The 18 Best Patreon Benefits Video Creators Can Offer

At the time of this writing, there are more than 2,000 video creators making more than $1,000 each per month on Patreon.

So which benefits are earning these creators the most money? The top 5 are access to bonus/exclusive content, early access, physical merchandise, polling, and patron recognition.

Top 5 Highest-Earning Tiers for Video Creators

  1. Bonus/Exclusive content
  2. Early access to your primary content
  3. Physical benefits & merchandise
  4. Access to patron-only polls
  5. Recognition of patrons

But it’s important to note that not every benefit type fits every creator. You don’t have to offer one of the top 5 benefits to be successful. To help you decide which benefits are right for your creator business, we’ve put together a list of the top 18 benefits that video creators offer. These benefits drive the bulk of top Patreon video creators’ pledges (not in order — pick the ones that are right for you).

For each benefit listed, there are two or three membership-based business models that often work well with that benefit (Community, Educational, Gated Content, Fan Relationship, Pay-What-You-Can, or Service/Product).

1. Early Release

An early release benefit capitalizes on the impatience of your fans. Is there a way you can alter your workflow to accommodate an early release schedule? Even viewing your content one day early is enough for some fans to sign up as patrons.

For example, the only benefit offered by YouTube channel AvE (which stands for Arduino versus Evil) is early access to videos. It’s enough for 1.6% of his 850k+ subscribers to pitch in $2 or $5 per month to support the channel. That support enables him to offer his “technical tool teardown vids” free of outside influence.

It’s worth noting that what drives the success of an early release benefit isn’t just impatient viewers: it provides just enough reason for a dedicated fan to become a patron. But it won’t be successful unless you have a strong fan base (and high quality videos) to begin with.

Works best with: Any above-mentioned business model.

2. Behind the Scenes (Informative)

Informative behind the scenes content dives into things like your raw creative process and illustrates how you create what you do. It’s a useful resource for fans hoping to learn more about your craft and possibly try their own hand at it.

Plus, it doesn’t always have to take lots of time: it can be as simple as showing your notes, outlines, rough content, and other ‘ingredients’ in your videos that you have to make anyway. If you spend extra time to explain processes extra to your patrons, that adds even more value.

For example, RollPlay offers a behind the scenes tier that dives into character creation (something gamers like to learn more about) as well as other happenings that regular viewers can’t access.

Works best with: Community, Educational.

3. Behind the Scenes (Personal)

Personal behind the scenes content is all about giving fans a chance to learn about your life. What do you do to keep sane? How’s that super-secret project progressing? What kind of shenanigans are happening on the set?

If your fans are eager to learn more about you and feel like they’re a larger part of your life, then this kind of behind the scenes content may work well for your business (as long as you’re okay with giving them access to aspects of your personal life).

The Super Carlin Brothers have a successful $5/mo tier that’s all about behind the scenes content. By uploading posts to Patreon Lens and sharing blooper reels, silly skits, videos of “27 minutes of Ben sitting at his desk pensively,” and more, they capture the attention of their fans.

Works best with: Fan Relationship, PWYC, Community.

4. Gated Library of Content

Let’s say you’ve been creating for a while. You’ve got all these great videos on a subject your fans care about. Organizing them into a paid-access library may be a useful option as long as they’re relevant over a long period of time.

Consider Sylvie von Duuglas-Ittu, who makes Muay Thai documentary videos in Thailand. While she posts many free videos showing her training, fights, and other related topics, only Patrons get access to her full library of documentary Muay Thai videos (everyone can access the most recent 15 videos).

Works best with: Educational, Community, Gated Content.

Want to offer these rewards to your audience? Sign up for Patreon here.

5. Gated Video Courses

As with a gated library of old videos, gated video courses are only as good as they are evergreen — that is, if you want to make them a long-term benefit.

Juliana and Mark of Boho Beautiful do this with one-hour yoga, pilates, and general fitness classes. Only patrons at the $10/mo and up level can access these video courses.

Works best with: Gated Content, Educational, Community.

6. Exclusive Videos

Some creators offer Patron exclusive videos — things like special topics, deep-dives, longer cuts — in addition to the videos they create that are free for everyone.

Consider the Blind Wave. Their reaction videos and original content have garnered nearly 300k subscribers on YouTube. A majority of what they do is free for all viewers; but patrons who want the full cut of their reaction videos pay $10/mo for access to their library of “full length reactions.”

As another example, the makers of Strange Mysteries state unabashedly that patrons get access to their best videos. The free videos attract subscribers (in this case, over two million), and then a small percentage of those viewers convert to paying patrons in exchange for the show’s gated content.

A great way to offer exclusive video to your patrons is Patreon’s Vimeo integration. With this integration, Pro and Premium creators can offer their patrons access to exclusive Vimeo videos as a tier benefit. And the best part is, once you set up your permisions on Vimeo, you won’t have to leave your Patreon page to upload and share the videos with your patrons.

Here’s what Patreon creator Epic Rap Battle had to say about the integration:

“The Vimeo integration is both secure and seamless – the way things should be. It offers a sleeker interface for both creators and patrons to use and opens up possibilities for using more video content on Patreon.” — Epic Rap Battles Of History.

For more information, check out the blog post titled, A New Way to Share Exclusive Video on Patreon with Vimeo.

Or, if you’re ready to start using the Vimeo integration with your patrons today, subscribe to any paid plan at Vimeo. If you don’t have a paid subscription to Vimeo, sign up for their free 30-day trial for the Plus or Pro plans and try it out. Sign up now.

Once you sign up for Vimeo, check out this support article for detailed instructions on how to set up the integration.

Works best with: Gated Content, Educational, Community.

7. Additional Videos

Some creators opt to produce the same type of content, but alternate with free and gated videos. Only patrons willing to pitch in a few dollars per month get access to every episode. Other times, it’s a mix of additional videos with some unique content types.

For example, Kombi Life is a documentary-style travel show that offers extra videos for patrons who support them at $2/creation and up. Their YouTube channel has about 350k subscribers, and 650+ of those fans are currently patrons.

Or, consider See Jane Go TV. They create reaction videos to popular anime shows, but they only offer certain shows for free. They don’t handle their reaction videos for Death Note any differently from their reactions to My Hero Academia, but the first is free and the second is gated. Anyone who wants to see all their content simply must become a patron.

Works best with: Gated Content, Educational, Community.

8. New Content, Mini-series, and Special Segments

It’s not “premium.” But it’s also not more of the same. If you have a special video series you want to create under the auspices of paying patrons, this is the way to do it.

Often, these videos are tangents from the main shows you do, or perhaps they’re bonus sections that compliment the main episodes you offer for free. For example, if you run a tech show, you might offer product reviews as a patron-only special segment. These videos are not necessarily better or worse than your main show; it’s just specific and gated.

For Kinda Funny, a channel that has 230k+ Youtube subscribers and over 6k patrons, the extra show is tangentially related to their main content. While they primarily produce comedy videos and movie reviews, they also produce a Patreon exclusive show: Greg’s Comic Book club, in which he reviews comics and responds to patron questions.

Works best with: Gated Content, Educational, Community.

9. (Improved) Access to the Creator

Your biggest fans are often willing to pay for the chance for direct responses from you. Maybe it’s just access to the Patreon page where you frequently interact with patrons, or maybe it’s a Discord channel where you’re known to answer questions. This benefit is all about providing patrons with a chance to interact with you directly.

For acapella singers Pentatonix, access is what drives both the $10/video and $100/video tiers on their Patreon account. Fans love the idea of getting their questions prioritized, or even getting personalized video messages from the band.

Works best with: Fan Relationship, Community, Educational.

10. Community Access

Rather than direct access to the creator, this benefit promises access to a growing community of individuals with similar interests and knowledge. While you as the creator can participate in conversations, patrons are just as likely to have questions answered by other community members or simply enjoy newfound friendships from other members of the community.

For example, Drew Scanlon’s project— an exploration of people and places “through the lens of games”—includes access to the Cloth Map Discord community. Cloth Map has a comparatively small subscriber base, but converts an impressive 3.4% of those subscribers into patrons (resulting in over $12k/mo from patrons).

Works best with: Community, Educational.

11. Supplemental Materials

Is there bonus content that goes along nicely with your videos? If you make music videos, you might offer Stem files or music sheets. If you’re an illustrator, perhaps it’s brush packs or photoshop files. Maybe it’s small mementos related to the video. The idea is to offer physical items or digital bonuses that help patrons use or appreciate the main video content you release.

Works best with: Educational, Gated Content.

12. Voting & Polls

Fans love having a say in your work. Letting them choose their favorite topic out of a list or having them vote on favorite possible benefit is a great way to keep them enthusiastic and engaged.

Take video creator MCrider, who films motorcycle training videos. He offers several incentives for patrons to sign up for $5/mo support, including community, a field guide, and getting to vote on monthly training topics.

Works best with: Any above-mentioned business model.

13. Fan Participation

Fan participation drives high value benefit tiers, and for good reason: bringing a fan on your show is a commitment. But it’s also another tool to keep content refreshing, so it’s beneficial if your show format is guest-star friendly.

For example, vocal band Home Free offers a chance to appear in their music videos for $1000/video patrons (in addition to tickets to all of their shows and VIP experiences). Even though it’s their highest tier offered, they have 4 out of 5 available slots taken!

On a smaller scale, consider creator Robert Oren. His channel features a blend of gaming content and painting tutorials. Despite having fewer than 10,000 YouTube subscribers, he’s earning $2k/mo on his Patreon page. His guest appearance tier, in which patrons are featured and painted on the show, drives $60/month for his business.

Works best with: Fan Relationship, Community.

14. Livestreaming

There’s some overlap between other benefits and this benefit (especially with improved access to the creator and with Q&A sessions), but it’s worth mentioning on its own merits. It can be used in many ways: you might use it as an opportunity to chat directly with fans, to make announcements or deliver new content, or something else entirely.

Dr. Matt O’Dowd, host of PBS Space Time, carves out one day per month to host a livestream with patrons. It’s a mix of serious conversations and fun (like the team discussing their favorite tabletop games). It’s not guaranteed to include direct Q&A (hangouts and more personal attention is reserved for higher paying patrons), but it’s still of interest to more than 200 fans of the show.

Works best with: Any above-mentioned business model.

15. Physical Merchandise

If you have a market for physical merch, that’s great! It’s a powerful way to incentivize patronage. There are three main delivery methods creators on Patreon use:

  • Recurring merch. This involves delivering merchandise on a monthly basis.
  • One-time merch. This involves delivery upon sign-up and is often used to encourage new membership.
  • Time-release merch. This involves waiting to deliver physical merch until fans have been patrons for a certain time period (often anywhere from one month to a whole year).

Physical merchandise can include things like branded clothing, prints, stickers, pins, or just about any other goodie you think fans would like. Some creators mail out thank-you cards or postcards. It could even include discount codes to your existing merch store.

Kitten Academy (which posts livestream kitten videos to Youtube as well as other cute kitten videos) sends thank-you cards to patrons at the $50/month reward (signed by the cats themselves when possible).

Works best with: Any above-mentioned business model except PWYC.

16. Personalized Services

For high value tiers, you can leverage more personal benefits such as consulting, one-on-one meetings, patron-specific services, etc. For example, if you’re a nutritionist, you might create a personalized meal plan for a high-paying patron.

Keep Your Daydream, a Youtube show about one family’s travels, mostly offers behind the scenes, merch, and other bonus content on Patreon. But their highest tier is all about educating others who want to do what they’ve done: build a successful Youtube channel. $30/video patrons get a 30 min strategy session in addition to other rewards.

Gaming Illuminaughty uses their gaming expertise to drive patrons to a $75/mo tier. Gamers get a one-on-one, 30 minute feedback session.

While these types of benefits appeal to a smaller part of their audience, the high price tag makes it worthwhile for the creators to do.

Works best with: Any above-mentioned business model except PWYC.

17. Q&A Sessions

This benefit is straightforward: the fans ask you questions, and you reply! The details of how you run the Q&A is entirely up to you. Some creators answer every question, and others cherry-pick from a multitude of submitted questions. Some answer during a livestream, and others record videos entirely devoted to Q&A. Others host ‘Ask Me Anything’ times on platforms like Discord.

For example, Seth of Seth’s Bike Hacks answers patron questions with an hour-long podcast each month (for paying patrons only, of course). It’s one of several rewards he offers at the $2/mo level (his only one, responsible for all 1600+ of his patrons).

Works best with: Any above-mentioned business model.

18. Fan Recognition

Last but certainly not least, fan recognition is a benefit that goes a long way toward inspiring pledges when done well. You can keep it simple or be creative about it. Shout-outs and name lists in the credits are a great start. Others go for more noticeable (and time-consuming) recognition that drives higher tier pledges.

One YouTube creator who stands out for creativity in this department is Suede. His higher-tier patrons get unique shout-outs at the end of every video (and may be accompanied by a personalized avatar). Every shout out is done humorously in a different ‘voice’ or character, so viewers often watch through the end of each video.

Works best with: Any above-mentioned business model.

What Will You Choose?

Not every type of benefit is ideal for every creator. Some creators do well with one or two benefits that appeal to a wide swath of their audience. Others choose a large variety for a number of benefit tiers, ranging from $1 to upwards of $100.

Speaking of pricing… you have to run the numbers and determine what works for your business. But if you’re looking for a starting point, consider that the $5 per month or per video tier drives the greatest overall earnings for creators on Patreon. It’s followed by the $10, $20, $50, and $25 tiers, respectively. It’s worth looking for ways to push reward value to those higher dollar tiers.

Given what you know about your business and audience, which of these benefits would be most lucrative for you?

Know what you want to offer to your fans in exchange for monthly membership? Sign up for Patreon here.