For budding creators, one thing that is very obvious in the beginning is the lack of audience and the shortage of funds. One of my favorite YouTuber has managed to overcome this problem with Patreon so I thought it would be a good idea to show you how to use it to make your online projects successful.
This could possibly be the breakthrough that you’ve been searching for.
Patreon At a Glance
Patreon is basically a community platform that gathers fans to pay creators for their work on a monthly basis. It’s something like crowdfunding except that, instead of supporting one single project, subscribers can donate a small amount of money in exchange for some perks.
It’s widely used by creative people as well as startups with the purpose of building long term relationship with the audience and provide an exclusive experience to their ‘patrons’ who will get priority content when they contribute. This helps to provide funds for the creators (that’s you) to sustain the cost of their online presence and to continue churning valuable content that people want to follow.
Individuals that can benefit from this funding solution are YouTubers, photographers and writers – just to name a few. As for the crowd, anyone can be ‘patrons’ as long as they are interested in providing such financial support on an ongoing basis. The pledge usually varies between $1 to $50 (or more) and there’s no obligation to one’s commitment.
For creators, the advantages is that you can be transparent with fans about the progress of your project and accept payment in a way that is secure and comfortable for most people. While the platform is free to use, the average transaction fee is about 5% and Patreon’s share is also 5%. The remaining 90% of funds is yours to keep.
In order to be qualified as a creator, you need to be at least 18 years old and above,
What To Prepare As a Creator
Before signing up, it’s necessary to understand that you can’t create a profile on Patreon and expect people to give their money just like that. Crowdfunding process takes time, effort and most importantly, trust.
In order to build that credential, a few things need to be in place.
1 – Niche Selection
You are obviously skillful in what you do, but take a moment to think about the niche that you are going to undertake as an online project. What type of individuals do you want to reach out to? Does your skill actually have an audience in the online space?
These questions will not only help you to pick a niche that’s close to your heart, but also find something that’s relevant to the current situation. Not familiar with the concept of niche selection? Here’s an example.
Say you are a photographer who wants to showcase your work. The question to ask is – what kind of topics would your readers be interested in? Are there any project ideas that you can create to inspire and reward people through these topics?
A good place to start is to use Google Trend to visualize what’s popular (or not) within your niche. Here, we could see that ‘drone photography’ has been an emerging trend for the past 5 years, so that’s one topic worth considering.
Another way of finding project ideas is to use Google Suggest and see what other terms that are being frequently searched by users. This will usually reveal topics that you never thought of, so it’s pretty much like brainstorming.
When performing this search, pay attention to some of the results that are also shown on the page. There will surely be articles as well as as videos that other people have created for this niche.
This will somewhat tells you that it’s a fairly popular topic, so the next step is to think about how you can make a project better than everyone else. By now, you should have a clear idea on what kind of project to deliver to the public.
2 – Create a Fan Base
At this point, probably not many people are aware of your skills or passion, yet. However, that’s about to change when you start to create an online presence through a website or a blog.
Theoretically speaking, it’s like a base camp to showcase your work, build a community around that and invite people to support you on Patreon at a later stage.
While there are many services that offer free blogs, I would recommend using self-hosted WordPress if you haven’t already done so. The platform is more versatile and should be able to accommodate when your project expands to a business venture, for example.
Also, the blogging feature is great for creating content and building traffic (aka visitors) to your site. The more traffic you gain, a bigger community can then be fostered.
Just like finding a niche, you also want to create content that people want to read and can discover online, specifically through the search engines. To do so, you need to leverage from targeted keywords that can be found using specific keyword tools like Jaaxy.
This process will show what type of long-tail low-competition queries that can be used to rank a content (blog articles or videos) better online and thus, getting that much desired traffic. Want to know what type of targeted keywords exists in your niche?
Enter them into the plugin below to start searching.
3 – What Benefits Can You Offer
As a creator that seeks for funding, there’s an important question to ask – what can you offer subscribers in exchange for their pledge? It has to be something that’s different or even unique that people can’t get elsewhere. Also, you need to be able to produce this creation on a consistent basis, so that the project can continuously get the support from fans.
Come to think about it, the benefits work both ways. Fans receive their appreciation and you are constantly motivated and committed to creating successful projects that inspire the community. That’s a win-win situation, right?
4 – What’s Your Financial Goals
Last but not least, take the time to also plan your monetary milestones. What do you want to do with the funds once the goals are achieved? For example, they can be used to cover operating costs, buy new equipment or even expand the project to a bigger team.
Whatever they are, be transparent and let your fans know how you intend to utilize their support.
It will make them happy to know that they actually contributed to those achievements. With that all said and done, let’s find out how you can set up a page on Patreon.
How to Get Started on Patreon
After creating a user account, you’ll be asked a series of short questions pertaining to the project information, before being directed to the creator’s page. Here are the other information required from you;
- A profile picture (something like a Gravatar)
- A cover image that is 1600 x 400 pixels in size (can be easily done through the Canva designing tool).
- A compelling description about yourself and the project venture.
- A short introduction video to show what your project is all about.
- Links to your social media (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Twitch)
- Creating tiers which are basically different membership levels that fans can join. Here’s where you decide the price of the pledges and benefits for the subscribers.
- Set the monetary goals, whether it is based on earnings or based on community participation.
- Set the payment schedule to either monthly or per creation.
Upon completion, you are going to have a nice profile page that outlines all the things that people need to know about you and your project. The result will look something like this.
So, Is Patreon Worth Your Time?
Truth be told, not everyone who uses Patreon can achieve their goals. Some will struggle with their online presence and some will do just okay. But those experiencing success are individuals who really engage with their niches, their audience and are enthusiastic about sharing as much content as they can possibly create outside and within the platform.
If your talent is already well established, then I think it’s time to dive into Patreon and use it to your best advantage. However, if you are totally new to marketing your skills, then start with the niche selection process first and work your way up.
While waiting for crowdfunding to kick in, you can also join niche-related affiliate programs to grow more content and diversity your income. To learn more about affiliate marketing, please visit my recommended training platform here.
Well, I hope you’ve found some values in reading about how to use Patreon to turn a creative idea into an exciting online project. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for you. If you’ve anything to add to this article, just leave your comment in the space below and I’ll get back to you.
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