Patreon is a monetization platform for content creators and artists that allows them to harness the power of fan funding. Imagine bypassing advertisers, sponsors and networks getting paid to make your content directly from your fans. Similar to Kickstarter, Patreon uses a crowdfunding model, but rather than raising a lump sum to fund a specific project, Patreon asks your fans to support you on a monthly basis to help manage your operating expenses. In return, those fans get rewards for supporting you.
Sounds straightforward enough, right? When done correctly, fan funding can be nothing less than life changing. When done incorrectly, it’s simply a discouraging drain on your time.
Make sure your content has value
The first step in making money on Patreon is to have good content. I cannot stress this enough. If you channel is mediocre, your success on Patreon will reflect that.
Producing content that no one enjoys gets everyone nowhere. Producing content that your audience values adds something to their lives which they appreciate. When followers feel indebted for the content you are providing them, they will want to give back and support you creating it.
Consider these 4 essential elements to ensure your content has value:
1. Make sure your production quality is reasonable
The area of content creation is highly competitive. If your content looks or sounds like a 10 year old made it, potential fans will quickly move on. Don’t give your audience any reason not to come back! This can be tricky when you are just starting out and can’t afford high end studio equipment. At first, aim to have a “reasonable” production quality. No aspect of it should be below average. As you progress with your channel, always be thinking of ways to improve your sound, lighting, editing, etc.
2. Have a unique voice
What can your audience get from you that they can’t get somewhere else? You are simply making your task harder if you are trying to compete with established channels without doing anything differently. Find a gap in your content area and fill it!
3. Hone your craft
Be the best you can be if you want to be a contender in your interest area. If you are a podcaster who regularly has guests, develop better interview skills. If you are a YouTuber, learn better video techniques. If you are a teacher, learn even more about your subject. Always be trying to improve your skills. Your competitors have been doing this longer, have gotten over their nervousness, and have ironed out all the rough spots in their process. The sooner you can catch up to them, the sooner you can pass them.
4. Make engagement a priority
If you involve your audience in your content as much as you can, this adds value to that content. I don’t mean have your fans as guest on your show (although some creators do that too), I mean include them through mentions, answer their questions, respond to their comments, and listen to their suggestions. Create a Facebook page so there is a place for your listeners to talk to you and each other. This makes them feel part of your content which makes them value it more.
Creating value in your channel is not a step you can skip. Building a monthly supporter program through Patreon or any other fan funding platform takes work and time. It can take several months before it creates a sustainable income for you. You want to maximize the number of followers that convert to monthly support. Making valued content is the foundation upon which you will build your Patreon house!