One of the big game changes for creators over the last few years has undoubtedly been the rise of Patreon. While the idea of a tip jar to support projects online has been around for a long time, as have monthly content subscription services (such as Columbia House’s record subscription service in the seventies and eighties), it was Patreon that managed to establish an easy-to-use one-stop ship for creators and their communities.
I’m part of both sides of the Patreon equation; on one side there’s the Patreon that supports ESC Insight and its podcasts and coverage of the Eurovision Song Contest, on the other side I personally support a number websites, projects, and creatives. How I support the later has certainly had an impact on how I organise the former. So I though it worth noting down how I act as a supporter on Patreon.
My subscriptions are all on the per month basis. Truth be told I’ve only seen a handful of creators use the ‘per item’ subscription. I like the regularity, and while the per item subscriptions do have a monthly limit I prefer the commitment, on both sides, that per month offers.
In terms of content on Patreon as tier rewards, I’m actually not as focused on what is offered as I thought I would be. Almost all of the creators I support post the vast majority of content elsewhere/ These are a mix of podcasts, YouTube channels, and community tools for Elite Dangerous. The two exceptions of notes are for an author who posts chapters and short stories three months or so ahead of general release; and for a printed quarterly magazine where the Patreon project is all about supporting the ‘zine.
One of the things I find it hard to do is completely stop supporting someone. I’m supporting quite a few creators at the ‘$1 tier’. For some that’s because I wanted to downgrade from their higher priced tiers, for others it was because they changed the focus of their content from why I originally signed up but I wanted to continue supporting them personally.
What I do like is the personal touch. Of course any good creator is going to put part of themselves into all of the content they put out – that’s what attracts me in the first place – but Patreon offers a more personal connection. It doesn’t need much, but when it’s there it is welcome.
It’s a pretty simple offer. Make me want to support you, make it affordable, and make it personal.