(Pocket-lint) - YouTubers, TikTokkers, podcasters, verified Twitter users, Twitch streamers, and other content creators have one thing in common: Many of them use Patreon to supplement their income. In this guide, we explain how Patreon works and why you should use it to support your favourite internet celebrity.

What is Patreon?

Patreon is basically a crowdfunding site for content creators. But it describes itself as a "membership platform that makes it easy for creators to get paid".

Online personalities as well as traditional creators such as musicians and writers have been flocking Patreon as a quick and easy way to let their fans, or patrons, pay them. Patrons are essentially Patreon subscribers, as they send a set amount every month to their favourite creators through Patreon. Creators can offer their patrons different tiers of access for different monthly prices, too, again all through the Patreon platform.

We've all heard about the starving artist whose paintings, sheets of music, and sculptures have gone for millions only after they've died. That's a thing of the past. The web has given many creators not only a platform to share their work, but also a way to crowdfund revenue. For example, they can charge $5 a month through Patreon, and if you pay, you'll become a patron and will get early access to their content and works.

Patreon was co-founded in 2013 by Sam Yam and Jack Cont. It's based in San Francisco and has about three million active users.

How does Patreon work?

You can access Patreon on the web or from its mobile apps.

Creators

    Are you an online content creator or an artist looking for supplemental income?

    Patreon can help you generate revenue for some of your creations, whether it's a podcast, video, song, webcomic, or whatever. Your fans, or patrons, can pay as little as a few dollars/pounds per month or per post for access to your work. You will get paid every month, or every time you release something new. You can even manage rewards for each tier, especially if there are higher rewards that involve meeting patrons or custom work.

    The number of people currently supporting you is always visible on your page to other patrons of the Patreon platform. Also, the primary way that you communicate with your supporters is via the feed on their page. You can post text, images, videos, and polls. Patreon also lets you block off certain posts to specific tiers. For instance, you can make it so only new posts are shown to those contributing at least $1.

    Patreon has custom RSS feed support, too, plus integration with Discord.

    Patrons

    We likely heard your favorite internet celebrity recently mention Patreon. Well, Patreon is a way for you to pay them for the content they create.

    Through Patreon, you can now pay creators (also called Patreon members) per month or per post. For example, you could pay $5 a month through Patreon to get special access to a YouTuber's videos, which are private to everyone else, or you could give them $1 for every new video they post. Either way, if you become a Patreon patron and choose to support a creator, then Patreon said you're a "bonafide, real-life patron of the arts".

    Think of it this way: In exchange for supporting creators, you can receive certain perks, access to exclusive uploads or new work, ad-free content, and more.

    How much does Patreon cost?

    Patreon creators typically display monetary goals on their page.

    Membership tiers

    Patreon creators can offer multiple tiers for their patrons to join, with each tier corresponding to a specific monetary amount. These tiers can range anywhere from $1 to $100 a month. The more a patron contributes, the more perks they receive. Some of the highest tier rewards usually include the ability to directly communicate with the creator, though those tiers may have a maximum number of “slots” that can be filled.

    Pay what you want

    There's also the "pay-what-you-want" option if you don't want to be a monthly subscriber of a Patreon creator. For example, if you love a YouTuber and decide to pay them $1 per new video upload, and that creator releases four videos through Patreon this month, you will be charged $4 for the month.

    How to become a Patreon creator

    First, to see if Patreon is right for you and whether you should ask others for support, check to see if one of these fields apply to you:

    • Podcasters
    • Video Creators
    • Musicians
    • Visual Artists
    • Communities
    • Writers anmd Journalists
    • Gaming Creators
    • Nonprofits
    • Tutorials and Education
    • Creators-of-all-kinds

    Next, actually sign up for Patreon! It's free.

    1. Go to Patreon's sign up page.
    2. Add your information or sign up through a third party like Facebook.
    3. Set your creator details, like the name of your page and what you are creating.
    4. Follow the on-screen steps to complete your Patreon creator account.

    How to become a Patreon patron

    • Go here to learn more about supporting creators.

    If you want to support a creator, visit their Patreon page and select one of their tiers. The tier you choose will unlock certain benefits offered only in that tier. The tier price is the minimum payment option to unlock that tier. If your creator doesn’t have tiers, simply click the Become a Patron button on their page.

    First-time patrons will need to add their payment method and confirm their details to become an official patron of a Patreon creator. On the confirmation page, you can review your payment details, set the amount or monthly limit, and confirm.

    Patreon examples

    Still confused about how or why you'd use Patreon? Here is a simple example: Molly Burke (below) is a YouTuber who is blind. She creates videos to educate others and to bring awareness. She sometimes offers exclusive access to her personal life if you support her through Patreon. For instance, in 2020, she started dating someone new and introduced him first to patrons. Non-paying YouTube viewers must wait to meet her new beau.

    Want to know more?

    Check out Patreon's support hub to learn more about Patreon memberships, taxes, fees, FAQ tiers, etc.

    Writing by Maggie Tillman.