Hot Seat Critique — Patreon Edition, Part 2
This is the first in a series of critiques that focuses on the creator’s Patreon outreach. Our goal is to try to workshop some best practices and strategies that work. I’m going to open the discussion with my opinions. Then members are welcomed to join in the conversation.
Russell Brooks / Experience Boost
This Patreon page is put together pretty thoughtfully. Here’s a few things I think make it work well:
- The body text is short, concise and friendly. It places a sample strip up high — and it’s a very good strip that’s liable to appeal to a wide range of readers.
- Attractive header.
- There’s a text link to the comic and the sample strip links to the comic.
- The Goal offers something — a monthly bonus comic — that all members, new and old, can enjoy.
- There’s something of value offered at each pledge level — with higher-value items falling into higher pledge levels.
- The Rewards are written in a prioritized list so I can tell what’s in it for me.
There are two areas I’d like to see strengthened.
- Video — I’d like to see a video of you talking about your work. Never underestimate the personal touch.
- The $10 reward — the reward for the highest pledge — is a one-time reward. And it’s something that should be used to reward your Kickstarter supporters — not your Patreon backers. I’m worried that you may not be able to retain $10 supporters month after month without rewarding them monthly as well. In fact, all of the rewards seem a bit anemic.
In fact, if there’s one thing I’d like to see improved here, it’s the rewards. It’s currently a three-step tier:
$1 — wallpapers
$5 — Patreon feed / behind-the-scenes materials
$10 — PDF of Book One (when it’s created)
All levels get the bonus comic after the campaign reaches $150.
I don’t have much incentive to climb the ladder from $5 to $10. And, truthfully, the $5 reward is a little lackluster as well. (In fact, it has zero backers, which should tell you something).
So, let’s brainstorm a few rewards. First of all, I think the monthly bonus comic should be a $10 reward. And I think the comic on the site should promote it. For example, at the end of the last strip of the month, there’s a banner underneath that says: “WHAT HAPPENS NEXT? OUR PATREON BACKERS KNOW!” And I’d like that to the Patreon page. Use the blog to explain the situation. After you’ve done a few months of bonus comics, you can post some of the old ones on your main site as an example of what these bonus comics are like.
That only kinda screws up your Goal. I’d make a $150 Goal a second bonus comic.
But let’s not stop there. There are some golden-opportunity goals that you’re not touching. This comic aims at an MMO gamer group. Is there a game that you could arrange to play exclusively with your $10 backers? Is there a private guild that a $10 Patreon pledge would give one access to? Is this as simple as setting up a Google Hangout once a month for all of your $10 backers to jump onto while you all play your own MMO games independently?
Many of us webcartoonists have a tremendous treasure that we undervalue — our archive. Russell’s goes back to 2013. That’s enough to support a monthly 20-page PDF of archive material for a few months (one comic per page). Also consider repackaging the archives by theme. By the time you run out of archive, you will have had plenty of time to think of a replacement reward that your backers will appreciate just as much.
Look at Scott Kurtz’s Table Titans outreach. I’m thinking specifically about his DM screens and Table-titans-specific D&D crusades. Can you think of something similar you could offer? Remember: This needs to be something you can deliver digitally. For example, it could be a PDF they print out and use at home. I have almost zero personal experience with MMOs, but I have to think there’s something you could do on a monthly basis — some kind of download — that would excite your readers.
Keep in mind, any rewards you add have to be things you can do consistently month after month — and deliver digitally. But determining what you’re able to commit to — and properly gauging their values to your readers — could really help beef up that Rewards tier.