How To Make Money Using Patreon

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(By Dave Jackson) When Patreon first came out, I, like many other people, wasn’t sure if it would work for my audience. Patreon is an ongoing funding campaign for your show that your audience can sign up at different levels and get different rewards that you create (with the most popular reward being bonus/additional content). 


I do many shows about podcasting. One show I do is a live call-in show on Saturday mornings called Ask the Podcast Coach (askthepodcastcoach.com) that I do with Jim Collison from theaverageguy.tv. It was started because I wanted to play with different live streaming technologies. It wasn’t supposed to last. That was over two years ago and every Saturday I have a solid chat room of people and we all geek out about podcasting and talk about some of the questions that surfaced in Facebook groups. Know up front that creating a live show is more work, and requires a different skill-set, than recording a “traditional” podcast. 

In the same way that the only way to tell if a recipe will be delicious is to make it, I decided to try a Patreon campaign. The show would go an extra half hour and put it behind Patreon. The very first thing I had to do was have a meeting with Jim to talk about how we would divide up the money. You want to have this discussion before there is any money to argue over. 

Currently, we do the show via YouTube live (Previously Google Hangouts On Air). I record the audio via a Sound Devices Mix Pre-6. At the end of the “regular” show, we do a proper ending, wait five seconds, and continue on with the “post show.” 

I previously mentioned different levels of reward. For $1 a month you get access to all the Ask the Podcast Coach bonus content. For $5 a month you get access to extra videos I make. I have different goals. If I make $300 a month, I do a live question-and-answer session for Patrons only. My highest level of Patronage is a discounted version of one-on-one coaching. There is only one spot, and it has been sold out for months. 

When the show is over I got to YouTube and download the full video to my computer. While I’m online, I then edit the video using built-in YouTube editing tools, cut out the post-show (as that is for Patrons), and save my changes in YouTube. 

I take the full video that I downloaded, and using Camtasia, create a video featuring just the post-show. I upload this to YouTube as an “unlisted” video. This is security by obscurity. If one of my Patrons wanted to share this they could. 

I also take the audio of the post-show and upload it directly to Patreon as Patreon can supply an RSS feed to your content. Each Patron gets their own RSS feed. If they stop being a Patron, their RSS feed no longer works and they no longer have access to the content. (If they downloaded the content it is theirs forever). Also, when they go to my Patreon site (www.patreon.com/davejackson) they can download the audio file there once they log in. This makes some people nervous as once a file is downloadable it can easily be shared. Keep in mind, these are your patrons — your supporters — your fans. They understand giving away your premium content hurts you. Yes, there is always that one person who will share it. You have to realize this is the digital age. The bottom line is if they can hear it, they can steal it. 

I’ve had my Patreon account for three years now and I use it to make a car payment. It was never meant to replace my full-time income. 

Dave Jackson is a Hall of Fame podcaster and consultant. He started the School of Podcasting in 2005 and has helped more podcasters with their podcast than any other human on the planet. Find him at www.schoolofpodcasting.com 

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