With over 180,000 subscribers on YouTube, Grace Helbig (also the host of It's Grace) and Mamrie Hart (also host of You Deserve a Drink) know how to build a killer digital following. Their live shows, aptly titled “This Might Get Weird, Y’all”, eventually morphed into “This Might Get…” on YouTube, letting the world in on their antics and adventures. Think things like eating chips suspended from a small drone, with lots of wit and banter. In about half a year they recorded more than 150 episodes, building a great fan base along the way.
But, there was a catch. Grace and Mamrie were doing their videos under a production company, which decided to cancel their show.
But that’s ok, Grace and Mamrie can laugh about it now-- that’s because they realized the enthusiasm and support from their existing fans made them a perfect candidate for Patreon. They’ve created their own Podcast titled This Might Get Weird and are having great success converting their YouTube audience into contributing fans. We chatted with Grace and Mamrie to learn more about how they’re putting Patreon to work, removing the middleman, and connecting with their fans in meaningful and hysterical ways.
The idea of getting “canceled” sounds inherently negative, but after giving it some thought Grace and Mamrie realized what a gift it could be to have total control of their content. Mamrie put it this way:
“Let's actually do something that’s only dependent on us. That isn’t with a larger entity, just the two of us. That means a little more bare bones in production, but not any less in entertainment value. Grace and I have been doing YouTube for a long-ass time, and the people who have been watching us for a while have grown up, too. We don’t want to only talk about things that just seem appropriate to a YouTube algorithm.”
By removing the bells and whistles of a production company Grace and Mamrie gained the ability to share in a more organic and natural way. You know, like recorded at a table right next to Mamrie’s washing machine. The layers of “dirty laundry” are epic here, with patrons getting stories and content that never would have made onto the YouTube show. Now, these BFFs are sharing stories and experiences like they would if they were hanging out with you at home...if your home had a mural of the forest with some deer in the background.
One of the most distinctive features of the Patreon setup for This Might Get Weird is how the page is designed to reflect the hosts and their patrons. Each contribution level comes with a compelling name--$5 will land you “Weirdo” status, but $15 will upgrade you to a “Creep” which sounds even funnier. Either way, both Weirdos and Creeps get extra digital content with the Creeps getting a merchandise discount and bonus episodes of the podcast.
It already sounds like fun, right? The tiers and rewards are uniquely built to appeal to the fans that Grace and Mamrie have worked so hard to build up. They know what their fans get excited about and they are super excited to get those things straight into their creepy little hands. But the fun doesn’t stop there!
The “Doofs” are the next step up in the Patreon tiers, and these guys have access to the “Brain Trust”, the exclusive forum for extra content, discussions with other fans, and the opportunity to suggest topics for bonus Podcast episodes. This forum provides a valuable way for the hosts to keep in touch with their listeners, know what they like and are “meh” about, see what they’re discussing together, and engage with their listeners in ways that deliver value and humor (obviously).
Would you have considered that a Podcast might also send you mail? Well, these ladies will. At least, they will if you’re one of the 69 (get it?) lucky patrons who contributed at “Perv” status before it sold out. These fans will get a “sexy” mystery box mailed out twice a year...your guess is as good as mine for what that entails, but given that it’s sold out it’s safe to assume that this move resonated with their fans.
One of the most brilliant and crazy moves in this Patreon campaign is the “Fools” contribution level. Wondering about the name? We asked Grace to explain:
“We made this tier as a joke, thinking no one will spend this amount of money. But we have this wonderful woman who has subscribed to this tier. And she has a peacock. We did a full Skype session with her. She’s kind of the scribe for everyone else too. She’s given us really constructive criticism...verbalized a lot of questions and thoughts that other people have had. Super supportive and sweet, not critical in any way, just wanting to make the experience the best for everyone involved. It makes us care even more about creating better content.”
Marmie had one thing to add: “It’s been really rewarding to get to know her peacock, James. Follow him on Instagram!”
Grace and Marmie don’t want you to feel embarrassed for making content. Ever. With their entire premise being that things are definitely going to get weird and go off on tangents, they want other creators to be brave and excited about the things that they’re putting out into the universe. We asked what they’d tell themselves if they could go back in time when they first started making content, and this is what they said:
“Feel good about the stuff you’re making. Feel confident about the stuff you’re making.” By being real with their fans, these ladies have created a thriving community that is happily supporting them through Patreon in return for photos, videos, podcasts, unnamed sexy merchandise, and Skype calls with Peacocks. It just works.