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Patreon Guide: How to Get Started & Succeed on Patreon

Business Tools for the Independent Artist

www.independentIQ.com

Are you an independent artist (musician, filmmaker, writer, visual artist) trying to make a living from your creative work?

Would you like to:


  • {color:#101010;}Find more fans?
  • {color:#101010;}Find the best platform for selling your work?
  • {color:#101010;}Find the best strategy for releasing your work?
  • {color:#101010;}Develop a deeper connection with your fans?
  • {color:#101010;}Earn an income through micro-patronage sites such as Patreon?
  • {color:#101010;}Stay current with the latest and greatest tools and resources for building your creative career?

Then you should come visit us!

independent IQ was created for one purpose:

To present the best business tools and resources to empower independent creatives to leverage new technologies to make a living.

www.independentIQ.com

CONTENTS

TITLE PAGE

CHAPTER ONE

What is Patreon? Part 1

CHAPTER TWO

What is Patreon? Part 2

CHAPTER THREE

How to Get Started on Patreon

CHAPTER FOUR

How to Make a Patreon Video

CHAPTER FIVE

The Patreon Pitch & Description

CHAPTER SIX

How to Set Up Patreon Milestone Goals

CHAPTER SEVEN

Rewards for Patreon Patrons

CHAPTER EIGHT

The Patreon Thank You Message & Video

CHAPTER NINE

Examples of Great Patreon Pages

CHAPTER TEN

The Patreon Activity Post & Creation Post

CHAPTER ELEVEN

How to Launch a Patreon Campaign

CHAPTER TWELVE

How to Get More Patrons

APPENDIX

Patreon Tips & Tricks

[]

independent IQ: Business IQ for Creatives

PATREON GUIDE

How to Get Started & Succeed on Patreon

Andrew Middleton

www.independentIQ.com

Copyright © 2016 independent IQ

All rights reserved. No part of this book can be reproduced in any way, by mechanical or electronic means, including information retrieval and storage systems, or transmitted by email or other form, without explicit written permission from the publisher (except for brief excerpts in analyses or reviews).

Disclaimer

All product and company names are trademarks™ or registered® trademarks of their respective holders. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by them.

Neither the author or publisher has any relationship with Patreon™, Inc.

Neither the publisher nor the author assume any liability or responsibility whatsoever on behalf of the reader and/or purchaser of this book.

This book is solely for entertainment purposes. The views expressed in this book are solely those of the author, and should not be regarded as expert instruction or commands. The reader is solely responsible for his or her own actions.

While every attempt has been made to confirm the information in this publication, neither the publisher nor the author assumes responsibility for omissions, errors, or contrary interpretations of the content of this book.

Any perceived insult or slight of any organization or individual is purely unintentional.

What is Patreon? Part 1

Patreon is one of the greatest things to happen to creators of all types since the dawn of the internet (perhaps since the dawn of time?) It’s a platform to help creators get paid for the things that they create. It has been described as an ongoing Kickstarter campaign – where instead of funding one project, fans (patrons) are asked to sponsor the creator on an ongoing basis. In return for their patronage, patrons are given VIP treatment and have access to a variety of rewards (each Patreon creator comes up with their own rewards). Patreon is, in essence, a sophisticated digital tip jar.

Why is Patreon a Big Deal?

One of the most difficult challenges that creators encounter is trying to find ways to support themselves that won’t get in the way of creating. If they can figure this out, then it means that they are freed up to spend more of their time and energy creating things, rather than on income creation. What Patreon has done is to create a system whereby fans can substantially support the people that create the things that they appreciate.

Patreon is great for creators because:

  • {color:#101010;}They don’t have to make a hard sell
  • {color:#101010;}They don’t have to hide their creations behind a paywall in order to be paid, which would limit the reach of their creations and would keep them out of the hands of people that cannot afford them
  • {color:#101010;}It gives wealthier fans the opportunity to support creators in larger amounts
  • {color:#101010;}It creates an immediate connection between what is created and a tangible expression of appreciation (money) on the part of the fans
  • {color:#101010;}It potentially incentivizes the creator to be more productive as well as to push themselves to release the very best content, as they cultivate a closer relationship with their fans
  • {color:#101010;}It helps creators have a better idea of who their most ardent fans are, and by asking for (and receiving) support, they know that there are actually people out there who really want to see the new things that they’re creating
  • {color:#101010;}It’s a platform that can be grown over time – it promotes long-term and sustainable growth
  • {color:#101010;} Creators keep the vast majority (over 90%) of what they make (Patreon takes 5%, and credit card fees range from 2% to 4%)

Patreon is great for fans because:

  • {color:#101010;}They know that most of their money is going directly to the creator
  • {color:#101010;}They often get greater access to creators, through the rewards that are offered (which can include things like access to private Twitter feeds, webcasts, etc.)

Great! How Do I Get Started?

Head over to Patreon, take a look at the Featured section, and take note of how other Patreon creatives are marketing themselves on the platform. Note, in particular, how those in your own field are marketing themselves – if you find them in the Featured section, it suggests that whatever they are doing is working for them. Patreon currently uses human curation to determine which Patreon members get featured in the Featured section (I will explain the process of how to get your page in the Featured section later). Take a look at a number of different pages and find characteristics that are common to each page. Note what you like and what you don’t like, and you’ll begin to get an idea of how you’ll want to put together your own page.

What is Patreon? Part 2

Patreon provides tools to help creators connect with their fans. It’s a creator-based community that is for both creators and fans (patrons). In fact, while Patreon started out more focused on creators and their needs, they know that it is in the interests of creators for Patreon to focus on keeping patrons happy, too. To that end, Patreon is moving away from being creator-focused to being more project/art/piece-focused. Patreon’s CEO Jack Conte has mentioned that he would like it to be a place where fans come to discover new things. What this means is that rather than promoting particular creators, the site will focus on promoting particular created pieces.

Who Uses Patreon?

Patreon currently has 14 categories of creators:


  • {color:#101010;}Video & Film
  • {color:#101010;}Comics
  • {color:#101010;}Podcasts
  • {color:#101010;}Comedy
  • {color:#101010;}Crafts & DIY
  • {color:#101010;}Music
  • {color:#101010;}Drawing & Painting
  • {color:#101010;}Games
  • {color:#101010;}Science
  • {color:#101010;}Dance & Theater
  • {color:#101010;}Writing
  • {color:#101010;}Animation
  • {color:#101010;}Photography
  • {color:#101010;}Education

These categories are not hard-and-fast, in fact many (most?) Patreon creators could fit into two or more of these categories (a podcast on photography! An education show on animation!) Suffice to say, Patreon offers a breadth of interests to provide most creators with a category in which to be found. Patreon is still in the process of figuring things out and has made a number of tweaks already in this area (they no longer allow creators to choose more than one category, for example). Things are fluid, and I’m quite sure that their categories will change to reflect the needs of the community.

Patreon was originally conceived of as a funding platform for independent creatives, and it originally attracted largely emerging artists. As it has grown in popularity, however, it has begun to attract larger independent artists to its ranks. Amanda Palmer is one of the more recent additions to the Patreon family, for example (she currently earns over $35,000 per “thing” she creates).

What Makes for a Successful Patreon Page?

Many of the most successful Patreon pages have a number of things in common:


  • {color:#101010;}The creators were already successful on other platforms (see below, “Are You Ready?”)
  • {color:#101010;}The creators have already provided fans with a great deal of value (largely through the release of free things. Again, Patreon is, in a sense, a sophisticated digital tip jar.)
  • {color:#101010;}The creators have good rapport with their fans, which is usually developed through honesty and transparency
  • {color:#101010;}Many of the creators make it clear that they will continue to offer much of their content for free (and that patrons will receive VIP rewards)
  • {color:#101010;}Remember that Patreon is a place to “support and engage with the creators you love.” What does this mean? It means that Patreon is at least as much about who you are as it is about what you do. The most successful Patreon pages are generally the most transparent, open, and engaging ones.

Why Not Kickstarter?

As mentioned before, Patreon has been described as an ongoing Kickstarter, and this is true. While Kickstarter is focused on raising money for a certain project, Patreon is focused on raising recurring funds from super fans. Another reason many creators are attracted to Patreon rather than Kickstarter is that they find it less stressful. You can work at a pace that is comfortable without the stress of having to complete a project that has already been funded (patrons only get charged on delivery). You can also back out at any time (if it’s taking too much of your time, if it’s too stressful, if you have to deal with other things in your life) without feeling as though you have let anyone down.

Are You Ready?

Before we get into the nitty gritty of how to set up your Patreon page, I want to point out something worth considering – as mentioned above, success on Patreon is, generally, something that is preceded by success on other platforms (or by a certain amount of notoriety in a narrow professional field).* While Patreon is developing its own social aspect, the most successful Patreon pages are nearly all connected to other platforms.

This could be important because if you are not ready to make a splash on Patreon, you may end up missing out on one of the two current opportunities for free exposure – the Featured section, and the “Welcome to Some of Our Newest Creators” section (found on Patreon’s homepage).

Is Patreon for you? Only you can say. That said, even if you get a slow start, you can get your feet wet and be better prepared to make a splash once you have more of a fan base.

  • That said, even if you don’t think you’re ready, you’ll likely want to open your Patreon account (you can develop your page without actually publishing) so as to secure the unique Patreon URL that you would like (this will be particularly important if you’re worried that another creator will be going after the same URL!) I’m definitely not advising domain squatting, but if you’re sure that you will eventually publish a Patreon page, it’s something worth considering. If you end up deciding against publishing your page, you’ll want to delete your account so as to make the URL available to someone else.

How to Get Started on Patreon

Signing Up For Patreon

Once you have created a login (either using your Facebook account or email/password), click on the blue, “Get started” button at the top of the page (if you don’t click on this button, your account will simply remain a patron account).

The first part of account setup happens over four pages. Let’s look at each one in detail…

Page One: Who you are/Start here

Who are you?

This is the name by which you are known by your fans.

What are you creating?

You can put whatever you’d like here. If you produce multiple things under the same name, you can put them all here.

What are you getting paid for?

If you would like to be paid per/thing, then put whatever that thing is in this box (if it’s one of a variety of things, you could just put “thing”). If, on the other hand, you’d like to get paid per month, click the box next to “monthly campaign.”

How should you charge? Per/thing? Per/month? Your decision will depend, largely, on how frequently you create things. A helpful question to ask yourself is: at any given reward tier, how much do you expect your patrons to contribute? For example, if you produce a daily web comic, asking patrons to contribute $1/piece is probably unreasonable (that would be $30-or-so/month). A per/month model may make more sense for you. That said, patrons can put a monthly cap on their spending (and you should make sure they know this, and encourage them to do so if they are concerned about it – if they have not put a monthly cap, and you are really productive one month, you may find that you’ve upset some of your patrons by charging them more than they’d expected!)

Things to consider:

  • {color:#101010;}If you are charging per/month, remember that your fans will be expecting output on a regular basis
  • {color:#101010;}If you produce at a slower pace, or don’t want the pressure to produce, you’ll be better off going with a per/piece model
  • {color:#101010;}If you charge per/piece and you are really productive one month, you may want to warn patrons in advance

While your Patreon page is an experiment, and there are changes that you’ll likely need to make, having to explain to your fans why you’re changing your pricing structure could be a PR problem. If you can’t decide, the safer course is to go with per/piece and see how that works for you.

Choose the category that best fits your work

This is where you’ll choose the best category for your work. If you produce a variety of things, you’ll have to decide what it is that you’re best known for and choose that category. For many creators, a good way to decide which category to go with is to look at what social network they are most popular on: if it’s SoundCloud, then Music, if it’s YouTube, then Video & Film.

Also, if you produce enough work in a variety of media, then you may want to open a second Patreon account to highlight your other work. Jack Conte has said that they are working on channels, so that one Patreon account could have multiple pages for different media, but that is not yet possible. Once that becomes available, they said that they will provide an easy way to combine multiple Patreon accounts into one.

Upload a cover photo for your page

This image will appear along the top of your page (dimensions should be as close to 1600 × 400 pixels as possible). Especially if you are a visual artist, this is a great place to showcase some of your best work (and you can update it to keep your page looking fresh).

How to Make a Patreon Video

Page Two: Your Patreon page/Describe what you’re doing (Part 1)

Your video

There are two main things that should be in your video: one is your pitch (for more on the pitch, see the next section: The Patreon Pitch & Description) and the other is your personality and/or creativity. Unless you can make it really engaging, you’re going to want to keep it between one and two minutes in length (there are definitely successful Patreon videos that are longer, but if you have to err in one direction or the other, it’s better to err on the short side).

You may also want to create a video screen capture showing how the process of becoming a patron on Patreon works (you could play the video while you explain each part of the process). If you don’t want to create your own screen capture video, you can use the one that Patreon created (find it here: www.Patreon.com/toolbox/media).

Do you have to make an intro video? Technically, no, and there are successful Patreon campaigns that do not include an intro video. It is highly recommended, however!

The Patreon Pitch & Description

Page Two: Your Patreon page/Describe what you’re doing (Part 2)

Tell your patrons why they should pledge to you

The Pitch

The pitch is the case that you make to your fans; it’s where you introduce them to Patreon and to the idea of patronage. One could argue that who you are and what you create is as much a part of your pitch as the actual pitch (as it appears on Patreon). Who you are and what you create will play a huge role in how you go about making the formal pitch on your Patreon page.

Whatever you decide your approach is going to be regarding the details of your page (will you continue to give away a great deal of content? Are you putting most things behind a paywall? How often will you release creations?), you need to make sure that you are as clear as possible and that you explain to your fans the reasons that you’re doing what you’re doing. Also, keeping things as short and simple is important – most people don’t have time to listen to long pitches, so keep it short and sweet.

So…what should be the elements of your pitch?


  • {color:#101010;}Begin with a brief explanation of how Patreon works (eventually, you’ll want to re-work your pitch (once Patreon and patronage has become as well-known as crowd funding and Kickstarter) as you’ll be able to cut this section out). In particular, explain that you’re asking your fans to support you per/creation (or per/month, if that’s how you run your page).
  • {color:#101010;}If you are asking for support on a per/creation basis, let your fans know how often you plan to release pieces and give them some idea of what their per/month cost will be.
  • {color:#101010;}Make sure to let your fans know that they can set a monthly maximum
  • {color:#101010;}Let your fans know about the rewards that you are offering
  • {color:#101010;}Lastly, make a final appeal by explaining your vision for the future of your work, for your Patreon page, etc. Explain where you are currently as a creator and where you want to be in a year (or two). Tell a good story and people will be hooked. You want to convince them to come on the journey with you.

The Description

There is a diversity of opinion as to how long your Description should be. Some argue that it should be short and that most of your pitch should appear in your video. Others argue that, while including the pitch, a good portion of the video should be focused on revealing who you are as a person and as a creator. In this line of thinking, the Description is the place where you could include more details of your pitch.

Both ways can work. In any case, the Description is a great place to get more personal with your fans and to go into greater depth as to what being a patron means.

Here are some of the things that you’ll want to consider for your Description:


  • {color:#101010;}Include a direct version of your pitch written as a personal note to fans (do not write in third person!)
  • {color:#101010;}One question that you’ll want to answer before writing the Description: how familiar with your work are visitors to your Patreon page? If they are mainly your super fans, then the Description can be very personal. If you plan to get traffic from many people who do not already know your work, you may want to shape your Description accordingly.
  • {color:#101010;}You may want to include a note that, regardless of what fans give, you will continue to produce your art and to give a great deal of it away for free (if this is, in fact, what you plan to do)
  • {color:#101010;}You may want to include what you are planning to release, why you are planning to release in this way, and/or how often you plan to release
  • {color:#101010;}You can also embed things into this space: SoundCloud, YouTube, Bandcamp, etc. links
  • {color:#101010;}In your Description, and throughout your page setup (rewards, milestone goals, etc.), try to be realistic in setting up expectations. The way to do this is to base your output on your current output – how often do you release content? A good rule of thumb is to try to under promise and to over deliver.

Do you want to see what this looks like? I think Nataly Dawn did a great job with her Patreon page…you can check it out here. If you’d like even more inspiration, here are some other accounts to look at.

How to Set Up Patreon Milestone Goals

Page Three: Your goals/Set up funding milestones

Goals are optional and allow you to do something extra at certain funding milestones. If they’re set up the right way, goals can add a great deal of fan support/interaction to your Patreon campaign.

Goal/Title/Description

Put in the amount needed to reach the goal, what you’re going to call the goal, and a description of the goal. If you have more than one goal, click on the “+Add Another Goal” button.

How should you set up your Patreon milestone goals?

Goals can relate directly to the work that you do and that improve your ability to create and fulfill the rewards that you are offering to your patrons, they can be directly related to your personal life, or they can be focused on a reward that you offer to all of your fans.

Goals should:

  • {color:#101010;}Be clearly and concisely explained
  • {color:#101010;}Be attainable within a reasonable amount of time (this way you can cross the goal off of your list and create a new goal). This is particularly important at the beginning – being able to work towards an attainable goal inspires fans. You can add bigger goals later on.

Goals that are directly related to your work could be:

  • {color:#101010;}Purchase of new equipment
  • {color:#101010;}Hiring of someone to help with your work
  • {color:#101010;}Rental of a studio

Goals that are directly related to your life could be:

  • {color:#101010;}Paying for rent or a mortgage
  • {color:#101010;}Paying for school debt
  • {color:#101010;}Paying for health insurance

Goals that are directly (or closely) related to your fans could be:

  • {color:#101010;}Release of a new video (or song, comic, whatever) once the goal has been reached
  • {color:#101010;}A webcast concert (or Q&A, or live-drawing session, etc.)
  • {color:#101010;}A portion of proceeds will go to charity
  • {color:#101010;}Removal of advertising

Some people find it surprising that fans find goals that are directly related to your personal life compelling, but experience has shown that this is the case. Why? Because some fans become patrons for the rewards and other fans become patrons because they just want to help you out. Many fans care about the practical concerns of your life. Are you having trouble paying rent? Are you about to become a father or mother? Are you raising a child on your own? If you let your fans know about your struggles, they will often respond in positive ways. What this means is that a goal such as covering rent, or paying for health insurance, is completely legitimate.

Before deciding on a milestone goal, make sure that you appreciate the possible effects it could have on your relationship with your fans, as well as on your bottom line. Being transparent is helpful in building rapport and trust with fans, but there are lines that shouldn’t be crossed, and these lines are often difficult to discern. Also, while removing advertising may seem like a good goal, make sure that you aren’t going to miss the income in the long run. Although you can always change your mind, you need to be very careful to honor the trust of your fans.

Ask for Suggestions

Another way to go about this is to ask your fans to vote on what your next goal should be. Ask them for suggestions and/or make a number of suggestions. You could, for example, let them know what it would take to cover your rent, to pay off your school debt, whatever, and ask them what should be your next goal. If you don’t know which of the three types of goals will work best with your fans, you may want to test one of each type out; you won’t know unless you test.

Give Thanks!

Once you have achieved one of your goals, let your fans know! You may want to celebrate in a public way, or simply find some way to thank your patrons. Then, do what you said you were going to do with the money and let your fans know what a big difference the assistance has made. If you don’t have another goal set up, figure out what the next goal is going to be, set it up, and let your fans know that there is still work to be done!

Rewards for Patreon Patrons

Page Four: Reward/Reward your patrons (Part 1)

Reward/Details

Who doesn’t like to get cool stuff? As a Patreon creator your job (at least on Patreon) is to make sure that your patrons are being taken care of and receiving value from the things that you create. Every Patreon page and fan base is unique, but there are some general guidelines that you’d do well to keep in mind.

Do you know what kinds of rewards your patrons would like to receive? If not, you may want to ask them. You may be surprised by what you learn, and get some ideas that you’d never thought of!

That said, not all ideas are good ideas. While it’s important to make your patrons feel appreciated, it’s also important to offer rewards that you are able to easily fulfill (rather than rewards that are going to take too much of your time/energy/money). Let’s consider what some good and bad rewards look like.

Good Rewards:

  • {color:#101010;}Things that are digital
  • {color:#101010;}Things that are scalable (able to be fulfilled regardless of the number)
  • {color:#101010;}Things that don’t take too long to produce and distribute

Examples:

  • {color:#101010;}A Twitter shout-out or follow
  • {color:#101010;}A crowdcast/hangout with multiple people
  • {color:#101010;}Live, interactive feed of you in your creative process
  • {color:#101010;}mp3/pdf/etc. files
  • {color:#101010;}Behind-the-scenes footage
  • {color:#101010;}Credits (by name) in videos that you produce (for higher levels of patronage)
  • {color:#101010;}Titles (yes people are using these, and yes they work in certain communities!) A patron is given an honor (bronze level, silver level, gold level; private, major, corporal – or something more creative) for being a patron at a certain level, or for a certain amount of time
  • {color:#101010;}Advertising on your website (or through tweets, etc.)
  • {color:#101010;}Advance access to releases (also, while being a reward to your fans, you can also use this initial release to get feedback – what do they like about it? How could you make it better?)
  • {color:#101010;}Coupons for merchandise
  • {color:#101010;}Desktop wallpaper
  • {color:#101010;}Access to your back catalog
  • {color:#101010;}A link to your website

Bad Rewards:

  • {color:#101010;}Rewards that take too long to create/give out (personal videos, one-on-one chat sessions, things that you have to ship, etc.)
  • {color:#101010;}Physical rewards, generally

Reward Tiers

How many reward tiers should you offer? How should you differentiate each one? I wish I could say that there are easy answers to these questions, but there aren’t. I’ll offer some suggestions for where to start and you’ll have to experiment with what works best for you and your patrons. Note that most fans are patrons at the $1 – $5 level, so these are the tiers that you should probably be most concerned with. That said, there are almost always super fans (or, at least generous fans with deep pockets) and I do think that it’s a good idea to create high patron tiers for these people (if people really want to help out, why not let them?!)

That said, there are very successful Patreon creators who prefer to keep things simple, and to focus on pledges/rewards as direct compensation for the work that they are already creating. In this scenario, you would not use reward tiers, but simply allow patrons to pledge whatever they’d like (again, either per/piece or per/month). My hesitation with this approach is that there are nearly always wealthier fans who are looking for an excuse to super fund your work! The reality, however, is that even wealthy people would find it difficult to “justify” pledging $100 (for example) for a podcast episode that they’re already getting for free. The higher reward tiers help people justify their support (it’s an interesting thing, but people always feel better doing something if there’s some reason (regardless of the validity of this reason!))

For those of you who are interested in reward tiers, let’s take a look at a number of possible tiers and what some rewards in each one might look like:

$1 – Possible Rewards

  • {color:#101010;}General: Access to the patron-only Patreon activity feed, exclusive Instagram photos, access to a patron-only Twitter or Instagram feed
  • {color:#101010;}Music: Digital downloads of mixed and mastered songs (perhaps before they get a general release)
  • {color:#101010;}Web Comics: Advance access to comics that haven’t yet been published
  • {color:#101010;}Video/Vlog: Transcripts of videos, early release of videos
  • {color:#101010;}Podcast: Ad-Free podcasts, bonus shows

$3 – Possible Rewards

  • {color:#101010;}General: Twitter follows
  • {color:#101010;}Film/Video: Behind-the-scenes footage
  • {color:#101010;}Music: Access to any demos, covers, etc. that you aren’t going to, or haven’t yet released, advance access to concert tickets, higher quality downloads
  • {color:#101010;}Visual art: Digital wallpapers or other digital art

$5 – Possible Rewards

  • {color:#101010;}General: Discounts for merchandise, digital copy of a book/something tangentially related to what you usually create
  • {color:#101010;}Film/Video: Accept suggestions for future videos/projects
  • {color:#101010;}Music: Behind-the-scenes tutorials explaining how to play your songs, karaoke/instrumental tracks for fans to sing along to

$10 – Possible Rewards

  • {color:#101010;}General: Access to a monthly patron-only webcast where you answer questions or just hang out with your fans, behind-the-scenes insight into your creative process
  • {color:#101010;}Music: Project stems and/or bounces with certain instruments muted (so the patron can play/sing along)

$50 – Possible Rewards

  • {color:#101010;}General: Credit (by name) in the art that you create
  • {color:#101010;}Music: Invitation to a meet and greet at a concert
  • {color:#101010;}Film/Video: Producer credit in videos

$100 – Possible Rewards

  • {color:#101010;}General: An annual personal video (for patrons who have been patrons for a year) for a birthday, anniversary, whatever, invite patrons to become part of your creative process (by asking for their feedback, whatever), email correspondence about anything
  • {color:#101010;}Music: Write a song on a subject suggested by high level patrons (once a year, perhaps)
  • {color:#101010;}Film/Video: Produce a video on a subject suggested by high level patrons (once a year, perhaps)

$1000 – Possible Rewards

  • {color:#101010;}Music – A house concert next time you’re in town for a concert
  • {color:#101010;}Film/Video – Executive producer credit in videos

Notes:

  • {color:#101010;}You will probably have noticed that most successful Patreon pages include all rewards for previous tiers in the higher tiers (so, if you are a $5 patron, you also get the rewards from levels $1 and $3). It’s important that you mention this on your rewards page (it should be spelled out in black and white, don’t expect patrons to assume!)
  • {color:#101010;}If you can find meaningful images, it could be helpful to include unique images for each reward tier
  • {color:#101010;}Again, giving each tier a name (bestowing titles upon patrons) can be effective depending on your community
  • {color:#101010;}If you change the rewards in a tier, your patrons will not be deleted, but they will need to re-pledge to a new tier
  • {color:#101010;}If you raise the dollar amount for a tier, patrons already pledging will continue to pay the old rate, while new patrons will pay the new rate
  • {color:#101010;}When you post rewards to the Feed, be sure to mark them as “rewards,” to remind your patrons that what you are posting are the rewards that they have paid for
  • {color:#101010;}For the really high tiers, you might want to consider including copy along the lines of, “Whoa. Seriously? I was kind of kidding, but I’m honored and humbled.” For most people, $1000 is a lot of money, for some people, it’s pocket change. You can pre-empt any possible negativity by suggesting that you created the high tier just for the fun of it.

Capping Reward Tiers

There are a number of reasons why you might want to limit the numbers of patrons you accept at any given level (this is usually done for the highest levels – $100 or more). Depending on what the reward is, you might only be able, practically, to fulfill a certain number of these rewards (a private concert at their home, for example). Another reason is that if you don’t put a limit to the numbers, you may find that you don’t convince any fans to jump in at this level. Why? Because of scarcity. When you limit the number of slots that you give out, an incentive is created for patrons to buy in while they still can. As long as you deliver on your promises, you’ll likely have a patron for life – once a patron (that can afford it) has managed to get into an elite club, they’re less likely to want to leave.

Once a reward tier is full, patrons will be able to get on a waiting list. This does not guarantee a spot should one become available, but it does mean that they will be notified once a spot opens up. Then it’s up to the patron to sign up for it. Also, you can open up more spots at any reward tier whenever you’d like.

What if You Make a Mistake?

As with any business undertaking, running a Patreon page entails a good deal of experimentation. What seems like a good idea one week may prove to be a terrible idea a few weeks later. Some early Patreon creators found out the hard way that the rewards they were offering were not good ideas (often, the rewards ended up taking too much time to fulfill).

So, what should you do? The first thing, obviously, is to do your best to not get into this situation in the first place (if you follow my suggestions, above, about good and bad types of rewards, you should be fine). If you are already stuck in this situation, however, how do you get out?

As with most things on Patreon (and, usually, in life), honesty and transparency are the best solutions. Admit to your fans that you made a mistake and ask them for help in figuring out a solution. Your patrons want to see you succeed, that’s why they’re supporting you! As with most relationships, showing humility and vulnerability, while difficult, often enables you to take your relationship to another level of trust. (Not that you should manufacture this situation, but this is true, and is one of the ways that good things can come out of difficult situations.) Another hidden benefit is that this will give you the opportunity to ask your fans what types of rewards they are interested in.

The Patreon Thank You Message & Video

Page Four: Reward/Reward your patrons (Part 2)

Say thank you/Thank you message/Thank you video

This is optional, but it’s a great idea to fill it in. It’s another opportunity to show your personality and creativity, and to make a connection with your new patron. This doesn’t need to be long, but should be heartfelt. People appreciate being appreciated…and fans also like to feel like they’re part of something unique. This is a great place to include extra goodies (links to more of your creations) that they didn’t realize that they were getting.

Do you need a Thank You Video? There’s no right answer to this, I think. If you’re great in front of a camera and you love making videos, then yes! If you’re not, and you found making the main Patreon video arduous, then I wouldn’t worry about it. That said, definitely write a nice thank you note, and offer your new patron some nice surprise goodies.

Congrats! This ends the main part of setting up your page. The last thing that you’ll want to do to setup your profile is to upload a profile picture. To do this, mouse over the gray circle in the top right corner of the page, then click on “Settings.” Upload a photo or logo and position it so that it looks good in the circular profile frame. This is the image that will appear at the top of your page, as well as next to your name anywhere it might pop up on the site (in search results, etc.).

This is also where you can:

  • {color:#101010;}Put in your location
  • {color:#101010;}Put in information about yourself
  • {color:#101010;}Choose a personalized URL
  • {color:#101010;}Put in links to your Twitter, Facebook, and/or YouTube pages
  • {color:#101010;}Change your email address, password, email settings, and privacy settings
  • {color:#101010;}Setup Facebook Connect
  • {color:#101010;}Setup 2Factor Authentication

Click the “Save All Profile Changes” button, and you’re all set! Click on the circle at the top right corner of the screen (it should no longer be gray, instead it should be your profile picture or logo) and choose “Profile.”

You can now double-check that everything in your account looks right and make any changes that you need to. If you want, ask friends and family that you trust for their thoughts before you go live. Once you’re ready to go live, you’ll click the green “Launch” button at the top of the profile page.

Examples of Great Patreon Pages

Looking for inspiration for setting up your Patreon page?

If you’d like to see some examples of successful Patreon pages, spend some time on Patreon and check out what the most successful pages look like. There are general guidelines/best practices, but rules are made to be broken, and many of the most successful Patreon pages break them.

If you’re not sure where to start, have a look at the following pages for inspiration. The first one is the official Patreon page of Patreon’s CEO, the second one is that of his chief collaborator, Nataly Dawn, the third one is for the band that the two of them have together, Pomplamoose, and the fourth one is that of one of the most successful crowd funders of our day, Amanda Palmer:

Jack Conte

Nataly Dawn

Pomplamoose

Amanda Palmer

The Patreon Activity Post & Creation Post

As a creator on Patreon, you can use two basic types of posts in your post feed: the activity post and the creation post.

The Activity Post

The Activity post is how you’ll send private or public messages to your patrons. If one of your rewards is access to the feed, you’ll definitely want to make some of your activity private, accessible to only your fans. That said, you’ll also want to make some activity available to anyone that comes to your page, that way you will be able to give potential patrons a sense of what they’re missing and what they can expect if they become patrons.

Use activity posts:

  • {color:#101010;}To respond to fan questions and comments, and generally to build rapport with your fans
  • {color:#101010;}To solicit input from your fans
  • {color:#101010;}To keep fans informed about the state of your projects, etc.

The Creation Post

The creation post is how you’ll post new pieces for your patrons. If you charge per/piece, each time you post, your patrons will be charged at their pledge level (if you make it a paid post). If you charge per/month, no charge will take place until the monthly charge happens. You can also release certain pieces for only certain pledge levels, if that’s how you have set your rewards structure up.

From the perspective of what you can do on Patreon to increase your chances of success, regularly posting activity updates and creations is one of the most important things that you can do. While some (many? most?) of your fans may not care about how often you post/release, there are those who will care, and frequent posts may help those on the fence to commit. Frequent creation is generally a good idea (as long as the content is high quality), and the connection with your fans that Patreon provides is a great way to get inspired to be more productive. Also, it appears that Patreon favors creators that are active on their site (which makes sense!), so the more interaction you have with your patrons, the more likely it is that you will get added visibility for your page.

Tips

  • {color:#101010;}If you are charging per/piece, before you post you’ll have the option to either charge your patrons, or to make it a free release
  • {color:#101010;}You can edit posts after they are live, but if you make it go free initially, you won’t be able to change it to a paid release
  • {color:#101010;}You can make posts private, but again (depending on your overall strategy) you’ll want to keep a good deal of your posts public so that potential patrons can see what you are working on
  • {color:#101010;}The size limit on attachments in 100MB, but you can upload as many attachments as you’d like
  • {color:#101010;}If possible, you should include an image with your posts, as this image will be included in the search results page of the Patreon search engine. If you don’t include an image, Patreon will use a stock image (not very compelling!)

How to Launch a Patreon Campaign

Are you still tweaking your Patreon page, waiting for the right time to go live? Have you already done a soft launch just to test the waters? Either way, at some point you’ll probably want to do a hard launch for your Patreon page, too. Why?


  • {color:#101010;}The launch of anything is an opportunity to grow your fan base and, thus, your Patreon patrons. Long-term success on Patreon (as with most things in life!) is the result of lots of hard work and taking advantage of opportunities that come your way, and there are things that you can do to move the needle in your favor. That said, I don’t want to overstate my point. A hard launch is not so much to build momentum (see why Seth Godin explains why this is probably a pipe dream), as an opportunity/excuse to generate interest.
  • {color:#101010;}A hard launch will force you to polish up your Patreon campaign, rather than have it simply languish as an afterthought. The following steps will help you focus on doing the steps necessary to run a successful Patreon campaign (even if you don’t end up doing a hard launch!)

Before the Launch

Create a launch strategy that begins a week or two before your official launch. In this strategy, determine what needs to be in place before you go live:


  • {color:#101010;}Setup your Patreon page
  • {color:#101010;}Prepare the media that you’ll be using once you go live. Add a Patreon banner to your website, social media pages, your business card, your email signature, etc. You can find banners, etc. here.
  • {color:#101010;}A week-or-two out, begin letting friends, family, and followers know about what you are working on (or, you could just let them know that you are working on a secret project, and that they should stay tuned).
  • {color:#101010;}Reach out to other artists in your space and ask them if they’ll help get the word out. You could offer to help promote their page/work as well.
  • {color:#101010;}Create a street team. If you have friends or family that use social media, you may want to ask them to go to bat for you. I try to keep these kinds of requests to a minimum so that when I really need help, people are (hopefully) more likely to help out. You can only do so much in a 24 hour period, so if you can get other people to push your message out to social media, you’ll get a lot more exposure.
  • {color:#101010;}Reach out to blogs and websites that promote the type of art that you create. People usually like to help out, but they often need to be directed what to do.
  • {color:#101010;}If possible, create at least one piece of Patreon-exclusive content to have on your page when it goes live. That way, in your initial pitch to your fans, you can let them know that there is already content in your Patreon feed, and if they sign up, they’ll have access to it.

During the Launch

  • {color:#101010;}Make sure to inform everyone you know about your Patreon page. You are your brand and your fans are not going to find out about your new page unless you inform them. What this also means is that you need to be your chief advocate – if you aren’t excited about your Patreon page, why should anyone else be excited?
  • {color:#101010;}In particular, don’t be shy about letting your inner circle of family and friends know about your new endeavor. While not all (or even most) of your friends and family will contribute, there are usually a few that have always wanted to support you, but never knew how.
  • {color:#101010;}Throw a launch party at a local bar or venue. You could turn this into a livestream/webcast so that fans far and wide can participate.
  • {color:#101010;}Be available. Whether you throw a launch party or not, you’ll want to be active and available on social media. Are you on SnapChat? Periscope? Whatever social media you use, you’ll want to push the limits of the platform to get your message out. Respond to tweets, Facebook messages, reach out to friends, family, fans, etc.
  • {color:#101010;}You could also plan a couple of surprises throughout the day (an impromptu show, an interview, a contest, etc.)

After the Launch

  • {color:#101010;}Stay in touch with your new patrons and remember to thank them. The first week-or-so are particularly important for making these first patrons feel appreciated, so make sure to fulfill or (ideally) exceed expectations.
  • {color:#101010;}You don’t want to turn your fans off with over-promotion but, at least for the first few weeks after launching your page, you’ll want to gently remind them through tweets, snaps, posts, or whatever other means you might have.
  • {color:#101010;}Setup a livestream/webcast to explain Patreon to your fans and to answer any questions that they might have about it. You’ll probably want to do this during the week after you launch your page so that people have a chance to take a look at it first, that way they’ll be more inclined to be involved with your webcast. You could also do an AMA on Reddit.
  • {color:#101010;}Continue to create! This is pretty obvious, but still important. Also, when you post new creations to your Patreon page, you will get a special Creator Page link that you can share on social media. This will push your fans directly to your Patreon page. Since you’re making preparations for your launch, it’s a good idea if you prepare a number of creations to release soon after getting your first patrons. This will take some of the stress out of the launch, and you’ll be able to focus on promoting the new page without having to worry about producing new art to release. If you release it soon after getting your first patrons, you will provide them with an incentive to continue supporting your work.

The above are just suggestions, many of which you’ll want to implement, some of which you won’t. It will depend on where you’re at on your journey, what type of things you create, etc. Hopefully, at very least, it will help you get inspired and focused for your own launch!

How to Get More Patrons on Patreon

This is a huge topic, and I could write a(nother) book about it, but for now I’d like to focus on some Patreon-specific strategies that you can use to begin to get more patrons.


  • {color:#101010;}Create great content (this is, again, obvious but primary!) If you aren’t creating great work, then you shouldn’t waste much time with your Patreon campaign, yet: Create great work first, try to get patrons second!
  • {color:#101010;}Create a consistent schedule of content. For some people this is really difficult, and if you can’t be consistent, so be it. But if you can, it should help you a lot. People are attracted to consistency – if you put out one piece of new content every Friday afternoon, you’ll give your patrons something to look forward to – something that they can count on. This doesn’t have to be finished, polished content, in fact…it could just be a sketch. It could even be something outside of your medium – maybe it’s a video where you discuss something, a blog post, an interview, whatever. If possible, it’s good to have at least one substantial (not extensive, just meaningful) connection with your patrons each week. When you create this consistency, you become more attractive to potential patrons – they see that you are developing a relationship with your patrons, and so you give them a good reason to support your work. I should note that much (probably most?) of these posts/releases should be “free,” (this will depend on what you create, what kind of relationship you have with your patrons, etc.) and as much as possible, you should charge your patrons only when you release polished work.
  • {color:#101010;}Patron-for-patron. This is somewhat controversial, but people are doing it and, at least at the beginning, an argument can be made in its favor. How does patron-for-patron work? Some creators on Patreon approach other creators about becoming patrons of one another. The problem that some people have is that the idea behind Patreon is that those who support artists should be actual fans.
    Those who advocate the practice use the concept of “social proof” in their defense. Social proof is a psychological barrier that can work against people trying to get their first dollar. When you see a busker playing music on the street, or a tip jar at a coffee shop, there is almost always money already there. And it’s likely that some of it was put their by the buskers, baristas, etc. asking for the tip. Why? Because nobody wants to be the first one to put money in. Once there is money in the jar, there is social proof, and it’s easier for future fans to contribute.
  • {color:#101010;}If you decide against using patron-for-patron, you could instead ask some of your truly super fans (relatives and friends) to begin the process. This is something that many successful Patreon artists have done and it has become more or less common practice.
  • {color:#101010;} Create a timeline for completing a goal. This, in a sense, turns one of your goals into something like a Kickstarter campaign. While Patreon does not currently put a time limit on goals, you could challenge your fans to help you attain a goal within a certain amount of time. It would help if you were able to offer a good reason for doing so – perhaps you’re about to record a new album and you need a new microphone/instrument? Perhaps you’re halfway through a video and your camera fell off a tripod? Whatever it is, having a reason helps a lot. As always, being transparent with your fans is important. Also, you’ll probably want to offer some kind of incentive – if you meet your goal by a certain time, you’ll do ______ (release a bunch of previously unreleased material, put on an impromptu concert on top of a building, whatever).
  • {color:#101010;}When you post new public content to your Patreon feed, make sure to let people know using social media! Every new piece is another opportunity to connect with your fans and to make new fans.
  • {color:#101010;}Run a contest, conduct a poll, find some way to engage your fans in a fun way that gives them the opportunity to share your work with other people. The contest/poll/whatever doesn’t have to relate directly to your work, it just needs to be engaging and fun.
  • {color:#101010;}Make your Patreon link ubiquitous. This one is pretty obvious (and I’ve mentioned it elsewhere!), but it bears repeating: Have you put a direct link to your Patreon page on all your social media profiles? On your business card? Email signature? Also, make sure that they go directly to your Patreon page, and not to your website.
  • {color:#101010;}Bring your offline network online. Depending on what you create, you may have many potential patrons that are offline – acquaintances, family friends, local fans, older fans that don’t do much online, etc. Many people like to help artists out, especially when they’re just getting started, but they often don’t know how to help. Try to find ways to tell potential offline patrons about your work and about Patreon, and you may find some new patrons in the process.

More Patreon Tips & Tricks

Now that your Patreon page is set up, you’re probably asking yourself the million dollar question: “How do I get more patrons?” As I mentioned previously, running a Patreon campaign is a long term affair that requires patience, persistence, and work. That said, there are definitely things that you can do to help yourself in this process. The following tips and tricks will help you build your base of patrons.


  • {color:#101010;}Here’s the official form to ask to become a Featured Artist on Patreon:www.patreon.com/featureme
  • {color:#101010;}The more interaction you have with your patrons, the more likely it is that you will get added visibility for your page. You should post something (if only a status update) at least once a week.
  • {color:#101010;}The more posts you make public, the more opportunities you have to connect with new potential fans/patrons.
  • {color:#101010;}Transparency and honesty! As in life, these are your friends – treat your fans well and they’ll take care of you.
  • {color:#101010;}If possible, you should include a unique image with your posts, as this image will be included in the search results page of the Patreon search engine.
  • {color:#101010;}How to deal with the stigma attached to patronage? Educate people as to how artists have historically made a living through patronage.
  • {color:#101010;}Find a subtle way to bring your offline connections online, as these are your strongest relationships.
  • {color:#101010;}Don’t look at Patreon as a separate platform, find a way to include Patreon into your online platform/workflow.
  • {color:#101010;}Certain types of art can be hard to promote online (sculpture, for example). A solution is to learn to tell compelling stories about your art.
  • {color:#101010;}Make your Patreon page very personal, since it’s where your super fans hang out.
  • {color:#101010;}Rewards to be careful of: Things that you have to ship
  • {color:#101010;}Creators can be patrons, too…and it’s a great idea!
  • {color:#101010;}Is the link to your Patreon on your business card? If not, it should be!
  • {color:#101010;}Get feedback on your page from friends and fans – feedback is golden, and you won’t know unless you ask!
  • {color:#101010;}Could you say something with less words? Your page is your pitch – stay on message!


Patreon Guide: How to Get Started & Succeed on Patreon

Welcome Artists & Creators! Do you struggle to find ways to make a living from your work? Patreon is a platform that empowers you to attract patrons who help to fund you on an ongoing per/piece or per/month basis. What this means is that once you have enough patrons, you can stop worrying about how to make a living and just focus on creating things! This book, Patreon Guide: How to Get Started & Succeed on Patreon, will help you get started on Patreon and empower your journey toward creative and financial independence! Inside you’ll find chapters on: - What Patreon is, how Patreon works, and why it’s such a big deal - How to make a Patreon video - How to create your Patreon pitch - Best practices for setting up reward levels and milestone goals - Examples of great Patreon pages - How to launch a Patreon campaign - How to get more patrons - More tips and tricks Download this Patreon guide now and get started on the path towards creative and financial independence!

  • ISBN: 9781311881700
  • Author: Andrew Middleton
  • Published: 2016-05-20 19:20:10
  • Words: 9311
Patreon Guide: How to Get Started & Succeed on Patreon Patreon Guide: How to Get Started & Succeed on Patreon