How to promote your patronage platform, boost your monthly music revenue
Patronage remains one of the best ways for artists to generate consistent and significant revenue from their fans. Here we look at how to most effectively promote your patronage platform through the creation of exclusive content.
Guest post by Randy Chertkow and Jason Feehan of the Disc Makers Blog
The key to promoting your patronage page — and generating recurring subscription fees each month — hinges on producing exclusive content for your fans … and following these proven techniques.
As we discussed in “Subscription revenue and patronage can build your music career” and “8 steps to making money with Patreon,” rather than try to make ends meet solely through variable revenue streams (playing live, merch sales, streaming royalties), musicians can generate steady, reliable revenue through patronage.
In this article, we’ll share techniques to help you promote your patronage page, boost the number of supporters you have, and maximize your patronage revenue.
Your release schedule
One of the most important strategies you can employ to make money with music is to create a release schedule. We explain this in detail in our book, Making Money With Music, but in short, by releasing a stream of music and non-music content consistently through the year, you generate an authentic way to promote yourself and your music.
Your release schedule is powered by the entertaining content you create, and if you add patronage to the equation, you can effectively layer your patronage release schedule on top of it and get more mileage from (roughly) the same output. Having a secondary release schedule just for your patrons is critical, since each free release allows you to add a secondary, exclusive release for your paying supporters. Plus, by having this exclusive, complementary content, you’ll entice people already enjoying your free releases to pay to get your additional offerings.
The importance of content
That’s why the heart of promoting your Patreon isn’t actually marketing — it’s about consistently producing premium content your fans want. After all, your biggest fans need to get something for giving you $5, $10, or $20-plus dollars each month! While marketing helps raise awareness of your page, it’s only by releasing music and non-music entertainment (updates, behind-the-scenes access, photos, etc.) that will make people open their wallets and pay you monthly. If you’re already creating music and related entertainment for your fans, you have what you need to successfully promote your Patreon profile and grow your revenue.
So, the first step is to design the special, exclusive content you will regularly release in conjunction with your main release schedule. Of course, this content should be tied to the reward and benefit tiers you create, as discussed in “Choosing the right rewards for patronage and crowdfunding campaigns.” This means you’ll need to create a second calendar of exclusive releases just for your patrons. These releases can be small, such as behind-the-scenes pictures of you creating that music or art, or it could be a remix, extended version, or EP release.
Promoting your patronage platform
Beyond creating exclusive content for your paying fans and planning out a patron release schedule, these five promotion techniques can boost patron membership and the amount of money you earn every month.
1. Add Patreon imagery to all your profiles
Successful Patreon artists include the Patreon logo and link within their imagery, banners, avatars, and social media profile images. Doing so reminds your fans where and how to support you by donating to you monthly. Patreon provides images and other widgets you can use to help promote your patronage platform.
2. Layer Patreon into your website
Include a link to your patronage platform on your website in strategic areas of your site. Find places where you can include pictures, audio samples, or video clips of what you offer.
Platforms like WordPress allow you to use a Patreon plug-in that locks up some of your pages, essentially creating a “Patron-only” section of your website. When non-patrons click the link to see your content, they’re greeted with a notice to become a paying patron to unlock the page. This feature is similar to the paywalls online magazines and newspapers use. This is where you can host the exclusive content your fans would be willing to pay to access. Note that you can create multiple “Patron-Only” pages of content depending on which level of support users choose.
3. Promote your patronage platform through social media
Promote your Patreon page everywhere. All your social media profiles should include a link to your Patreon page so anyone can check it out, see the rewards you offer, and support you. Nearly every post and communication you make to your fans should have a call to action, promoting a specific action you want your fans to take. Even casual social media communications should remind fans about supporting you on Patreon.
If you’ve created good rewards, some of your posts and updates can include mentions of what you offer without you sounding like a salesman. For example, if you’re promoting an online show, mention that patrons get the recording from the show and provide a link to become a patron. If you are posting about a studio session where you’re making new music, mention you’re providing source tracks as a reward.
4. Add a Patreon post-roll on your videos and video descriptions
If you create videos, use the post-roll after the core content to plug your Patreon page. Talk about the benefits fans will receive if they become patrons and link to your patronage platform from the video. Fans do like supporting their creators, so emphasize the rewards and benefits they can get if they become a patron and support you. Be sure to include a link to your Patreon page in the video description as well.
5. Add Patreon to your marketing and promotion campaigns
Whenever you launch a promotion campaign, plug your Patreon page and mention the key rewards you’re offering. You should do this for all four types of media which we’ve talked about in previous articles — your owned media (any sites or outlets you control), shared media (including social media), paid media (ads), or earned media (getting covered by the press/media). For a refresher, read “Tailor your music marketing campaigns for different types of media” and “Tailor your music marketing campaigns for paid and earned media.”
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Good luck in your patronage endeavors. Read the other posts in this series to learn more!
Subscription revenue and patronage can build your music career
8 steps to making money with Patreon
Authors of the critically-acclaimed modern classic, The Indie Band Survival Guide, Billboard Magazine called Randy Chertkow and Jason Feehan “the ideal mentors for aspiring indie musicians who want to navigate an ever-changing music industry.” Their latest book, Making Money With Music (Macmillan) and free Making Money With Music Newsletter, help all musicians — from startups to pros — build a sustainable music business so you can make money in today’s tech-driven music environment.