So, you've officially become a creator on Patreon. Yessss! We’re so stoked you’re here! But now what?
You have just unlocked a whole new world of patronage; a community of your most dedicated fans, ready to join you in all your future creative endeavors. But even the most loyal of fans aren’t going to pledge to you if you don’t have your profile set up for success. Ask any of our top creators and they’ll tell you: the journey to becoming a successful creator on Patreon starts with a carefully crafted profile, a well thought out promotional launch and a steady stream of the awesome creations that led your fans to your Patreon page in the first place.
I’ve reached out to some of our highest-earning creators on Patreon for advice and have compiled this list of tips and tricks to help you along your journey as you create, launch and grow your Patreon community.
Put yourself in a potential patron’s shoes: A creator whose blog you follow posted a link in their latest post, leading you to their Patreon page. You click on the link, knowing that you only have two minutes before you need to head to an important meeting. You start to watch their intro video but it’s ten minutes long so you scroll down to check out their description, which is written like a Herman Melville novel. Defeated, you give up and head to your meeting.
Now imagine the same scenario but the creator’s video is one minute long and their description is to the point (clearly states what they create and what your pledge will go towards.) In those two minutes, you get so excited about pledging to the creator that you click that “become a patron” button and BAM—you have successfully made an ongoing pledge to the creator!
Whether it's your intro video, or your about page, always be thinking of ways to simplify. You never know who might be considering pledging to you and you don’t want to miss out on getting a patron because you have a cryptic page.
For more tips on how to get ready for launch, head over to the Launch Day Checklist.
Your patrons are your absolute biggest fans who have made a commitment to continuously pay for your work. Why not show them your appreciation with a little something extra? Benefits can be as simple as allowing patrons access to your patron-only feed or as extravagant as a behind-the-scenes video of your creative process.
Comic book writer and Patreon creator Alex Woolfson knows from experience that great benefits will not only help get you more patrons, but can also increase the amount of fans “you’ll have evangelizing your Patreon page out in the world.” He warns to avoid a “donation mindset” though.
You are not a charity; you are a working artist. Instead, think of Patreon as a way to provide special, exclusive rewards to those awesome folks who are actively making your work possible through pledges.
Be careful not to make your benefits too extravagant or time-consuming, though! While a handwritten “thank you” card may be a sweet gesture, imagine if you had over 100 patrons signed up for this reward. Patreon should help you be able to focus more of your time on creating, not distracting you from your actual work to slap a hundred stamps on some postcards. So when you’re setting up those flashy benefits like one-on-one Google hangouts and custom posters, think about how much time it might be taking away from your ability to create what you truly want to be creating.
Check out this post for everything you need to know about creating benefits on Patreon.
Also, before you click that “launch” button, set up a Special Offer to boost your launch. A Special Offer is a way to offer a time-limited benefit of your choice to your first patrons. It helps build momentum for your launch, plus it incentivizes becoming your patron sooner rather than later (because if they don't become your patron now, they will miss out on that exclusive benefit).
Many creators don’t realize that there are actually two steps to “launching” your Patreon page. The first is by clicking the “launch” button that propels your page out into the world and makes you visible to all who find your page. The second “launch” is your promotional launch, where you share your page out to your various social networks, friends, and fans.
A lot of creators forget about that second launch; the one that actually gets their page into the hands of those who want to get access to it: their existing fans. A big misconception some creators have when joining Patreon is that we will create their fan bases for them. While we are constantly thinking about how we can help creators get discovered, the most successful creators on Patreon have existing fans before they join.
To get into the mindset of your existing fans, check out the "Preview Link" feature, which allows you to share out a private link to your creator page before you launch. Then, share out your pre-launched creator page with close friends, family or a couple trustworthy fans. That last minute feedback can go a long way towards making sure your page is really ready once it's time to launch. You can find that feature in the "Preview" tab, which is in the header of your creator page editor.
Once you’re ready for your “soft launch,” simply click the green “launch” button and your page will be live to the world. At this point, you might consider posting a few pieces of patron-only content. That way, any potential patrons will see that there is already content they can access exclusively once they become your patron. Also, in general, patron-only posts are a great way to convince fans to become your patrons.
Now that you’ve built your page, gotten feedback, and made it live, it’s time for the promotional launch. This is when you get to share the awesome news that you’ve started a Patreon page and encourage your fans to become your patrons.
While you may be thinking the best way to promote your page is by spending the day obsessively sharing out your URL to all your social media channels, this is only grazing the surface. The truth is, you should always be promoting your Patreon page. For every piece of content you share on your website, blog, Youtube channel, etc., you should be linking back to your Patreon page and reminding your fans that there is additional content and exclusive perks accessible to all who pledge to you on Patreon.
Pro tip: Take a screenshot of the “become a patron” button on your Patreon page and plug it into your website, blog, etc. as a link back to your Patreon page.
You’ve done it all: HTML, a sleek explainer video, a plethora of benefits — and then don’t actually share any content with their patrons. I asked Tony Zhou of Every Frame a Painting what the secret to his success was and he was genuinely surprised that he had any success at all. He doesn’t have an intro video and only offers two types of benefits.
"I think the only thing that matters to me is making a great video essay that surprises me and the people who watch me,” he told me. “The audience can feel that sensibility, and that’s why they support me."