How do I publish a free preview of a paid post on Substack?

On Substack, you can publish a free preview of a paid post for your free readers. This feature is flexible meaning that the placement of the paywall within the post is 100% up to you.

How do I get started?

1. Within the post editor, you can add a paywall directly from the tool bar:

Screenshot 2023-12-12 at 8.27.07 PM.png

2. Once the paywall is automatically embedded in your post, you can drag and move it between paragraphs.


3. To send a free preview of the paid post as an email to your free subscribers, make sure to do the following on the Publish page:

  • Post is set to "Paid subscribers only" or "Founding members only". 


  • In the Delivery section, check the box next to "Send via email and Substack app inbox". 


  • In the section that says "Send a free preview to..." check the box next to "Free subscribers". This section will not appear on the page unless you've selected to send via email and the Substack app inbox.


Note: If you switch the post from paid subscribers to "Everyone" or "Free subscribers only", the paywall will be removed.

Can I customize the paywall?

Yes! You can customize the header for free preview emails. 

1. On the post editor, click on "Edit email header and footer".


2. Click on "Edit" in the headers for free previews posts section.


Note: Customization is limited to only free preview email headers and won't appear on the web post.

What does the paywall look for free readers?

Free readers can view a preview of a paid post in their email, on the Substack app, or on the web version of the post.

  • Emails will have an Upgrade button, your customized free preview header (if you've set that up), and a list of subscription benefits.


  • Web posts will display "This post is for paid subscribers" and a Subscribe button.


Tip: To see what the paywall looks like via email, click on the Preview button which can be found on the post editor page and enter your email address in the "Send test email" section or use the Preview tool.
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