How to polish your publication's About page and one-line description

First impressions matter. Your Substack’s one-line description and About page are two of the first places readers will find you, so it’s worth investing the time in polishing them up.1

Jasmine from Substack’s Writer Development team led writers in a workshop to craft “About” pages and one-line descriptions that will attract new readers. Below you will find key takeaways, examples, and video recordings from the workshop.


The one-line description

A great one-line description clearly and concisely highlights what makes your publication special – what differentiates it from the other newsletters out there. For some writers, that’s their years of domain expertise; for others, it’s their unique voice and personality; and for yet others, it’s covering a niche that nobody else will or can. 

Your one-liner should signal who the target audience is and why they might subscribe. The goal should be for a reader to read your one-liner and say, “that’s me!” 

Start by asking yourself: 

  • Who wants to read your publication? You may have multiple reader types, and consider both demographic characteristics and personality types. 

  • Why do readers want to read your publication? E.g. motivation, humor, breaking news, professional development.

If you’re still stuck, read through positive comments and replies from readers, or think of one reader you know by name, and write the one-liner just for them. Your readers can often articulate your publication’s value proposition even better than you can!

Here’s some inspiration: 

  • Kosmic Cooking Club: Straight from an herbalist's kitchen to your inbox, you'll get weekly herbal recipes designed to keep you inspired and nourished.

  • Technically: Technically explains software in a simple and engaging way so you can impress your boss.

  • Tangle: An independent, ad-free, non-partisan politics newsletter that offers both sides of the biggest news stories every day. 

  • Flow State: Every weekday, two hours of music perfect for working.


The About page

Your publication’s About page is a place to tell new readers who you are and what you write about in greater length than the one-line description. The About page’s goal is to establish credibility with your readers while showing off your writing voice and style.

  1. About: What your publication is about, such as topic areas and post types (example). This description should also imply what your publication does for readers and your intended audience. (example)

  2. A brief personal bio: Who you are and why you’re qualified. (example)

  3. Newsletter logistics: How often you publish and for how much. (example)

  4. Subscriber benefits: What paid subscribers get. (example)

  5. Call to action: At least two subscribe buttons! 

Extras

You can jazz up a simple About page with any of the following additions:

  • Images of yourself and/or your subject matter: Images help define your publication’s brand, attach a face to your writing, break up large blocks of text, and serve as social media thumbnails. (example)

  • Editorial principles: A description or mini-manifesto for your publication’s editorial or philosophical approach. (example)

  • Testimonials from subscribers: Collect and publish compliments from your subscribers about why they love your newsletter. If the compliment was made in private, make sure you get permission. (example)

  • Highlighted posts or unlocked paid posts: Links to your favorite posts you’ve written. For paid writers, it may be useful to make an old paid post free again and link it to tease your paid work. (example)

  • How readers can get involved: Options for sending you feedback, joining a reader community (e.g. if you run a Facebook or Slack group), or pitching the publication. (example)

  • Why pay: Not everyone is used to paying for great writing. A candid, personal explanation of why paid subscribers matter to you can go a long way. (example)

  • Special offers: A link to special offer campaigns or student discounts. (example)

  • Press coverage (example)

  • Links to your other/past work (example)

Example About pages

Check out these top-notch About pages across a variety of publication genres:

Politics and news

Finance and investing

Culture

Technology

Local news

Food

Creativity and art

Sports


Join us at an upcoming Writer Workshop or event!

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You can edit both your one-line description and your About page on your publication’s Settings page.