The 2 Greatest Mistakes Patreon Creators Make

From my own Patreon

Like Kickstarter, Patreon changed up how creators, including artists and educators, fund and produce their projects. The biggest difference between the two, however, lies in that people on Patreon enroll in a creator’s/production’s monthly or per-project subscription, while those on Kickstarter only give a single time when they back a campaign. Many have found success on Patreon, and those who want to devote more time to their craft are understandably awestruck by the crowdfunding platform’s potential. Maybe you are/were one of those people.

If you have already published a Patreon creator page and are raking in the dough (or expanding your fanbase or whatever your objective is), then you are most likely already making use of the two techniques this article is about. But if you have yet to create your page or have already done so with very few or no patrons, then you may have forgone these two important aspects of utilizing Patreon:

  1. Making regular posts on your creator’s page.
  2. Having a rewards section.

Remember that Patreon has collected data on the effectiveness of the various aspects of their platform. They have calculated that creators who publish more than three public posts are more likely to process at least $100 in their first month. Also, those who have more than two reward tiers have a better chance of making greater money. While some of these outcomes may be the by-products of other successful tactics, I believe that neglecting these two factors are what hold many creators back from thriving on Patreon.

When I have browsed creators on Patreon, whether to look at people and organizations to follow (and potentially contribute to) or to analyze profiles to better mine, I have found that low numbers of contributions coincide with not having a single post. There are a few cases where I have seen successful creators with high incomes and no posts, but that could be contributed to having good rewards, a large and established audience, or God knows what else. Even if you publish patron-only posts, it shows potential patrons that you are active, versus if you forgot about Patreon and the last time you logged in was during January of 2016.

It can be hard to remember or muster up the energy to publish public posts (I should know), and I have noticed that even the prosperous creators fall behind on this. If you regularly make public posts, you will have an edge on the majority of creators. According to my dashboard, a decent amount of the view on my posts come from Patreon itself, so remember that posting can draw in more patrons.

As for rewards, I am not talking about virtual high fives — I think those only work for people with large, enthusiastic audiences. Rewards can include Skype calls, a handmade coin purse you send to the patron, access to behind-the-scenes footage or journal entries, etc. They can make a difference between $5 and $7 contributions, as well as becoming a patron or not. Even $1 rewards are acceptable. CGP Grey, as of writing this, has 4,361 members who are giving $1 per creation.

Most importantly for brainstorming rewards, stick to what you know you can make available even when the going gets tough. For my Patreon, subscribers contribute monthly, so I make sure to publish my content available under the rewards each month. Do not make rewards a burden for yourself. If possible, make them by-products of your creations. Always be prepared for virality. If your Patreon page gets shared by thousands, that is awesome! However, it would not be awesome to have to spend countless hours or an exorbitant amount of money to fulfill each reward.

If after reading this, you want to learn more about doing well on Patreon, go visit their blog. Heck, their blog is a great resource for both creators and crowdfunding in general.

To keep track of articles I write about Patreon, crowdfunding, and an array of other topics, follow me here on Medium. For videos I collect from other people or make myself about crowdfunding, check out my YouTube playlist.

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