By all means, Patreon is one of the most popular online patronage platforms for YouTube creators. Patreon allows your loyal followers to pay a certain amount of money each month for access to exclusive content. You can have multiple tiers of patrons, providing them with anything from behind-the-scenes footage to completely new content (that non-paying members can’t see).
Some YouTubers give their patrons access to videos a day early, others even throw in some one-on-one time with the creators themselves. Patreon is a fantastic option for creators with a loyal fanbase. More often than not, that loyalty is gained through consistent communication and engagement with your followers.
Who uses Patreon? If you’re ready to take your work to the next level and willing to open your heart to your audience, Patreon is for you. From Podcasters, Video Creators, Musicians, Visual Artists, and even Communities. As well as Writers & Journalists, Gaming Creators, Nonprofits, Tutorials and Education as well as Creators-of-all-kinds.
Basically, it’s more easier to use than you think. And there are many ways to delight your fans and every creator can find their own. Choose a few of the ideas list, or invent new ones. ”I’d rather have 300 patrons than 3 million Instagram followers” — as states jmexclusives.
What is Patreon?
On Patreon, you can let your fans become active participants in the work they love by offering them a monthly membership. Give them access to exclusive content, community, and insight into your creative process. In exchange, you’ll get the freedom to do your best work. And the stability you need to build an independent creative career.
Through Patreon, you can develop a recurring income stream. Stop rolling the dice of adverts revenue and per-stream payouts. Get recurring income through monthly payments from your patrons. ”The reliable monthly income has made it possible for me to spend less time chasing checks and more time creating” — Says Mikki Kendall.
Take back creative control and create what you want and what your audience loves. You don’t have to conform to popular taste or the constraints of ad-based monetization models. ”Twenty years into my career, I realize I’ve been scattering my creativity and energy, chasing the approval of algorithms or network executives” — Says Baratunde Thurston.
Then again, build a direct, meaningful connection with your audience. No ads, no trolls, no algorithms. Enjoy direct access and deeper conversations with the people who matter the most. With Patreon, it’s not about likes and views. You can really connect with your fans, ignore the haters and focus on the positive.
How does Patreon work for Business?
If only I could quit my job and have more time, I could make this a full-time business. But, is creating this volume of content worth it for the revenue it generates?
Unfortunately, I feel like ads and sponsors are influencing the direction of my art. I need ways to expand my income without packing in more ads.” If any of those sound familiar, you’re in good company. Every creator wrestles with monetization, from the ‘when’ to the ‘how.’
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If the ‘how’ lets you retain creative control over your work while you scale your business, even better. In this article, you’ll find an introduction to the membership model. An effective, field-tested way for independent creators like you to drive predictable revenue for your creative work.
With the membership model, you can earn monthly revenue directly. Particularly, from your audience without depending on ads or sales.
Do you want some examples?
- Licensed therapist Kati Morton left two part-time jobs to focus on her YouTube channel.
- Andy, Mike, Jason, and Brooks, run an independent podcast about fantasy football that supports all four of them full time.
- Indy, Flo, Tony, Markus, and Julian built a YouTube show about World War I that has taken them all over the world.
Of course, we could go on, but you get the idea. So, let us ask…What if you could tap into a small group of your most passionate fans.
The ones who would be thrilled to support you financially month after month? What would that mean for your life? More time? More freedom? The chance to leave a job you despise? Something else entirely?
Related Topic: 010 Introduction to Patreon With Bremner Morris
Bremner Morris, Patreon’s Head of Creator Partnerships, and his team have helped hundreds of creators, counseling them on what the most successful creatives do differently to generate regular monthly income using the membership model.
Eventually, their work includes successful projects with a wide variety of creators. Including artists, YouTubers, podcasters, writers, and many others. And in the end, what follows is their framework. Above all, a simple, step-by-step guide you can use to drive predictable revenue—month after month—with membership.
The membership model requires significant investment from both creators and patrons. Not every creator is ready to pursue the membership model, and not every audience is engaged enough to convert right away. Let’s help you decide if you’re ready to move forward.
Step One: Get knowledge on Membership
When you offer membership to your most passionate fans and followers, you’re not asking for donations. In fact, you’re not “asking for money” at all. Meaning that, when you launch a membership business, you’re entering into a value-for-value exchange with your fans.
It’s important to realize, asking for donations only goes so far. Approximately, 1% of your audience would be willing to make monthly donations to support what you already provide for free. But, that’s a small number because you have a lot of competition.
The more talented artists like you in the world, the more directions a consumer’s pocketbook is pulled. As a result, you have to find a way to justify a small (or even better, large) expenditure out of your fan’s monthly entertainment budgets.
As it turns out, you can turn that 1% of your audience into 10%-15% if they receive something extra in return. If you’re willing to engage your fans more regularly and commit to a benefit-driven system, you have a good shot at converting that 15% of your audience into active subscribers.
Step Two: Define what Success looks
Establishing a membership-based revenue model to support your art takes time away from what you’re doing now and may dictate what you do in the future.
In other words, if you’re going to pour time, energy, and emotion into this project, make sure it’s worthwhile to you. As you consider membership, decide what your success criteria are; doing so will guide the rest of your decision-making.
How much do you need to make per month to make the extra work worthwhile? How many fans do you want to engage with you? No matter what motivates you, it’s important to know what needs to happen for you to consider it a success. For an independent creator, that could be $1,000/mo.
If you’re a team of actors who produce comedy videos every week, that number can (and should) be higher, maybe something more like $5,000/mo. Alternatively, you could define a number of fans—say, 200—whom you want to be active post-launch. Maybe you want to convert 10% of the readers who visit your comic every week.
Picking a number will help you decide what to offer your fans in exchange for the membership and select pricing tiers accordingly.
Step Three: Make sure you Establish goals
In this case, through Patreon, you can hit enough targets and you could even leave your “day job” behind to pursue your passion, supported by happy fans. A when we mention “goals,” we simply are referring to your personal success criteria. Not the optional goals feature on your Patreon page.
Many creators have had—and then funded—amazing ideas to enhance their work and reward fan participation. For example, The Great War is a video series about World War I posted on YouTube each week. One of their goals was to travel to important sites of the war.
At one time, when they hit their goal, the whole crew packed up to film episodes in historically relevant sites, starting with Poland. It was a massive success, and they made repeat trips to new countries.
Deciding what you would do if you hit major milestones in your membership numbers will help you pitch the idea to your fans. Not to mention, if they can get excited about those goals, too, they’re that much more likely to support.
What are the Benefits of using Patreon?
Selecting benefits is a balancing act between effort and impact. If a benefit takes significant effort but has a low impact on your bottom line, you have three options. Whereby, you can offer the benefit as-is and risk burnou, or even raise the cost of the benefit.
Equally important, you can also skip that benefit and do something else instead. For example, a podcaster could create a bonus episode once per week. It would take a few hours to produce, but would attract small donations from a large number of fans. Low effort, high impact.
Keeping your definition of success in mind, plan your membership tiers. Such that you will earn enough money to make your endeavors worthwhile at rates your budget-minded fans can get behind.
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Some of the best benefits don’t take a lot of extra time, but attract a lot of members. Successful membership models typically combine several of these benefit types. Therefore, you should focus on benefits that will best engage your audience and their interests.
Keeping in mind, most benefits of Patreon fall under five categories. Including, engagement, access/insight, fan recognition, digital and physical benefits;
With this benefit, you offer fans the opportunity to interact with you directly. You can conduct livestreams, set up a channel on Discord or Slack, and even host an in-person event for fans.
The more exciting the interaction, the higher level of support you can expect. For example, YouTuber Peter Hollens offers to fly out any supporter who’s “crazy enough” to support him at $750/mo. Each fan who does gets to hang with him and his family on the set of a new video.
This type of benefit involves giving your fans a ‘sneak peek’ into your creative world. If you’re a musician, for example, you might tape and share creative sessions in the studio.
Fans love access to a work in progress or ‘making of’ videos. Some artists maintain a private snapchat with insight into their creative process. Not everything is about the finished product—many fans want to see the journey, too.
3. Fan Recognition
Patreon slang for fan recognition benefits is “where the fans get the feels.” It’s all about helping fans feel good about the money and time they invest in your community (as they very well should).
As an example, if you produce videos or podcasts, you can add supporters to the credit roll. If you make a CD, you can put their names in the sleeve. Some creators have a ‘fan of the week’ spotlight that encourages engagement. Ultimately, you’re giving a shout-out to the fans who proudly support you.
4. Digital & Physical
If you enjoy creating bonus content, chances are some (or all) of your fans enjoy consuming it.Depending on how much you charge and how much work it takes, you can easily distribute digital or even physical works to your supporters.
For example, if you’re a comic artist, you might draw bonus comics or sketch your characters in goofy costumes. Many fans happily pay for access to the sketches. Alternatively, you could offer computer wallpaper to download. Some creators mail little gift boxes to their higher-tier monthly supporters.
Last Step: Create a Marketing strategic plan
At this point, you should know what you and your fans will get out of optional membership. Next, you should decide how to communicate those benefits to your audience.
Think about your social media presence and how you currently engage with fans. How will that change when you transition them toward a membership model? Do you need to adjust how frequently you communicate? Will you need to change the content you share?
1. Educate your Fanbase
In the first place, you should be able to educate your fanbase. And if you have a website, you could change the copy on your site to promote your membership benefits. One of the most successful ways to explain a new membership option is to film yourself explaining the change.
Additionally, you can talk about things like benefits, goals, and what the project means to you. Help your fans understand how the membership will benefit both them and you.
2. Generate an Excitement for a Launch
Always remember, it’s very important to drum up anticipation across social media channels before the big launch.
Simply, because fans who are hyped for the ‘big reveal’ are more likely to sign up or even subscribe. Drop hints that something exciting is coming, and then start teasing what could happen in you meet your goals. And however how you decide to approach it, it’s critical that you have a marketing plan.
You’ll need to prepare your platform, produce new marketing content, and decide what activities you want to do for launch. And in addition, it’s not a bad idea to have some material prepped and ready to go. That way, you know you’ll meet initial deadlines for benefit fulfillment.
Finally, carve out some time in your schedule to communicate with fans as they adjust. Being there to answer questions and troubleshoot problems will only strengthen their commitment in the long run.
After the launch, what comes next? The initial launch won’t be the end of your efforts. You’ll have benefits to create, new options to try, and feedback from fans.
As you proceed, you’ll need to consider things like; how to drive ongoing conversions and how to prevent churn and increase fan loyalty. As well as how to manage your benefit fulfillment and ongoing obligations.
All of these things will help you increase the steady income you gain from your initial launch activities. After that, the sky’s the limit. Keep in mind, there are more than 3,000 video creators making more than $1,000 each per month on Patreon. So, which benefits are earning these creators the most money?
The top 5 are access to bonus/exclusive content, early access, physical merchandise, polling, and patron recognition. You can see a complete list of Top 5 Highest-Earning Tiers for Video Creators. While at the same time, you can start using this platform here.
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