outside threats allows the defense to pack the middle of the field. I love this pick.
I’m not mean, I’m nice! Just noting the differences with Seaside Joe.
28. Purple Insider, by Matthew Coller (4k subs)
April Posts: 25 total, all paywalled
“Hundreds” of paid subscribers paying $7/month
Matthew posts about five full articles per week but I couldn’t quite say anything about the content because literally every word is behind a paywall. Which might be a good way to go for some people! I don’t do that because I like sharing Seaside Joe’s thoughts on the Seahawks for free everyday so that you all feel empowered to read, join the conversation, and hopefully share us with other Seahawks fans at times. When I see 4,000+ total subscribers and roughly 600 paid subscribers, that tells me that at least 3,400 people are subscribed to an e-mail that they can’t even preview.
I want to give you something about the Seahawks to read everyday, even if you’re a free subscriber.
41. Unexpected Points, by Kevin Cole (2k subs)
April Posts: 22 total, 14 paywalled, 8 podcasts
“Hundreds of paid subscribers” paying $9/month
For what it’s worth, this is not The Ringer’s Kevin Cole. There were five free articles written in April. If you like analytical takes and podcasts, then Unexpected Points might be for you.
Before getting to Seaside Joe’s April numbers, a quick reminder:
-Six newsletters posting a total of 20 free articles about football in the month of April. That’s an average of about three free articles per month per writer in the top-six football newsletters on the entire platform. Let’s be generous and say that there were 93 total articles written, which is an average of about 15 articles per writer, although about 20 of those were guest posts.
How does that compare to your Seahawks newsletter, Seaside Joe?
42. Seaside Joe, by Seaside Joe (2.1k subs)
April Posts: 53 total, 12 paywalled (41 free articles about the Seahawks)
Almost 500 paid subscribers paying $5/month
Seaside Joe posted twice as many free football articles in April as the top-six football newsletters…combined! Twice as many!
No podcasts. No announcement posts. No “asking for questions for a mailbag and this is a 10-word article”. No short articles whatsoever. No guest posts (although maybe I’m missing opportunities there!). And we are the least-expensive Substack on this list.
Over 50 full articles about the Seattle Seahawks and that’s a typical month, not just a “draft month” spike that won’t come back around for another year.
I’m not putting down any other writers (although I will say that Matt Miller’s numbers for a draft analyst during draft month were shocking) only pointing out what you’re getting with Seaside Joe relative to other writers in this same space because I know that Substack is still a new place where nobody is actually tracking the numbers like they do on other social media sites; I’m like the guy on ‘90s infomercials saying “These prices are so crazy, I’m going to go out of business!”
Seaside Joe is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
I’m not mad and I’m not jealous, I’m grateful. We came from nothing, we’ve been handed nothing, and look at what we’ve been able to accomplish with nothing! We’ve gone from nowhere to 42nd overall and I can see Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (72,000 subscribers) in our sights.
Our paid subscriber growth rate over 14 months:
If you already are a paid subscriber and feel like this place is worth $10 per month, the Regular Joes level (click here) at $120 per year will soon have content too.
The Quest for One-Percent and “Why a newsletter”?
The Seahawks have 2.5 million followers on Twitter, so one-percent of that figure amounts to 25,000 fans. There isn’t a single football newsletter on Substack—which is the top newsletter platform on the Internet and Seaside Joe’s host—that has 20,000 subscribers. Only 14 months ago, we didn’t have 200 subscribers. Today, we have over 2,100.
So if we got 10 times larger in the past 14 months, what would it take to grow 10 times larger again?
Nobody full-asses the right media jobs anymore
In that time, I have focused my efforts of covering the Seahawks in ANY form or fashion solely into the Seaside Joe newsletter. That means no Twitter, no podcast, no YouTube, and no TikTok. I will keep doing that both until and beyond the moment we reach one-percent of the team’s followers on Twitter. I believe that because you’re getting 100% of Seaside Joe’s attention in this one place, that’s why the quality and consistency of the content is vastly superior to the quality and consistency of content on other websites like Twitter, YouTube, and TikTok.
And to me, there’s nothing lazier today than doing podcasts and livestreams and calling it content. Clicking “Go Live” and talking for an hour into a webcam is not a job, it’s what all of us do these days, we just call it…”FaceTiming with friends and family and shooting the shit about the Seahawks.”
It blows my mind that creators still use Twitter, a website that: a) pays nothing, b) makes money by SELLING YOU AND YOUR INFORMATION as a number and as a product, c) is 25-percent ads, and d) is mostly streamed with tweets that you wouldn’t have actually read if you had the choice to go back and get that fraction of a second back in your life; many fractions of many seconds adds up to many days, weeks, and years of your life wasted reading content that you wouldn’t have read if you had the chance to do it over.
Twitter is a collection of throwaway thoughts and ideas. So throw it away.
So many others who work in my industry end up spreading themselves so thin between tweeting, doing podcasts, and (most rarely) writing articles that they no longer full-ass a single one of those jobs. They give one fraction of themselves to each website—Twitter, TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, Podcasts—and never consider whether they even have the skills and abilities to do a good job at any of those things or the inclination to improve their skills before getting started.
That’s why I quit everything that wasn’t directly helping me become a better writer: I stopped doing the podcast. I stopped tweeting. I stopped making YouTube videos. All things that I was doing for nearly a decade but I never got significantly better at doing because of one simple reason: Deep down I never wanted to be better at those things because those things aren’t what I am passionate about like I’m passionate about this newsletter.
I got into this business to be a writer. Not a podcaster, YouTuber, or a social media brand. You’re never going to be great at something that constantly feels like homework.
And people will say, “Oh no, you HAVE to do those things these days to promote your writing!” No you don’t. I didn’t need proof of that, but Seaside Joe is now proof of that. We are infinitely better off because I quit doing all of those things. There is no better way to promote your writing than to improve the quality of your writing. That’s it.
When I first got paid $25 per month to write about the Seahawks, which amounted to about $1 per article or $.50 cents per hour, I immediately stopped paying attention to other sports. No more Mariners, no more NBA, and no more college sports. I felt like an hour spent with another sport was an hour that I could have used to learn something about the NFL.
It’s the same way with creating content about the NFL; every hour I was spending on Twitter or YouTube or a podcast was an hour I could have spent writing about the Seahawks.
We don’t have that problem anymore and we won’t ever again. My commitment is to keep creating the most unique Seahawks, football, sports, and any-kind-of newsletter that there is and by the time that we bring one-percent of Seattle’s followers on Twitter over here to be subscribers, we won’t have to go to those other websites anymore.
They’ll be coming to us.
Seaside Joe is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
Thanks for letting me get that out and let me one more time express a massive amount of gratitude for YOU getting out the word on Seaside Joe to other Seahawks fans. You are the reason we’ve been doing so well and you are the reason we will achieve unprecedented numbers!
Another free Seahawks newsletter to come later on Tuesday. What about? You’ll have to subscribe to find out.