Patreon Lens: How 5 Creators Are Giving Patrons Behind the Scenes Access to Their Work and Life
Here’s something we’ve found in our years working with creators: Our most successful creators consistently provide awesome content for their patrons.
Patreon Lens is designed to help you do just that — share more content — easier. It’s a new feature in the Patreon app that helps creators share exclusive, behind-the-scenes content with supporters.
The animated clip we made for the Lens launch announcement will give you a sense of it:
When Philip, Shayla, Kati, Megan, and Monica had the chance to beta-test Patreon Lens, they said yes immediately.
After testing Patreon Lens for months, here’s exactly how these five successful creators are using it.
Philip DeFranco: “Providing Access You Can’t Get Anywhere Else”
Philip DeFranco of the Philip DeFranco Show! turned to Patreon so that he could run a truly independent news show — one that wasn’t influenced by the purse strings of a company’s agenda or sponsors. It’s an ideal that resonated with his over 13,500 supporters on Patreon. Now, he’s hyper-focused on bringing them great, unbiased news segments.
But, he is always looking for ways to forge a deeper connection with fans and backers. One thing his patrons love? Behind-the-scenes access. For that, Philip has found Lens to be ideal. “Lens allows us to give our patrons a window into the creation of our shows,” he said. “We’re using it to add that extra-special, behind-the-scenes access you can’t get anywhere else.”
“Whether it’s a quick video of one of our editors crawling through a homemade cardboard fort or an exciting preview of an upcoming show, our patrons see it all with Lens.”
Shayla Maddox: “It’s Like They’re Creating Art Right Along With Me”
Shayla Maddox spends her days painting, dreaming up new ways of painting, and giving her supporters an immersive experience. In her words, “I dream. I make art. I document it.” And her fans love every second of it.
For Shayla, Lens has become a private channel she can use with her patrons. “It’s just me and them!” she said. “I like to think of it as a safe-haven away from all the internet noise out there. My patrons are invited directly into my studio to view behind-the-scenes glimpses of my life as an artist that I don’t publish anywhere else on the internet.”
It’s a strong pitch for her most passionate fans. But she also uses Lens to involve them more closely in her process. “My patrons on Lens know what I’m up to before anyone else. They see my mistakes and my progress,” she explained. “How cool is that? It’s like they’re creating art right along with me.”
“Having such an exclusive way to communicate with my patrons has changed how I share my art with the world,” Shayla said. “I love showing my in-process work to fans who truly care about what I do.”
Kati Morton: “Work Smarter, Not Harder”
Kati Morton is a licensed therapist and YouTuber who spends her days researching and filming videos that help her fans care for their mental health. She’s also talked about how to care for yourself as a creator.
So, finding ways to make her job more efficient and more rewarding are a high priority for Kati. “Towards the end of last year I was looking for better ways to manage my time — to work smarter, not harder,” she said.
“I had been sending out gifts each month to certain patrons, but it became unmanageable. Lens was just offered, and I felt it was a great tool to connect with my patrons easily throughout my day,” she explained.
Kati enjoys exploring the ways she can use Lens to connect with patrons.
“I can just open my Patreon app and shoot a quick behind-the-scenes photo or give them insight into a new video concept. I have even been sharing bits of books I’m reading for fun,” she said. She’ll often share a photo of video prep and research, plus a motivational/inspirational quote each day.
“I hope that they can see Lens as another positive way to start their day,” she added.
Megan Slankard: “I’m Taking Supporters on My Creative Journey”
Megan Slankard and her beloved guitar, GuitarE, are on a journey — and her patrons are along for the ride. The quirky musician from San Francisco releases new music 1-2 times a month, along with other bonuses for patrons. Outreach is often on her mind.
“As a creator, I’m always looking for new and better ways to reach out to fans of my music, and Lens has given me an incredible space for that connection,” she explained. “I love being able to share my process in real time, take supporters of my music on my creative journey, and share little moments that I love most about creating, recording, and touring.” She finds ample opportunity to connect with fans throughout her life as a music artist:
“Lens gives me a way to take patrons “backstage” in the middle of writing a new song. I get to geek out about a new drum sample, or the layering of 20 voices, or I can just do a late-night ‘hello’ and check in after a long recording session.”
“It’s a wonderful tool and another reason Patreon has been the best way for me to stay in touch with my fans.”
Monica Byrne: “I Have Breakthroughs Just By Using Lens”
Monica Byrne creates fantastical worlds with a flick of the pen (or maybe a whole lot of typing). She’s a published author whose art is her activism. At first glance, the life of a writer doesn’t seem like a perfect fit for Patreon Lens. But Monica makes it work — and work well.
“On Lens, I can document the nitty-gritty trials of making art, up-close and unfiltered. When I’m having a really hard day of writing, I talk through it on Lens. Sometimes I have breakthroughs just by doing that,” she explained.
In addition, she loves how quickly which she can engage fans.“My patrons love that they can ask me questions and I can answer them right away. Lens is a way for us to communicate at a much higher frequency than through posts.”
Patrons learn how she generates ideas for her stories — and what gets left on the chopping block. It’s perfect for budding writers who want to learn from her process, but also for fans who simply want more of her work.
How to Get Started Using Lens for Your Patrons
If you’re a creator — a writer, podcaster, YouTuber, artist, photographer, or anything similar — and you’re new to Patreon, a great place to start is our article: 5 Steps to Predictable, Monthly Income for Any Creator with an Audience.
For those of you with an existing following on Patreon, Lens is designed to help you capture and share your process with those who support you financially as patrons. Using Patreon’s app, you can take photos and videos and share them directly with your patrons. All content is available for 24 hours in the app.
To start using Lens, download the Patron app to your mobile device. Lens is built right in.