In January of 2015, four video game vets quit their long-held day jobs at IGN to collectively work on a new project focused on nerdy gaming culture with a touch of comedy. They called the project Kinda Funny.
At the helm stood Greg Miller, a transplant from Chicago with a journalism degree and a commanding radio voice. One of the first creative projects to come out of the Kinda Funny brand was GameOverGreggy, a weekly podcast featuring the Kinda Funny crew, along with a regular rotation of guests. The podcast first began as a personal Youtube channel Greg made while still working at IGN, but he was discouraged from creating content that might interfere with his work at IGN. Now with full creative freedom, the Kinda Funny guys could focus more on the team’s core interests in games, comics, movies, and TV.
Fast-forward a couple years later and Kinda Funny is creating numerous podcasts, gamecasts, a morning show, a doodle series, livestreams, and new content daily. Last year, the team even started an animated web series with the help of their fans. Now, with over 9,000 patrons paying into Kinda Funny’s main Patreon page, as well as their exclusively-gaming venture, it’s clear that there is no stopping these guys from taking on the gaming world.
So how did they go from a group of small-town guys playing video games in their garage to running a thriving nerd culture empire?
One thing that sets Kinda Funny apart from others in their space is a very direct connection with their fans.
“Kinda Funny isn’t us building something in secret. We’re building something with you and for you.” – Greg Miller addresses his fans on the intro video from Kinda Funny’s Patreon page
For Kinda Funny, patrons aren’t a dollar amount or line item on a spreadsheet. They make it very clear to their biggest fans that they would not be where they are today without their support. On top of that, they make sure that patrons always have a say in any big decisions the team makes.
Here are just a few ways that Kinda Funny gives their fans a say in their creation process:
- Polls: By leveraging Patreon’s polling feature, Kinda Funny is able to quickly learn what kind of content their patrons want to see.
- AMAs: While anyone can submit questions to be answered on one of Kinda Funny’s live AMAs (“Ask Me Anything”), fans who become patrons at the $15 level are guaranteed their questions will get answered.
- Listening to feedback: When patrons share their frustrations, Kinda Funny listens. They shortened ads on their videos, decreased file sizes of audio posts and now offer a private RSS feed directly on Patreon so fans can consume their content even more easily.
- Online communities: Along with private Discord and Facebook groups, Kinda Funny built an online forum where fans can share thoughts on anything related to the Kinda Funny world.
Kinda Funny offers a whopping total of thirteen different benefits across their two Patreon pages and regularly changes them up based on fan feedback. Here are a few of the standouts:
Early access: For only $1/month, Kinda Funny fans get early access to most of their content before anyone else. Since this doesn’t require the creation of any additional content, Kinda Funny can offer the greatest number of their patrons something of value without spending a ton of time creating it.
Fan mail: For $50/month, Kinda Funny patrons receive personized, autographed snail mail. By offering this reward at a higher amount, Kinda Funny ensures that they’re not spending a ton of time at the post office.
Skype hangouts: For some of Kinda Funny’s biggest fans (those at the $100/month level), patrons get a chance to spend one-on-one time chatting with the Kinda Funny guys about whatever they’d like. This gives the team to foster deeper connections with their most loyal supporters.
Fan chosen topic: Patrons pledging at the $150/month level can submit a topic for an episode of GameOverGreggy. Not only does this give fans the rare opportunity of being able to directly affect the content made by their favorite creators, it takes the hard work of coming up with show ideas off of Kinda Funny team’s hands.
When a new feature on Patreon is released, Kinda Funny makes sure that their fans know everything there is to know about how it might affect the way in which they interact with them. They also use the opportunity as a way to get new fans excited about becoming patrons.
By promoting their creator pages whenever something new and exciting happens over at Patreon, Kinda Funny is able to keep up momentum around their work and get potential patrons excited about the exclusive benefits fans get once they become patrons.
A few other cool ways Kinda Funny leverages Patreon in their marketing:
- Quick shout-outs: Rather than save a Patreon pitch for the end of their videos (which is another great tactic used by Patreon pros like Peter Hollens), Kinda Funny always makes sure to mention their Patreon page at some point during shows like GameOverGreggy. By blending it with the natural conversation of the show, Kinda Funny can encourage fans to join without making them feel pitched to.
- Reward updates: The guys from Kinda Funny made an entire video dedicated to updating fans on what exciting new things are coming up and how they might affect their community on Patreon. Not only does this keep existing patrons informed about changes that might affect them, it gives potential patrons a better idea of what cool things they could get access to once they join their Patreon community.
Want to see Kinda Funny in action? The KF team welcome us into their studio to craft this video — enjoy!