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How Michael Nadeau Leveraged beehiiv’s API To Build a Custom Site

How Michael Nadeau Created a Custom Reader Experience With beehiiv’s API

As the innovation on and around public blockchains matures, crypto moves closer to becoming a universally accepted global asset class.

With the birth of a new asset class comes new concepts for investors to understand. Things like the power of open-source technologies. Token economics. Onchain financials. Open network business models. And how value accrues within the tech stack.

How do you make sense of it all?

That's where Michael Nadeau's research service, The DeFi Report, comes in.

How Michael Nadeau Leveraged beehiiv’s API To Build a Custom Site

The DeFi Report is an industry-leading research, advisory, and media firm focused on onchain data and fundamental analysis of crypto networks and protocols. The unique style for presenting research helps bridge the gap for traditional investors via familiar frameworks that follow cash flows and onchain fundamentals and KPIs.

Now, let’s dive into how beehiiv helped Nadeau. 

You’ll learn how he was able to leverage beehiiv’s API to build a custom site to deliver his research reports with unique features like responsive table of contents to increase audience engagement and enhance the reading experience for his subscribers.

Table of Contents

Meet Michael Nadeau, the voice behind The DeFi Report, which delivers industry-leading research, market insights, and onchain data right to your inbox.

How Michael Nadeau Leveraged beehiiv’s API To Build a Custom Site

In addition to the weekly newsletter reports, Nadeau also licenses his content and offers advisory services as his primary monetization channels.

Nadeau had been using Substack for two years, and had grown to 6,000 subscribers – many of which include asset managers, financial service providers, VCs, web3 natives, retail investors, and others who are just curious about crypto.

But, he wanted to take his business to the next level, so he switched from Substack to beehiiv.

How Michael Nadeau Leveraged beehiiv’s API To Build a Custom Site

Why beehiiv Over Substack?

As The DeFi Report grows, Nadeau may offer a premium research service for his highly engaged subscribers. One of the reasons he switched was because Substack charges a 10% cut-off of premium revenue, while beehiiv doesn’t take a cut at all.

Nadeau explained how, unlike Substack, “beehiiv is better set up for a more professional business.”

He also considered switching to Mailchimp, but that thought faded quickly.

“We were initially thinking that we would use Mailchimp as the backend for the newsletter. I've learned since then that Mailchimp is not super friendly to crypto companies.”

How Michael Nadeau Leveraged beehiiv’s API To Build a Custom Site

He went on to share how beehiiv’s segmentation is much better than Substack’s. Thankfully, with beehiiv, he can use segmentation to grow his subscriber base.

He explained, “We don't have a presence on TikTok. And I may want to introduce The DeFi Report to TikTok. What we can do with beehiiv is create links for influencers on TikTok to share. Then we know exactly where subscribers are coming from.”

From there, Nadeau can segment those readers within beehiiv and offer different content, track open rates, and potentially even create new products.

"[beehiiv] is set up for somebody who's running a serious business where Substack is a great tool for people to be independent publishers, but it's more of a starter type of tool.”

Migrating From Substack to beehiiv

How Michael Nadeau Leveraged beehiiv’s API To Build a Custom Site

“I was starting to see a lot of crypto publications moving to beehiiv. There were a lot of success stories on beehiiv. Blockworks, a larger and well-respected media company moved their operation over to beehiiv, and I kept seeing it come up on social media.”

One of the other reasons Nadeau eventually switched from Substack to beehiiv was beehiiv’s API. He wanted to get the most out of his newsletter content by being able to repurpose it onto his own website, like a “research feed.”

“Our content is not topical or news related. It’s deep research that our readers come back to. So I wanted to consolidate all of our content in one place, make it easily searchable, and deliver a better experience for our highly engaged readers. We were able to accomplish this with the beehiiv API.” 

He explained how he worked with his development company, Gigareef, to use beehiiv as his publishing tool and also his content management system. So, when he publishes on beehiiv, a webhook calls out to the website, enabling the post to be viewable at that slug, so the next time a user visits the site, they see the post on the homepage and can click to the article which will have the custom design and formatting as defined within beehiiv.

How Michael Nadeau Leveraged beehiiv’s API To Build a Custom Site

He also has a feature where the table of contents within beehiiv’s editor is replicated over to his website when he emails out a newsletter to his list, allowing for much better readability on his website.

Nadeau shared, “It’s a much better reader experience for us.”

Enjoying this beehiiv case study? Learn how Jennifer Chou of Vegan Tech Nomad made $16,000+ on beehiiv in Less Than 4 Months.

beehiiv’s API: Turning Newsletters Into Custom Blog Posts

How Michael Nadeau Leveraged beehiiv’s API To Build a Custom Site

Nadeau worked with Gigareef to leverage beehiiv’s API as a headless content management system (CMS). A headless CMS enables you to manage content in one place and distribute that content onto any digital channel you want. By combining this with a NextJS-built website, Nadeau is able to have the website deliver fantastic performance.

Unlike most newsletter operators who simply send their newsletter to their readers’ inboxes, Nadeau is also publishing his automatically on his custom website as research reports.

Nadeau shared how it’s easy for him to onboard writers and analysts since they only need to use beehiiv.

“We can create templates in there to make it really easy to onboard analysts and they never have to interact with the website. They just publish their research and work out of beehiiv. So there's no interaction with the website.”

How Michael Nadeau Leveraged beehiiv’s API To Build a Custom Site

Using beehiiv’s API, Nadeau and Gigareef were able to create the following:

  • Services page

  • Home page

  • Scrolling navigation menus

  • Readable URLs

  • Post categories

  • Custom table of contents

“It speaks to beehiiv’s flexibility and ability to be a sort of a modern web environment. The feedback I've gotten of the reading experience on the website has been fantastic from my readers as well.”

How Michael Nadeau Leveraged beehiiv’s API To Build a Custom Site

Nadeau’s Favorite beehiiv Features

While Nadeau has only been on beehiiv for two months, he’s already got a few favorite features including segmentation and support.


How Michael Nadeau Leveraged beehiiv’s API To Build a Custom Site

“I think my favorite feature is the segments. I know we have a highly engaged segment of our readers where the open rates are over 70%. 

With these segments, he’s able to create a poll or reach out to these different segments and see if they're interested in certain types of content. That way, he can learn what it is that they like and don’t like to improve his content.

How Michael Nadeau Leveraged beehiiv’s API To Build a Custom Site

Customer Support

Nadeau’s web developer, Gigareef, worked directly with beehiiv to make all the technical updates with the API on the back end.

Nadeau shared, “[Gigareef has] never seen this level of engagement from a customer support perspective for such a small account.”

He explained how Gigareef had worked with different software companies before beehiiv but that it was hard to get great support from them.

Mike Maffattone of Gigareef shared, “There was a time where we were hoping the API was going to do something and we reached out to Jacob [from beehiiv] and in five minutes, he wrote back, ‘Okay, we updated it.’”

“In all my years as a developer I’ve never worked with a company where an API doesn't do something and, in seconds, it’s enabled for you.”

“We were really pleased with the customer support side at beehiiv- with the attention and the support  throughout the process.”

Boosts & Referral Program

How Michael Nadeau Leveraged beehiiv’s API To Build a Custom Site

While Nadeau hasn’t technically tapped into beehiiv’s growth features yet, he’s excited to start leveraging Boosts and the referral program soon.

“You guys have the Boost network and a referral program. I've been getting some referrals already through beehiiv but I haven't been able to tap into these growth mechanisms just yet.”

Advice for Someone Thinking of Switching to beehiiv

Nadeau’s advice for someone who’s thinking of migrating over to beehiiv is to not worry about the migration.

“I would tell them that I think part of the of apprehension would be the migration, but I found that to be pretty straightforward. I had been writing on Substack for about two years or so, and I was able to bring most of my content over [to beehiiv] pretty seamlessly.”

How Michael Nadeau Leveraged beehiiv’s API To Build a Custom Site

Key Takeaways

Michael Nadeau switched over from Substack to beehiiv two months ago and now has a fully functioning, custom content system on his website thanks to beehiiv’s API.

Here are some key takeaways:

Think Like a Business First: Don’t think like a newsletter content creator. Think like a business owner and you’ll reap business rewards.

Get a Greater ROI on Your Content: By repurposing your newsletter content as custom research, you get the greatest reach for every piece of content you create.

Don’t Be Afraid to Try Something Different: Nadeau wanted to create a unique process on his website but beehiiv’s API couldn’t do it, until he reached out to support. Don’t be afraid to innovate and problem solve along the way.

Segmentation Matters: Understanding who your audience is and where they’re coming from is crucial to better serve them and double down on your acquisition efforts.

“At the end of the day we have this really nice looking website that functions really well and my readers are happy with it.”

To wrap it all up, Michael Nadeau’s story showcases how creators can leverage beehiiv’s API to create a unique user experience for their readers and get the most out of every piece of content they create.

By migrating from Substack to beehiiv, diving deep into segmentation, and leveraging beehiiv’s API to create a custom web experience on his website, Nadeau has positioned his research service and his business on the right trajectory to better serve his readers and grow his revenue.

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