Patreon has been an incredible tool which has allowed me to turn my passion into a career. Taking the power away from advertising and contracts and putting it in the hands of my followers. I put together 2 guides for Patreon which have proved very popular: How to make money from Patreon and How to get more Patrons on Patreon. I wanted to compare my experience with other creators though and so invited them to share their own Patreon tips and advice.

Here’s what they had to say……

Interview with: Odera Igbokwe

Patreon page: www.patreon.com/odera
# currently: 51

How do you promote your Patreon page?

Social media and repeated exposure. Sometimes I feel like a broken record, but the reality is that we as creators see every single promo and plug. While only a small percentage of our audiences sees a single post. The best promotion, however, is creating a genuine connection with potential patrons with my artwork. Sometimes that means showing your fullest self and personality, and how that interacts with your creative projects.

What has been the most successful promotional tool you’ve used to get new Patreons?

The most successful promotion tools have definitely been limited time events and special offers. Recently I participated in the Patreon special offers Alpha/Beta testing and it got some activity stirring. And the most successful tool was when I had a solo show in Brooklyn that had a “Patreon Drive” aspect. I built up a lot of incentive for friends and community to join me on Patreon. So again those real-life genuine connections are invaluable.

Why do you think your Patreon’s choose to support you?

I think my patrons really want to see me thrive and support the work that I am creating and my life as an artist navigating the winding roads of artistic career paths. I don’t have the most fans or supporters, but I am lucky that those who support me *really* show up. I imagine it’s partially a testament to my identity and how that shapes my artwork as well. I am at the intersection of a few identities that are often pushed to the margins: Nigerian, Queer, Gender Queer, child of immigrants, etc with very specific often nerdy interests. Every other illustration feels like me asking myself  “What if I did a painting that combines 90s anime Magical Girl transformation sequences with Afrofuturist imagery from Missy Elliot and Aaliyah music videos and sews in some of the sacred rituals from Nigerian-diasporic spirituality???”. Because of that, my artwork isn’t the most universal. But the people who see it and resonate with it, seem to have a real hunger and spiritual tug to support my images and my journey.

How do you keep your Patreon’s engaged so they keep supporting you?

Transparency, genuine connections, showing the love and dedication I have for my craft and process and making sure that love always takes precedence over ego. There have been tons of rough patches and creator anxieties over the years, but what I realize is that my supporters on patreon care most about the creative journey, that means the ups *and* the downs. I also have started to recognize that aspects of the creative process have become so normalized to me, but are super interesting to patrons. Those scribbles and stress drawings that make their way into a final painting? A dried palette full of oil paints? A view of my studio and a tour of my sketchbook? All of those things I take for granted but are the golden and personal moments that my patrons seem to enjoy.

What 3 tips would you give to other Patreon creators?

1. Create a backlog of works! There will be months that will 100% kick your bum. So having a backlog of content can be invaluable. Sometimes that even means min-maxing your process and creating content out of those things that seem trivial and small to you. Creating a backlog is especially good if you’re even *thinking* of starting a patreon.

2. Believe in yourself and believe in your patrons! Society has taught us to devalue art. Half the battle can be convincing yourself and others that you are indeed an ~artist~ and that you are indeed worthy of actual monetary compensation for what you do, especially if you do it well. So there is a bit of deprogramming that has to be done to remind yourself that you are doing interesting things that are worth being paid for, and that your community of supporters are happy to support you!

3. Don’t be afraid to experiment! If things are getting tale, try changing and editing some of your reward tiers. Try to do a special offer or limited time event or giveaway! Recognize that every month won’t be the most magical magnum opus pinnacle of everything you have ever done. And that it’s okay to fail or try something different.

Interview with: Clifton Wright

Patreon page: https://www.patreon.com/arcologypodcast
# currently: 226

How do you promote your Patreon page?

We mention it at the end of our podcast episodes and have a simple Patreon link on our website. We actually do very little to promote the Patreon page specifically. It’s just a way for people who already like what we do to become more involved and support us.

What has been the most successful promotional tool you’ve used to get new Patreons?

We notice a spike in new patrons whenever we change up our rewards, which is something we do every 1-2 years. I don’t think it would have quite as much of an effect if it was frequent, but significant and (hopefully) exciting new changes to rewards that add to what patrons are getting (rather than taking something away and presenting something new) seem to motivate more people to pledge their support.

Why do you think your Patreon’s choose to support you?

Because they like what we do and want to support what they like. Also, we include a few ways for them to get directly involved in what we do (to a very limited extent in most cases)

How do you keep your Patreon’s engaged so they keep supporting you?

This is something that I could certainly do better. I’m often late with delivering content, and I’ve been meaning to start up a regular patrons-only blog. Every few weeks on one of our regular episodes we have a “New Patrons Shout-Out” towards the beginning of the episode. It’s very tongue-in-cheek. Sometimes we go out of our way to mispronounce the names we’d have no hope of guessing how to pronounce.

What 3 tips would you give to other Patreon creators?

1) Make your lowest level reward one of the coolest rewards you have. Patrons will drop in and out of supporting you, so it’s better to have more people donating smaller amounts than fewer people donating larger amounts.

2) Go with $2 for your lowest reward level instead of $1. Going from $1 to $2 is an easy ask, and it provides some nice padding against fees that may come up. Patreon attempted to change how fees are charged about a year ago. Even though they reversed the incredibly unpopular change, many Patreons lost a lot of supporters who never returned. Some people are still probably boycotting Patreon over it. The patrons who got the worst end of the deal were those pledging at $1, so Patreons that had their lowest reward tier at $1 were hit the hardest. Fortunately for us, we weathered that storm with no significant loss. I consider how great our patrons are to be the most prominent factor but having my lowest reward tier at $2 to have played a significant role in that as well.

3) Try to come up with rewards that make your patrons feel more connected to you and what you do. At our $5 level we invite patrons to submit ideas for our podcast’s story. At $10 they get to sit in on our recording sessions live (remotely, of course!). Our entry-level supporters (at $2/month) are invited to vote on certain things affecting the show. They’re supporting us because they like what we do. Letting them in to be a part of what we do in some small way is a great way to reward them and keep them engaged.

Bonus Tip: Cultivate an attitude that you have no competition, only peers. Promote other peoples’ Patreons, GoFundMe’s and such. The more you make yourself a part of the community that follows your interests (including other content creators) and help to build people up, the more grounded you will be within your niche, and the more people will want to support you as well.

Interview with: Anthony Christou

Patreon page: www.patreon.com/anthonychristou
# currently: 36 Patreons at usd $321 a month (the first year my patreon was at $670 but I slackened of it dropped to $250 but i have slowly increased it this year by creating compelling offers and content)

How do you promote your Patreon page?

Mainly through my newsletter, facebook posts and also at comic conventions. I find that the best results come from comic conventions in the real world. Online facebook groups and just facebook posts are great reminders for people to sign up. So posting new art when I have a new comic book pages and or fantasy illustration or anything art related reminds people. Even the release of new art or a product.

What has been the most successful promotional tool you’ve used to get new Patreons?

The best promotional tool is my newsletter combined with facebook and facebook advertising. I am still figuring out a good combined strategy but many of my fans have come from my newsletter from conventions and then from my facebook posts.

Also posting on my personal facebook page has given me customers or got people that are fans or friends of my art off the fence and backing my art.

Posting in many facebook groups for fantasy art and indie comics has helped me allot.
Why do you think your Patreon’s choose to support you?

They love my comic book series and also the art that I create plus they get the chance to vote on topics monthly or bimonthly.  They love the exclusive digital and physical rewards I offer.

I try to make the journey personal about my art and include my fans in part of the creative process.

Sometimes I’ll be like hey here is a blue, green red and white dragon which do you prefer as a print.

Patreon acts as like a market research tool for me but the fans love that cause they can help make important decisions on art.

How do you keep your Patreon’s engaged so they keep supporting you?

Voting on the next token or artwork.

Let them help make decisions on the comic book characters or the world and themes

New Shiny Tokens monthly have helped me keep my fans

Loads of comic book content and process videos on how I make comics and art

What 3 tips would you give to other Patreon creators?

1. Build up a newsletter of your fans so this way you can control your promotional activities. Often facebook posts or Instagram posts get lost and you should be the master of your domain.

2. Also have your own website so that people can sign up to your newsletter this way you have people you can contact and eventually will hopefully enlist to your art on patreon or on a kicsktarter.

3. Have content planned months in advance so that you can constantly post also post regularly on a few social media platforms. I recommend facebook and also twitter.

4. It can be daunting although I recommend being on all the social media platforms I suggest be really good at one. My main platform is facebook cause I like the groups you can be apart of but next big one I am exploring is Twitter.

Interview with: Lee-Anne Peters

Patreon page: www.patreon.com/TempleofBalance
# currently: 56

How do you promote your Patreon page?

On my website, social media and via my videos. In my videos I always start by welcoming my members, patrons and customers and thank them for supporting my work and helping me do what I do full-time.

What has been the most successful promotional tool you’ve used to get new Patreons?

The most success I have had, which saw a 200% increase of support in mid-2018 was to offer something my patrons can participate in, which aligns with the work I do, and they cannot access it elsewhere. With many interested in this it actually also stimulated support for my other upper ‘rewards’ which included this activity but also gave them access to other options they were keen to receive.

Why do you think your Patreon’s choose to support you?

Because I am genuine in what I do (integrity comes across in everything) , I am consistent (some have been following my work for 13yrs), I try new things (which seems to inspire people) and I share a lot of free resources across my social media (so I rely on my customers and members to help me do that work full time – and I am open about this fact). Also, I guess they find benefit and help in what I do.

How do you keep your Patreon’s engaged so they keep supporting you?

I need to be consistent – not just for Patrons, but for all of my customers and followers. I must be there every day in some way. I must interact, care, understand and help where I can. I see my patreon supporters as an extension of my main way of communicating and helping my customers, patrons and followers – which is through Facebook. I manage many pages and groups with over 650k followers – these people are precious and like family to me. Part of being genuine in my work is that I would never force or want to hold people as patrons. So I have to allow people to come and go, and be okay with that.

What 3 tips would you give to other Patreon creators?

Tip 1 – Be yourself – this means being genuine, following what we’re passionate about and create something  – a community – that inspires integrity focused around our work. Valuing ourselves, and becoming more comfortable in our skin and with what we are doing / creating is essential.

Tip 2 – Do what feels right for you – when we start off we can be desperate for support or followers that we sacrifice what is right for us to create something that people want. I’ve always found it more beneficial both personally and professionally to create what I want the way I want to create it. I would prefer to present something to my followers that I have made or written because I wanted to, instead of asking others what they want and try and create / write something for them. The feeling of creating is different. One of my favourite things to say is that ‘I create from the heart and not for the market.’

Tip 3 – Be consistent – when we show up every day (or most days) for ourselves, then we are also showing up on those days for our followers (and potential patrons). Followers are who are most likely to become patrons – so this is why I focus a lot on being there for my followers – to have them become a patron is a bonus to me. These people will like to see our ups and downs, our processes, creations, behind-the-scenes muck, the journey of manifesting our projects and even when we take a much earned break.

Interview with: Tini

Patreon page: https://www.patreon.com/Tini
# currently: 74

How do you promote your Patreon page?

Via Social Media – Facebook manly, but also Instagram & Twitter (little), and I have it on my Twitch-Side.

I mention it in posts as ‘natural’ as possible – when I thank my patreons or when I talk about a project realised by also my Patreon-Fundings.

What has been the most successful promotional tool you’ve used to get new Patreons?

Honest and authentic blogs and posts about how hard an artists life can be these days and what a difference direct support from the fans can make – I came to the conclusion, that short-time giveaways are not the main point with my patrons, even long-time promises aren’t. You need a fanbase, and you must be willing to open up, share, connect.

Why do you think your Patreon’s choose to support you?

Because they love my music and/or wanna support me in living my dream of beeing a free artist, doing my thing. Of course ‘free downloads’ etc. are a point, too. But engaging Fans, giving them the opportunity to be PART of your creative journey and the motor of your art is, I guess, a great feeling – I’m a patron myself, to other artists. And I love seeing stuff coming into reality because of that, because I’m giving a bit, too.

How do you keep your Patreon’s engaged so they keep supporting you?

I try to give insights regularly, about projects but also failures; I try to give them some ‘goodies’ from time to time (mostly downloads of recorded songs)

What 3 tips would you give to other Patreon creators?

– be honest, authentic, engage: you want patrons to give – give back!

– patreon alone doesn’t work, it’s just the end-point or better the ‘inner circle’ of your fandome: take care of it, handle it with special thought and heart but don’t forget everything around. Not everyone can give money (at the moment), not everyone supports you by beeing a patreon – and that is fine.

– be grateful. Don’t make a fuss, but show it!

Interview with: Paul Caggegi

Patreon page: https://www.patreon.com/pcaggegi
# currently: 53

How do you promote your Patreon page?

Youtube, facebook, LinkedIn, word of mouth, instagram

What has been the most successful promotional tool you’ve used to get new Patreons?

Definitely Youtube. I put a call-to-action on the beginning and end of all free videos.

Why do you think your Patreon’s choose to support you?

I offer assets and tutorials which help them create their current comic or animated projects.

How do you keep your Patreon’s engaged so they keep supporting you?

I try to interact as much as possible. I always end each month with a preview of what is coming up next month.

What 3 tips would you give to other Patreon creators?

1. Make it about the patrons.

2. If what you are doing is not attracting an audience, cut your losses and focus on something that will

3. Put a call-to-action on anything you share freely. It doesn’t have to be big, or long, just enough to bring awareness to your patreon page, like a logo and link.

Interview with: Emily Hare

Patreon page: www.patreon.com/artbyemilyhare
# currently: 141

How do you promote your Patreon page?

When I started I made sure that ALL my social media pointed to patreon, so all the places I could add a website, it was patreon that I put in over and above my own website. I now promote by talking about my patrons when I post art. It’s particularly good when I can post about the rewards I send out as this seems to get the most results (if I have spaces to fill in those commission tiers especially). I also talk a lot about the discount codes which m y patrons get (which nobody else gets). Facebook and instagram are the best places for me with twitter third. Kickstarter has garnered a few patrons but not many compared to social media.

What has been the most successful promotional tool you’ve used to get new Patreons?

For me it has to have been doing the pledge drive in March this year. I got a run of enamel pins made which I sent to ALL my patrons I had up to the end of 2017 (which at that time was around 100 patrons), then anyone joining in 2018 at $5 and up would also get one. That was up till the end of March and then from then on the pin is only available from the $10 and up tiers until they run out.

Why do you think your Patreon’s choose to support you?

I asked them using a questionnaire and most said that my art reminded them of old fairytale illustrations, or that they’d seen me on 1FW one time, or had followed me on instagram and wanted to support or gain some of the benefits of being a member. It’s varied, but it seems to be mostly the funny creatures that get the best reactions! I have also had comments that  my enthusiasm and positivity were very appealing, which was nice!

How do you keep your Patreon’s engaged so they keep supporting you?

I try to engage my patrons by asking their opinions on what i’m working on and they provide so much inspiration for my creatures and so there is a rather fun creative process that has developed between me and them. I often ask for them to help me name a creature that I’ve made or think up names of creatures for me to then draw. I also have set up ‘Milestone Rewards’ which means that once a patron has been with me for a certain amount of time (and hits a certain amount they’ve paid in their lifetime supporting me), they get a special gift of an original painting. I give out this reward at a lifetime patronage of $350 and $1000 (the latter has not been reached yet but will be soon!).

What 3 tips would you give to other Patreon creators?

1.Don’t create for your patrons, create what you ADORE and people will be attracted to that.

2. Ask them their opinion and engage them in your creative process (if you want to, I know some would hate that), give surprise gifts and remember to let them know how grateful you are.

3. Create a sense of family. You are making a membership to your secret behind the scenes world, make it feel special!

Interview with: Michael Harren

Patreon page: patreon.com/michaelharren
# currently: 129

How do you promote your Patreon page?
Social media, on my podcast, at shows and events
What has been the most successful promotional tool you’ve used to get new Patreons?

Special offers, limited time things. Best one I did was offering Patron’s names to be printed in my book.

Why do you think your Patreon’s choose to support you?

My work is activist related, so people who are into animal rights and veganism support my art because they believe in the message.

How do you keep your Patreon’s engaged so they keep supporting you?

Bonus podcasts, sharing works in progress. Asking for their feedback on my work. I post on patreon regularly about what I am working on and how their support makes it possible.

What 3 tips would you give to other Patreon creators?

1. Be patient. Patreon growth is slow and steady.

2. Communicate with your patrons as much as possible.

3. Don’t give up!

Interview with: Iris Compiet

Patreon page: patreon.com/iriscompiet
# currently: 207

How do you promote your Patreon page?

I have special bookmarks and business cards that direct people to my patreon page, this is aside from my website the only info given on these cards. I link to my patreon in all my emails as a ‘signature’, it’s in my newsletter, on my websites and send out reminders every so often on my social media pages. Usually, when I share a new sketch I’m doing for a patron reward tier. However I don’t overdo it, the links are there and easy to find but I don’t like to constantly remind people of it being there. Whenever I do post snippets on social media I always mention that I have a patreon page and I share my process there more in-depth.

What has been the most successful promotional tool you’ve used to get new Patreons?

I can’t really say to be honest, Instagram has the most reach I think, with over 53K followers there but my own Kickstarter not too long ago, which had about 1800 backers in total and did get the attention of people such as Guilermo del Toro and Tony DiTerlizzi I think that might be a big thing. I run a giveaway now and then on Instagram. The most effective tool is just to keep posting content that’s high in quality or what people seem to like. I immediately see a difference in my social media stats when I’ve not been active as much. Patreon is also the only place where people can get their hands on an affordable piece of art every month by me and the only place where they’ll get more in-depth info on my process and a look in my personal life as an artist.

Why do you think your Patreon’s choose to support you?

I hope they like what I do and I’ve heard people say they just enjoy seeing what I do. To be part of the ‘family’ as I call them, they are the friends of the Faeries, part of the clan. I think people like to see what I do, lift the veil a bit, be part of the ‘magic’ and Patreon is just the place to do this. It’s small and intimate enough and they feel part of it, because I try and let them know as often as I can that I appreciate their support. We’re doing this together!

How do you keep your Patreon’s engaged so they keep supporting you?

I hope to continue to give them glimpses of what’s going on, engage them in my life as an artist and give them exclusive looks. Not just from what’s on my drawing table but also what I’m doing, which museum I’m going to, which artists I enjoy, the music I listen to. I try and engage with them as best as I can. They are my friends, they make it possible for me to pursue what I do. I’m going to restructure my page a little next year, I’ve been running the page for over a year now and I’ve figured out what works for me and what doesn’t. I like to engage with my patrons, ask them what they want and need from me. I tried using Dischord but it’s too much to keep up with and I fail to do so. I’d like to keep everything on my Patreon page, just wish Patreon would set up a space better suited for that. But with the restructuring, I will try and find more ways to engage with people, have secret shops and clubs they can be part of.

What 3 tips would you give to other Patreon creators?

Be sure you can keep up with what you promised to deliver every month. Keep it simple at first, be open and honest. Ask yourself what would ‘you’ want in exchange of your patronage. Give yourself some time to get into the swing of things. People will back out, it doesn’t have anything to say about your art or who you are as a person/artist. Don’t promise to make a video every month when you’re not sure if you can. Keep your rewards realistic (I should’ve given myself that advice) and keep it fun. But also be willing to change things if it isn’t working, just don’t give up! I’m not sure if these are three tips, they are things I wish someone had told me when I first started the page. It can be scary to jump in there, and it only really works if you have a bit of a following on Social Media as well because Patreon doesn’t really have a ‘search’ option when you want to see what’s out there to support, you have to know who you’re looking for. But stick with it, create interesting content, that’s different to your social media outlets, give people something extra, a bit of knowledge, talk with them, inspire and take them serious

Top tips for Patreon

You might also be interested in checking out my other blogs on building a brand and growing an audience:

I hope you’ve found these interviews as useful as I did reading them. It’d be great to hear your thoughts or own personal experiences with Patreon in the comments box below.

If you’ve found this helpful, I’d really appreciate if you’d take a minute to follow me on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. I share all my advice and tips for free but if you’d like to support me you can do so via Ko-fi or Patreon.

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