Explain Patreon to me like I am 5 years old
August 3, 2015 3:39 PM   Subscribe

I have at least one, possibly more, blogs I would like to monetize. I don't really want to use AdSense on certain specific ones. Please hook me up with articles and anecdotes and what not. Give me the 101 of Patreon here. I am looking at it as a possible next step.

So, after years of having failed websites and blah blah blah, I now have a re-envisioned parenting site positioned as a memoir. A lot of thought went into that positioning and I feel it is going well. It is currently private and has two subscribers, both of whom are generous with feedback. I am currently updating once a week and only missed updating it once in the few weeks I have been doing this. That is a decent track record given my health problems and history. So I am starting to research how to monetize it.

I still am not sure how to make the transition from private to public or if I should keep it private and somehow get more subscribers or what. For now, I just want to work on better understanding this particular monetization avenue. I only mention its current status in case that is somehow relevant to what you might want to tell me.

I found this previous ask but it doesn't seem to have been well covered on AskMe. Please hook me up.

Thank you.
posted by Michele in California to Computers & Internet (3 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Patreon enables people who are established content/artwork/video/music/whatever creators to let their fans subscribe and fund their ongoing work. It seems to be a good platform for, say, an artist or musician or writer who wants to get paid to keep creating more work. Their fans can basically crowdfund their ongoing efforts (and those fans can stop subscribing if the person stops releasing music/artwork/performances/videos/the next chapter of their book/whatever). Paging through the Education category, it looks like some very specific education topics are doing pretty well (like this Zulu Empire history project).

Patreon doesn't seem like the place to go if you need to find an audience. It's more like if you have an established audience and said "Audience, do you love me enough to make sure I can keep doing what I'm doing? Then subscribe to me on Patreon."
posted by erst at 5:05 PM on August 3, 2015 [4 favorites]

Best answer: In order for Patreon to be potentially successful, you kind of have to already have some level of success. No one is going to pay you if they don't believe in your product (using product in the general sense). I see a lot of patron used by youtube creators as a way for supports to contribute. I don't see how it could work with a private blog, unless your family and friends are willing to support you. You first have to open it up, and see if anyone is actually interested in what you have to say first.

Also, I'm not sure once a week is enough. Most of the blogs or youtube creators I subscribe to post 2-3x a week, use social media a lot - people are going to be hesitant to invest in you on patron if you don't have a good flow of content.
posted by Aranquis at 5:29 PM on August 3, 2015

Response by poster: Okay, it appears I did a really poor job of framing that. I probably should not have given details about the specific site that primarily inspired the question. Having done that, it looks like I need to clarify a few things. So:

I have several websites and, historically, I have done substantially better from donations/tips than from ad money or other attempts to monetize. My websites are generally getting more traffic these days and making more money, though it still isn't a lot. So I am starting to look into Patreon, and have already done a bit of reading up on it, because it is starting to look like that might be a much better fit for me than other possible revenue streams. This is reasearch with an eye towards long term planning.

There are things happening that I can't currently comment on that could lead to a substantial uptick in traffic for my work generally -- or, you know, might not pan out at all. If it does pan out, I would like to be in a position to jump on the potential opportunity. I do realize that I need to be posting a minimum of twice a week and that more is better.

I apologize for writing the question so badly. So maybe think of this as a more general interest question about Patreon and try to ignore the details about that one site. Have you done a campaign? Any pointers you can give? Have you contributed to a campaign? What drew you in? Why did you choose to donate?

posted by Michele in California at 10:17 AM on August 4, 2015

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