"Going viral" is the 21st century goldmine. While it can seem like every creator, brand, and kid yodeling in a Wal-Mart are on the same golden goose chase, there’s sadly no formula for viral success. But with over 60 million combined followers across 25+ brands, it’s safe to say the guys of Doing Things Media know a thing or two about getting noticed.
Doing Things Media is a digital media company founded by Reid Hailey and Derek Lucas who got their start creating memes in 2015. Since then, their internet empire has grown to include accounts ranging from @DoggosDoingThings to @MiddleClassFancy and more. In 2019, Doing Things Media teamed up with Andrew Callaghan to add All Gas No Brakes (AGNB) to their roster and within a year of launching, All Gas No Brakes has racked up over a million subscribers on YouTube and over 18K subscribers on Patreon.
We sat down with Doing Things Media co-founder + CEO Reid Hailey and Head Of Marketing Matt Stanton to talk about internet fame, tips for Patreon marketing, and a porn convention in Las Vegas.
It sounds simple, but quality is the #1 thing to focus on to help your creative content take off. Fans need to know they can keep coming back to your channel for the videos, art, or episodes they love. When it comes to All Gas No Brakes, Stanton says consistent, high-quality content is key. “I think it really comes down to trust. People trust Andrew. They trust his stories.” It helps that AGNB has a completely unique style. “He’s putting out interviews that you can’t get anywhere else,” Hailey adds.
Case in point? The AVN Expo, the largest porn star meet-and-greet in the world: “That was like our best shoot ever,” said Hailey. To prepare for the Expo, Doing Things Media helped outfit Callaghan with an RV and got him to Vegas to conduct his signature everyman interviews. And then, they set him loose. “He's able to get insane content ... then trim it down to the stuff that's actually allowed to be on the internet.” (This writer can confirm his AVN episode will have you blushing up a storm.)
Now, you might be thinking that broadcasting from a porn expo won’t work for every “brand” (and you’d be right), but the idea still stands: keeping your content fresh, exciting, and totally original will keep your fans coming back for more.
Don’t be afraid to use your other channels to promote your Patreon - strategically. Each social media platform calls for a different version of your work. Hailey and Stanton said first, they trim their content down to really short stuff for Instagram. Next, longer versions go up on YouTube and finally, “the longest cuts on Patreon,” said Hailey. That’s where fans can find the full Monty.
Stanton says a lot of All Gas No Brakes’ fans come from friends passing around the “really shareable, relatable content” they post on Instagram. “We get a lot of people sharing those memes from our pages to their individual friend groups … And if you have a friend group of five people who have similar likes and interests, and someone shares a funny meme of All Gas, there’s a good chance those friends are gonna convert to fans as well.”
Whether they’re sharing your memes or recommending your work, your fans can become your biggest promoters. Stanton and Hailey both say you’ve got to treat your fans right, and that starts with communication. According to Hailey, "A response means so much to someone. That's worth the five dollars a month for a lot of people. I think you need to be very responsive to people and make them feel like they're part of a VIP club.”
This can help turn your fans into ambassadors for your platform. Stanton adds, “There's a massive All Gas community, but there's only a certain subset that is paying for a premium tier. And we want to be able to give them an elevated experience, and also have them go out to the rest of the community and be like, hey, actually this is really cool.”
Make sure you’re consistently mentioning your Patreon community, both within your content and in your promotions. But Hailey cautions, “You don’t have to be so overt about it.” Mentioning your page should casually flow into the conversation and feel natural. That way it “doesn’t have to feel just like a plug, like you’re trying to sell us on something.”
For example, when Doing Things Media was promoting the AVN Expo episode, Hailey and Callaghan initially considered featuring naked people covered with censor bars on Instagram, then telling fans to find the uncensored content on Patreon. But they changed strategies when they realized, “just saying all the CRAZY content was on Patreon made it seem cheap.” So they reverted back to their traditional promotion tactics, linking to Patreon in their YouTube descriptions and Instagram bio to maintain the creator’s integrity.
Make subscribing to your Patreon as easy as possible. Hailey says whether it’s for e-commerce conversion or joining AGNB on Patreon, the big question is: “How quickly can we get them to check out?” You don’t want people making too many choices on the way to becoming a Patron. Put simply, “the less clicks, the better.” It’s why they’ve chosen a single $5 tier for AGNB’s subscribers. Fans don’t have to choose the level of support - they just need to decide a simple yes or no. While that one-tiered structure might not work for every creator, the idea of simplicity does - make sure you’re not overcomplicating the options for your patrons.
Hailey uses the same idea for AGNB’s merch strategy: “Whenever we sell a piece of merch and we’re like, should we do it in red, black and green? No, we should probably just do the one we feel best about, so fans aren’t having to choose. Psychologically, when people have to think about a purchase for too long, a lot of the time, they decide not to do it.”
Hailey’s biggest piece of advice is the simplest of all. “Never, consistently post what’s going on your Patreon anywhere else.” It may seem like common sense, but Hailey says he has to remind creators of this all the time. “Make sure your Patreon subscribers are getting what they’re paying for.” Your fans need to see the value of becoming a Patron.
Exclusive content is one of the biggest drivers for fans to become paying Patrons. So if you’re already a video creator, Reid suggests you put longer cuts on your Patreon and tease viewers with shorter versions everywhere else. His recommendation: “If there’s a path to have longer versions of your content and people love the shorter, then that’s a no-brainer.”
Doing Things Media’s Tip Top Tip: start with social. Too often, Hailey has seen creators launch a Patreon too soon, without a community to support them. “Don’t limit what you put on social media in the beginning.” Let your fans see it all - for free. Then, as you build your community and build your engagement, you’ll get ready to launch your Patreon community.
Stanton adds that it’s not about having a million followers. It’s about having enough followers who are engaging with you and your work. The creators who already have high interaction rates and devoted followers are the ones who are “much more primed to experience explosive growth on Patreon.”
If there’s anyone who knows about explosive growth, it’s these guys. With over 18,000 patrons and the possibility of traveling to new festivals and destinations in the not-so-distant future, All Gas No Brakes’ explosion is set to continue. And hopefully, with some of these tips, your Patreon community can do the same.