Here on Patreon, we’re lucky to have the best of the best creating podcasts about everything from Canadian politics to fantasy football. We’re talking about industry leaders who are changing the future of the medium and inspiring others to do the same. They’re showing the creative community that there’s always room to do something different, to make an impression that’ll impact the way others view the entire podcasting industry. No matter what genre you’re in, everyone can learn something from these podcasters about how to use Patreon to build your creative business.
If we didn’t already know it, Crime Junkie serves as pretty conclusive proof that people love crime. Once a week, Ashley and Brit walk their listeners through a real-life case, never missing a chance to sneak in a life lesson or two about staying safe. One host tells the story while the other chimes in with the questions listeners are itching to ask. It’s the perfect way for people to feel like they’re part of the conversation, even though they’re probably listening alone in the car on their way to work. Crime Junkie became such a hit in its first few years that in 2019, Ashley went all in on the podcast and quit her day job. The show only continues to grow in popularity and, most recently, they caught everyone’s attention (Taylor Swift included) with a brilliant April Fools prank that turned one of her songs into a pretty convincing true crime case.
What they offer patrons: For $5, patrons get a monthly bonus episode, early access, and audio extras. At $10, patrons get all that, plus discounts, stickers, and a mini episode. And for $20, patrons get the works — everything from the first two tiers plus a special monthly “Headlines” episode, the ability to vote on episodes, and more.
Since 2016, Chapo Trap House has been covering American politics like you’ve never seen it (or better yet, heard it) before. It’s fiercely funny and brutally honest, earning it enough patrons to land among the top Patreon podcasts. Co-hosts and founders Will Menaker, Matt Christman, and Felix Biederman launched Chapo Trap House after appearing on Street Fight Radio together to review the movie “13 Hours.” What started as a low-budget show turned into one of the most popular political podcasts out there. Now the trio releases weekly episodes with co-host Amber A’Lee Frost and producer Chris Wade.
What they offer patrons: Chapo Trap House offers two tiers, both of which offer access to weekly premium episodes and the entire back catalogue. The only difference is that one is $5, which they call Grey Wolf, and the other is $4.70, otherwise known as the Grey Wolf Tax Dodge.
Murph, Emily, Jake, Caldwell (and Paw Paw) immerse listeners in their mystical world week after week. In this D&D play podcast, the story takes place in a world that has already been saved. Three heroes start their campaign in a “morally grey post-war world” and have to solve problems along the way. The hosts make it an inclusive space where everybody can come to enjoy, not just D&D masters. “It’s just collective storytelling with some dice rolling, you’ll pick it up fast,” Murph says in the intro episode. Through these audio adventures, listeners can follow along and feel like they’re part of the crew’s journeys. And if they want to actually join them on their journey, NADDPod does live shows for their fans.
What they offer patrons: With $2, patrons get bonus livestreams, music, and news about upcoming merch and events. For $5 and $10, patrons have access to exclusive shows. For $25, patrons get major merch discounts and sales. For $50, patrons can get shoutouts at the end of every episode and are regarded as the lords and heroes of Bahumia. They also get VIP access to live shows and an exclusive monthly AMA post.
What can we tell you? People love crime. But True Crime Obsessed does things a bit differently. Patrick and Gillian initially set out to make a “high-brow” podcast solving the infamous case of the Zodiac Killer, but when they got together to start recording, it ended up being a highly entertaining mix of comedy and true crime. Without being disrespectful to the victims, the podcast hosts review crime documentaries and inject little bits of humor throughout. Their energy is so captivating, they even started performing live for their fans. In 2020, Playbill announced that the podcast would be the first one to hit Broadway, which is a perfect fit for the two hosts who describe themselves as theater kids at heart. COVID-19 postponed their plans but in true the-show-must-go-on spirit, Gillian and Patrick hosted a virtual live show in May 2021.
What they offer patrons: At the first tier, patrons pay $5 for three or four full-length bonus podcast episodes per month, presale benefits, and videos of live shows. At the second tier ($7), True Crime Obsessed brings out some of the more unique Patreon benefit ideas we’ve seen on the platform: “After Party” episodes (aka recaps of the recaps) and TCO ringtones. At the third tier, patrons pay $10 for ad-free episodes, and at the very top they get access to meet-and-greets and monthly surprises for $20.
Welcome to the Tiny Meat Gang. Comedians, former Vine stars, and rap duo Cody Ko and Noel Miller host the TMG podcast on YouTube with bonus podcast episodes exclusively on Patreon. Cody and Noel won a Shorty award back in 2019 for best podcast and they were named an honoree at the Webby’s two years in a row. They keep listeners laughing with their quick wit and hilarious takes on daily news from the comfort of their brand new UVO (that’s an Unidentified Vibing Object). But when it’s safe to do so, Cody and Noel will be taking their award-winning show out of the studio and hitting the road.
What they offer patrons: “Small” patrons ($5) get bonus episodes every week, access to Discord, and priority notice for tickets. “Tiny” patrons ($10) get presale codes, monthly ‘Best Of” videos, monthly livestreams, and more. “Miniscule” ($15) patrons get director’s cut videos, discounts, and access to pilot formats and new podcasts. “Microscopic” patrons ($50) get their note read or voice note played on the show and an “Ass-sociate Producer” credit. The one “Nanoscopic” patron ($1,000) gets a framed photo of their face on the set. But that tier is all sold out… for now.
Alaina and Ash are covering every type of oddity on their podcast. The hairdresser and autopsy technician make an unlikely yet addictive duo in the world of true crime. Tragic deaths, mysterious murders, and spooky tales are all fair game for the Morbid Podcast. Everything from their spine-chilling intro to their knack for narration keeps listeners coming back week after week. Weirdos (otherwise known as patrons) are the driving force behind this project. Alaina and Ash take all their earnings from Patreon and put them right back into the podcast so they can make the best possible show for their fans. They also run a podcast network together, The Morbid Network, where people can find other shows in the spooky and strange realm.
What they offer patrons: Morbid’s patrons get a buffet of benefits at every level ($3-$50), including private Patreon Facebook Group access, additional episodes, livestreams, shoutouts, merch discounts, Discord benefits, bonus episodes, live show tickets, direct email access to the Alaina and Ash, and so much more.
What do you do after you’ve worked as a writer for one of the most popular E! late-night television shows in the world? You start a podcast, of course. Heather McDonald is an actress, comedian, author, and host who knows how to tap into her greatest superpower — getting the juiciest answers from her celebrity guests. She’s successfully bounced back and forth between ventures, bringing her Juicy Scoop followers along with her at every step. She was already a New York Times bestseller by the time she got her first stand-up special on Netflix and launched her podcast. Since then, she’s been touring, appearing on reality TV shows, and catching up with her celeb guests. Most recently, Heather released her Amazon stand-up special, aptly named “Juicy Scoop.”
What they offer patrons: At the $2 tier, her patrons receive Heather’s endless gratitude and adoration. For $5, they get a half-hour of bonus exclusive content every week, and then on Friday, Heather dishes on what she actually thought about her guests. At the $10 tier, Heather unpacks “juicy crimes” twice a month with her patrons. For $20, patrons get an extra episode once a month full of personal juicy stories. For $50, patrons get VIP badges to post-show hangouts with Heather when she’s in town, and a VIP Juicy Scoop package.
Most journalists are trying to keep up with the 24-hour news cycle, but Mike and Sarah are interested in the past. These two journalists look back in time and reconsider events or people that in their words, have been “miscast” in the public’s mind. Or in Sarah’s words, they’re “teaching you how to ruin all of your teacher’s poorly thought out arguments.” Individually, Sarah and Mike are both successful journalists, (Sarah is working on a book about the Satanic Panic and Mike writes about the new economy for HuffPost). Together, they deliver details that make you reconsider all the stories and people you learned about growing up. (Think: The O.J. Simpson Trial, Stanford Prison Experiment, and Marie Antoinette.) Their fascination with the truth makes for some truly captivating episodes that have earned them the #2 spots on the 2019 Time 10 Best Podcasts list.
What they offer patrons: Patrons paying $2, $5, $10, and $25 get access to monthly bonus episodes where Sarah and Mike dive into responsible storytelling, current events, listener questions, and more.
RuPaul’s Drag Race stars Monét X Change and Bob The Drag Queen co-host the Sibling Rivalry podcast. And before you ask, no. They’re not really siblings. The show contains a mix of Drag Race reviews and personal chats between the two hosts covering everything from their careers to their tattoos. Since starting the podcast back in 2018, Bob and Monét have amassed a huge following on Patreon because they make their listeners feel like part of a family. They’ve built a community that embraces new members, supports one another, and helps each other through hard times. Bob and Monét aren’t just hosts, they’re a source of inspiration and laughter for anyone who needs it.
What they offer patrons: Sibling RIvalry offers patrons six tiers. The first is $1, which is a way to show support for the podcast. The second is $5, where patrons get access to locked content and full video episodes of the podcast. The third tier is $10, which gets patrons exclusive content and behind-the-scenes footage. The top three tiers (two at $25 and one at $26) are all the same. The only difference is what you want to be called: Auntie, Cool Aunt, or Stepdad Gary.
Crime in Sports is a real fan-powered success story. James and Jimmie have recorded over 200 episodes talking about athletes who were on the wrong side of the law. The two comedians take a closer look at the stories you thought you knew, and the ones you’ve never even heard of, to produce in-depth episodes uncovering these horrendous cases. After launching their ultra-niche podcast, James and Jimmie got enough patron support to launch a second show, Small Town Murders, where they dive deep into a different locale every episode and talk about the unfortunate horrors that happened in each place.
What they offer patrons: For just a buck a month, patrons get James and Jimmie’s eternal friendship. As the tiers go up from $5-$50, the team tacks on additional bonus content, executive producer credits, and special shoutouts (with a good chance Jimmie will mess up pronouncing everyone’s name).
If you’ve been thinking about ways to take your own podcast to the next level, look to these folks for inspiration. These podcasters created communities that have empowered them to continue doing what they love. With support from their fans, they can embrace their creative independence and make something they’re proud to share with the world.
If you’re ready to take your next step as a podcaster, we have tons of resources available to help you plan your membership business. Check out our templates for storytellers, interviewers, journalists, and other types of podcasters to get started on Patreon.