Using Youtube to drive Patreon support

So it’s the 5th month running a Patreon account (I paused for one of those months due to other commitments). I’ve recently gotten the word out on some blogs which have a wider reach than my own social media network, and this landing page for all things I do. The content is good quality, and something that seems to have relevance to an audience base of illustrators and 3d artists interested in Non-Photoreal Rendering or NPR (the technical name for toon-shading).

The reaction has been positive. I get a lot of support from other artists from the sidelines, and on the whole, that’s great. But how does this transform into actual patrons who are willing to put their money down and support me so I can continue to create more of this kind of content? Let’s look at some numbers:

It took only 24 hours for the above video to reach 800 views – mainly due to having posted about the Patreon page on Blendernation, and having it shared several times across social media. I received a handful of likes across various social media platforms where it has been posted. I also received a few comments which are positive.

In that time, however, I netted a total of only ONE new patron. Granted, that person has pledged $5 a month, giving him access to all the content I make available, so this was no token pledge, here. But think about this: the effort in creating content, and creating marketing media to promote that content, has translated into a views-to-sale ratio of 800:1 in a 24 hour period.

That’s… not so great… but understandable. In this era of short attention spans, and quick-fire marketing, the attention falls off pretty quick after the initial post – since then, the view count has not even doubled. That first period is how we measure whether the message has hit the right audience and they’ve responded. You can’t wait-and-see, because you’ll be forgotten in the subsequent hours because there’s the next thing to distract people. And then the next thing.

So the second thing I set up over the past five months is a new youtube channel. This has been used for multiple purposes – hosting the Patreon content privately, but also hosting some free content useful to the greater communities of illustrators and Blender users. It took a little while, but with the help of revamping a couple of old videos, I managed to gather the necessary 10,000 views to be elligible to run advertising on my videos this generates income through a service called AdSense.

On top of running ads, I also put in a word about my patreon account, so that people are reminded there is more content that a small monthly donation unlocks. I recently produced a “quick tip” which also came with a downloadable file, but to access it, the viewer had to visit the patreon page and download it via a free post.

This tip was also shared via Blendernation, and while the promo video had nearly doubled in views since its initial 24 hours, this video has only received a little over 150 views. However, I’ve since gotten three more patreon supporters. I put this down to a couple of factors:

  • Repetition of the message
  • Driving traffic to the relevant site

I’m now producing a “free tip” video with any relevant downloads each month which will continue to do this, as regular posting to relevant places is also key. It sounds simple enough, but time will tell if I see growth continue in early 2018.

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