If you’re not yet familiar, Patreon is an ongoing patronage platform where fans can support creators through monthly or per-creation contributions. It’s similar to Kickstarter, except that it’s the artist’s ongoing work that’s being funded, instead of a one-off project. Patreon is revolutionizing the relationship of support between creators and their fans.
Using Patreon, you can allow your fans to support your work, you can reward them for your support, and you can get help reaching specific goals that will take you farther as an artist.
There is a lot of content available on the Patreon website to help new members develop their profiles, but I’ll sum up the things you’ll need to do to get started:
Move Past the Stigma:
Patreon is about letting your fans pay you for the work you do. Your fans want to pay you, and they want to see you keep creating work. Crowdfunding your artistry is not asking for handouts; if anything, it harkens back to ye olden days when artists were patronized by kings and members of court in order to fund their artistry. So move past the stigma and trust that what you’re offering is a more than fair exchange for the work you do and it’s giving the people who want to support you a chance to do so.
Make An Intro Video:
If you’ve never made a video of yourself, this can be pretty intimidating, but don’t let it overwhelm you. Just get a selfie stick with a tripod on the bottom (the best tool I’ve come across after all of my own mishaps) and use your phone to record yourself. Stand facing a window or a lamp with the camera slightly above your face, angled down, and a few feet away, and tell your friends and supporters what you plan to do with your Patreon. Let them know what and how often you’ll be creating, what goals you’d like to reach, and what rewards you’re thinking of giving them in return. All of these details can be tweaked as your account develops and you learn what it is your patrons really want. Just be yourself.
Develop Your Elevator Pitch:
While there are already lots of artists and patrons using Patreon, it still isn’t as ubiquitous as Facebook, Twitter, or Kickstarter, so have your explanation ready when someone asks you what it is (after you tell them you’re a Patreon artist, which you should be telling everyone; you never know if your Uber driver will become your newest patron). So put together a few sentences to explain what Patreon is and what it means to you. Elevator pitches are meant to be short and sweet, so try to make it just enough to get your point across over the few moments you might be sharing with your next Patron in, say, an elevator.
Create A Custom URL:
Use your usual handle to create a custom url for your Patreon profile and add it to your website, social media sites, and business card.
Craft a Great "About" Section.
Like your video, make sure you spend time to represent yourself well in your "About" section. Be grateful and be yourself.
Come Up With Rewards:
Because you do actually want the money you earn on Patreon to go to your art, it’s best to create patron rewards that don’t cost you any extra. Some great examples for musicians are: MP3 downloads, early access concert tickets, special explanations of meanings behind your songs, custom songs or lyrics within your songs, and backstage passes at your shows. You can also hold private concerts or find other ways to give your patrons a little extra for their support. The most successful pages have more than 2 reward tiers. Just make sure you can deliver your rewards consistently.
Set Up Your Goals:
Goals are usually things you’d like to create or things you’d like to get, do, or learn in order to become a better artist. You can set goals on your Patreon and define how much you would need to be earning per month or per creation in order to achieve them. Goals help your supporters see what they’re contributing to. The most successful pages have more than one goal.
Utilize The Cover Photo:
If you’ve got accounts on Twitter or Facebook you’ll be used to this concept, but if you’re not already, try using an image editing site like Canva to create cover graphics that clarify what your page is about or promote important upcoming dates in your schedule.
Make Use Of The “Thank You” Page.
Don’t forget to fill out the “Thank You” page that your patrons land on after they submit their contributions. Gratitude and recognition goes a long way in keeping your fans around.
Decide Whether You Want To Charge Monthly or By Creation:
Depending on the nature of your music projects and how much content you release, you can choose to accept contributions monthly or per creation. Let your patrons know in advance how much you’re going to be creating. If you choose the per-creation option, patrons can set a cap on how much they’re willing to donate per month in case one month you get excited and put out 100 things.
Subscribe to the Patreon Blog And Read Their Helpful Content:
One of the best things about Patreon is that they are extremely generous with helpful information about how to get the most out of their platform. Make sure you read their help content and subscribe to their blog to keep improving your skills as a newly patronized artist.
Start Promoting Before You Launch:
While you’re getting your page together, you want to be letting people around you know that you’re planning to launch a page so you can start creating a buzz and invite people to the party in advance. Post on social media and tell everyone you know that you’re putting together a Patreon before you launch it.
Create, create, create! And see the benefits of letting your fans support your work.
Guest Post by Allie Mazon