Video Marketing

A Video Creator’s Guide to Patreon

Posted December 28, 2020
Written by Michael Dreiling

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Most video creators (including ourselves) dream of unlimited resources, equipment, and time with which they can complete their video editing projects. Of course, budgets can often restrict how much money we can bring to life. Sometimes it can seem as though money exists with the singular purpose of holding us back, right? But this is where platforms such as Patreon come to the rescue!

If you’ve asked yourself questions like ‘how can I monetize my youtube channel?’ or ‘Is Patreon worth it?’, you can use this blog to develop a greater understanding of the platform and understand how to make money on Patreon. 

What is Patreon and how does Patreon work?

Patreon has quickly grown to become one of the internet’s most popular crowdfunding platforms with YouTubers such as Veritasium, Kurzgesagt, and Crash Course all on it, and there’s a good reason for that. 

Patreon is a network that allows fans to turn into ‘patrons’ for their favorite creators. Creators can foster communities and continue creating content that their fans love without having to tailor it to an advertiser or sponsor. Being a patron means that you’re willing to support these creators by giving them any sum of money either monthly, once-off, or on a basis of how often they upload. Most patrons are happy to support their favorite creators if it means they’ll continue to provide valuable entertainment, but as a creator, you also have the option of giving extra content or benefits to your patrons for different price categories like Crash Course. These benefits can come in the form of early access to scripts or content, special requests, or exclusive Patreon videos to name a few.

Patreon example for memberships

Is Patreon a social network? 

Although Patreon is a social media platform, "it’s not about likes and views" as said by the company. Instead, Patreon memberships allow you to connect with a small percentage of paying fans that wouldn’t otherwise stand out on large platforms such as YouTube.

Patreon allows you to chat with individuals one on one or you can create a forum. You can also give fans the opportunity to meet you in a video chat, the choices are vast and it's up to you how you want to engage with your fans and how you structure your pricing.

Should YouTube video creators make a Patreon account?   

YouTube has made it increasingly more difficult for YouTubers, especially smaller ones, to rely on ad revenue solely. Creators are more often than ever facing demonetization on videos that aren’t ‘advertiser-friendly’ and it can often be frustratingly difficult to cater to YouTube’s standards. 

As a result, most serious YouTubers have shifted towards direct brand advertisements, sponsorships, or Patreon and other crowdsourced Patreon alternatives. The problem with direct brand advertisements and sponsorships however is that your content still has to be in line with the organizations financing the deals and this is why crowdsourcing with Patreon has become so popular. 

Many high earning creators will aim to develop a consistent stream of revenue with Patreon and then pursue brand deals. Some YouTubers rely on support from their Patreon communities to continue operating on the platform, especially if their content isn't monetizable. Basically, Patreon frees YouTubers from working under strict monetization policies.

What are three things to know before starting a Patreon?

content creator asking for follows likes and subscribers - clipchamp blog

1. Having an existing fanbase before looking into Patreon

Without an existing fanbase you’ll find it very difficult to find patrons. Generally, Patreon works best for people who are already established in their online communities and are then looking to further monetize their work. You’ll be better able to incorporate your Patreon videos and Patreon podcasts if you’re already big in the community.

2. Think about what additional benefits can you provide on Patreon

Think about why members of your target audience should become patrons from their point of view. Make sure you hold yourself to a high standard to attract fans that can appreciate your quality. Also, consider your audience and how you could attract your existing fans into becoming patrons by giving them more reasons to support you.

Then, take into account what extra benefits you could offer your existing patrons to make them want to pay a little more for things like early access to your content or an exclusive Patreon podcast. If they are already paying you to support you, there is a good chance they’d be willing to pay a little extra for premium content. 

3. By just simply creating a Patreon (or using other Patreon alternatives), you’re not guaranteeing anything

You’ll need to put in the work promoting your page and justifying to others why they should help support you. Consider the perspective of your audience and ask yourself whether you would help support the content that you are creating. If not, think of strategies that you could execute to get your content into that domain. Remember that it takes time to foster a community of patrons or other support on Patreon alternatives and that you’ll have to remind your fans consistently that they can support your work financially on the platforms you use. 

How to make a Patreon

To get started on Patreon you need to first set up your Patreon membership and create your profile which allows for a number of different customization options. 

You will start with a Patreon free membership and will only need to pay Patreon depending on your income and what level of Patreon membership you chose. 

There are three options to choose from are Lite, Pro, and Premium. Lite is essentially just a Patreon page while Pro has everything included in Lite along with some extra pricing tools and support, and Premium is everything included in Pro with the option to create merch and even more support. 

The Patreon fees are most expensive with the premium and pro products, however they both offer more tools and ways for you to communicate with your patrons. You’ll have to weigh out the advantages of each and decide whether the additional tools are worth the higher Patreon fees for you.

Patreon membership examples

Next, make it well known to your fanbase that you have a Patreon where they can support you and enable you to continue creating the content they love. You don’t need to go overboard, but generally it's worth mentioning at the beginning or end of your videos along with providing a link through which they can find your page.

Patrons will often be willing to support you simply because they want you to continue creating the entertainment they love. However, you can also offer incentives on your Patreon at whatever price band you want. For example, you could offer anyone that is paying you over $10 per month a 30-minute video call where they can ask you anything.

Alternatively, you could also set up a more traditional business model on Patreon such as a gated content page or a service model. 

  • A gated content page is essentially one where you offer access to content such as Patreon videos or Patreon podcasts for a certain price. This can work well if you are an expert on a topic and are supplying highly specialized or useful videos that individuals would not find readily available elsewhere.

  • With a service model you can offer things such as a 1 hour coaching session for a certain price. This again can work well if you are an expert on a topic however it allows for more specialized requests and feedback. 

Once you’ve started, ask yourself ‘how does Patreon work for me?’ and then try to experiment with different pricing techniques and Patreon memberships until you find something that works for you.

A frequently asked question is ‘do I have to have an intro video for Patreon’ and and normally having a good intro video is beneficial, especially when considering that it can increase conversion by up to 80%

Add in some Clipchamp magic, and you’ll be ready to go!

To attract patrons, you’ll need to create high-quality work that makes others happy to support you. With Clipchamp’s easy video editor, you can create the perfect end product using a variety of different tools.

You’ll easily be able to promote your Patreon using Clipchamp’s amazing motion titles and video text editing tools, intro maker and more, to remind your fans of how they can help support you. Sign up to get started!

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