Monetization

What Is Patreon – And How Does It Help Creators Make Money?

what is patreon how it works make money pay paid creators content

Ever wondered what Patreon is, and whether you can actually make money on it as a content creator?

An easy-to-use membership platform, Patreon allows creators to generate a consistent income by putting exclusive content behind a paywall. Creators can choose to offer monthly or yearly subscriptions, charge per-creation fees, or accept fan donations to monetize their content.

If you are looking to share premium content with a more focused audience beyond your social media channels, Patreon could be a useful platform for you. Read on to learn more about what Patreon is, how it works, and how you can start getting paid on it.

What is Patreon?

Patreon is a membership platform that allows creators to offer exclusive, subscription-based access to their content. It was launched in 2013, and as of late 2022, the platform hosted over 8 million active subscribers

On Patreon, people who subscribe to your content are called “patrons.” As suggested by the name, it is inspired by the concept of being a patron of arts and culture. In the olden days, patrons commonly sponsored artists’ and intellectuals’ livelihoods by donating money, so that they could focus on what they do best. Patreon is pretty much a modern-day version of the same concept. It has emerged as a popular platform for a range of creators, including educators, artists, and podcasters.

Some of the most popular content types shared on Patreon include:

  • Video (38% of creators)
  • Writing (17%)
  • Audio (14%)
  • Visual arts (11%)

Why use Patreon?

Wondering how Patreon can add value to your creator business? Here’s how the platform can help you offer more to your dedicated audience, while earning money from doing so:

Gated content = higher quality content that helps you get paid

Patreon helps you easily put your content behind a paywall. That means the more effort you put into creating top-notch content, the more likely you’ll be able to generate income from it.

It gives your most loyal followers access to you and your content

As a creator, you may not always have the time to respond to all of your followers’ comments on social media. On Patreon, however, you can make yourself more accessible to your audience who are subscribed to more premium tiers.

Let’s say you run a podcast. Your Patreon page can not only feature bonus episodes, but it can also serve as an excellent place for deeper discussions with your most loyal listeners.

How to set up your Patreon page

Getting started on Patreon is pretty straightforward. First, sign up for an account on Patreon. If you’ve been supporting other content creators on the platform, then you already have an account.

You’ll be instructed to follow a few simple steps to complete the sign-up process. For example, selecting your content categories, your currency, whether you want a custom URL, and so on.

Once you’ve completed the initial set-up, it’s time to customize your page. Give it a name and describe what your page offers in the About section. Upload an eye-grabbing cover image. Select your membership tiers. If you wish to, you can also hide your earnings and patron count from your page. 

Now, you’re ready to officially launch your Patreon. You can start creating and sharing content you’re passionate about on the platform. Patreon will only take a percentage of your membership payments once you start making money, and that percentage depends on the subscription level you choose

How much money can you make on Patreon?

As a creator, running a subscription on Patreon can potentially help you build an extra recurring income stream. That said, how much you can make on the platform will depend on several factors:

  • The kind of content you create
  • The perks you offer
  • Your membership fees
  • Your audience size
  • Your marketing efforts

To help you get a rough idea, let’s say there are 100,000 people that are exposed to your Patreon profile, of which 15% visit your Patreon. Let’s assume that around 1-5% of those visitors choose to subscribe to your page. Now, if your monthly membership fee is $6, your estimated earnings can be anywhere between $900 to over $4,000 a month.

Calculations:

(100,000 followers x 15%) x 1% x $6 = $900 per month

(100,000 followers x 15%) x 5% x $6 = $4,500 per month

Worth noting, to start making money on Patreon, you need to have a decent amount of followers on other social media platforms. It’s estimated that 15% of a creator’s following will click through to Patreon from their public, non-subscription-based content. Whether you’re active on TikTok, Instagram, or YouTube, you should always direct your followers to your Patreon for more exclusive content.

4 Tips for maximizing your Patreon earnings

Capture attention with a compelling profile

Besides uploading visually engaging images, you can include a high-quality intro video on your profile to share benefits that you’ll offer to your patrons, and to encourage people to subscribe to your page.

Promote on social media

Share your Patreon page across your social media channels, so that your followers know where they can find extra content from you. You should also make sure that your social media feed reflects the quality of your paid content. After all, your audience needs to feel inspired to pay for exclusive content. 

Use a tiered pricing structure

Strategically set up multiple membership tiers and offer special perks to encourage your followers to subscribe to higher-priced tiers.

Engage with your patrons

Building trust and rapport with your audience will increase your chances of making money from membership subscriptions. You can, for example, interact with patrons by sending them messages.

Start getting paid

Your patrons are your true cheerleaders. By offering premium, exclusive content to your most devoted group of audience on Patreon, you can potentially unlock a new income stream.

Follow The Leap on TikTok and Instagram for more monetization tips for creators. We also make a newsletter.

Kinzal Jalan
About the author

Kinzal Jalan

Kinzal Jalan is a freelance B2B writer specializing in researched content assets for brand building, thought-leadership, and SEO. She's worked with 60+ brands, including the likes of Boston Consulting Group, Elsevier, and Noom.
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