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How to Succeed on Patreon: A Guide for Video Publishers

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Over 100,000 creators use Patreon to run their creative businesses. The crowdfunding platform has quickly become the go-to hub for video publishers and creators looking to connect with viewers directly.

Several YouTube video publishers have promoted their Patreon memberships in recent years. Patreon allows publishers to receive funding directly from their fans, or patrons, repeatedly.

It has allowed video publishers to create alternate monetization models outside of traditional YouTube or social media advertising.

According to Patreon, it provides business tools for creators to run a subscription content service, with ways for artists to build relationships and provide exclusive experiences to their subscribers, or patrons.

While Patreon does have a reputation for attracting artists, its terms allow brands and companies to create accounts. Successful creators on Patreon can include anyone who can provide a service. For brands, this can be additional monthly income, if they have the audience.

In this article, we'll explain some important things to know for those wanting to learn more about Patreon.

Getting Started With Patreon

In a nutshell, Patreon helps creators build membership businesses that empower them to create on their own terms.

Patreon is free to anyone, and members pay nothing until they start earning. Patreon receives a percentage of the income members earn through memberships, plus an industry-standard rate for processing payments from patrons.

The platform currently offers three product accounts tailored to different creators. These are called Lite, Pro, and Premium. Users can see pricing and complete descriptions of each plan.

All plans currently include tools to manage an audience, technical support, platform training, a mobile app, and more.

For video creators, there are some powerful features when using Patreon. The platform allows brands to create an exclusive experience for their biggest fans. These include the ability to offer early access to videos, live stream to a select audience, and run limited-time offers such as showcasing unreleased content.

Building a Community on Patreon

“In late 2018, 2,000 video creators were making more than $1,000 each per month on Patreon,” according to the company website. So how do they do it?

Building an audience is vital to all video publishers. However, building a community is key to the success of video creators using Patreon. Communities on Patreon are active, and fans support the content, which can lead to more revenue from videos.

According to the Patreon blog, certain types of content lead to higher earnings among video creators. They include bonus/exclusive content, early access, physical merchandise, polling, and patron recognition. These also help creators build stronger communities on the platform and turn dedicated fans into patrons. The Patreon blog offers in-depth tips on these topics for video creators.

Publishers creating educational, how-to, and informative videos can create tiered packages with the use of Gated Video Courses. The packages can revolve around a brand marketing strategy, and courses or levels can categorize videos.

Patreon allows creators to offer various membership models, which can earn monthly revenue without depending on donations, ads, or sales.

“When you launch a membership business, you're entering into a value-for-value exchange with your fans," according to Patreon.

Patreon allows creators to have a direct line to the audience. While YouTube and other video platforms offer many benefits, trying to learn their algorithms has become a daunting process, and has made reaching the right audience more challenging.

Patreon offers a way to create super fans and narrow in on a target audience with its business model.

Patreon Memberships Thrive on Integration

While the Patreon platform itself offers lots of powerful features, the ability to integrate it with other platforms is what can lead to success for many users.

There are many examples of video publishers using both YouTube and Patreon together. A successful marketing strategy for creators has been to continue publishing video content to YouTube that’s free and provides value to the audience. Often, the videos are short-form and give a bird's-eye-view of a topic. Then, creators will publish long-format videos to Patreon that offer a more in-depth look into that video or topic.

The Lachri Fine Art brand is an excellent example of this approach.

It continues to post free short-form art tutorial videos on YouTube while promoting the hour-long versions that are on Patreon. YouTube allows for Patreon linking within the cards feature in its player. It is a smooth process for both viewers and publishers.

Patreon Pro and Premium creators also can take advantage of easy integration with Vimeo paid plans. They can get exclusive videos on Vimeo to patrons without ever leaving a Patreon page.

With this integration, upload videos directly on Patreon, with Vimeo security permissions pre-set, and that content will automatically publish to Vimeo. The content cannot be shared or linked elsewhere, which keeps the video secure and exclusive for paid viewers.

Promoting a Patreon page on other channels can also help convert fans to patrons. The same strategy can be used in the short-form YouTube example provided earlier. Posting behind-the-scenes, teaser, or snackable versions of videos on Instagram or Facebook can encourage fans to watch the long-form exclusive video on a Patreon page.

Many successful Patreon creators share that explaining to the audience the why and how of a Patreon page converts people to become patrons. Being transparent and explaining that donations and memberships help fund the work is encouraged by Patreon.

Finally, setting up a Patreon page is only the beginning. The platform is fluid, and it suggests gathering feedback from fans/patrons on how to improve the page. Taking suggestions on the type of content people want to see and the membership tiers can offer publishers a chance to refine their marketing strategy and grow on Patreon.

The flexibility of this platform is what makes it an excellent choice for video publishers looking to monetize video.

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