Best Patreon Rewards for Podcasters
If you’re curious about the best way for small to midsize podcasters to monetize their shows, crowdfunding platforms like Patreon are a fantastic solution. These platforms give your listeners an opportunity to financially support your podcast, taking some of the burdens off of you, so you can focus on making great podcast episodes.
A central part of running a successful Patreon page (or any other crowdfunded page for that matter) is setting up enticing reward tiers. What should you offer as a “thank you” at each tier to reward those who decide to support your podcast?
Here are five great reward options for podcasters that don’t require a ton of extra work to put together:
1. Bonus content
If there’s one thing passionate fans like more than your regular podcast, it’s getting even more of it! It’s the same reason people purchase the “Director’s Cut” version of their favorite movie or spend an extra $3 to get more behind the scenes footage. When you like something, you don’t mind paying a little extra to gain access to things the common man can’t get.
Bonus content is one way to scratch that itch for your listeners. You can create unique “bonus” episodes that are only available to your Patreon supporters, take them behind the scenes to show them aspects of the podcast they can’t get in your normal episodes, or send them portions of the show that were left on the “cutting room floor.”
Maybe you want to start making videos as an extension of your podcast. What better place to start than serving your most passionate fans and giving them first dibs?
2. Podcast Shoutouts
“I want to give a special thanks to Mark for supporting this podcast on Patreon.”
Everyone enjoys feeling appreciated. It’s nice when you do someone you know a favor, and they reciprocate by acknowledging that you helped them and that it made a difference. When you give your supporters a shoutout on your podcast, it signals to them that you appreciate the support they’re giving to you and validate that it was meaningful.
You could also leave a running list of your supporters' names in the episode or show description for your podcast. This works similarly to the end credits of a movie where you get to see everyone that helped make the film possible.
Regardless of how you go about it, giving the listeners that donate towards your podcast a shoutout doesn’t take a lot of work on your end but leaves a significant impression on them.
3. Exclusive access to you
What if you could jump on a live chat with your idol or favorite celebrity? What if that celebrity answered your questions and interacted with you in a personal way? Would you be willing to part with a couple of dollars to have that experience?
For your devoted podcast listeners, you are a central part of their lives. They see you as a celebrity podcaster, someone well-known and well-liked, and any interaction they have with you is special.
For those people, jumping on an exclusive live video chat or doing a Q&A podcast episode featuring questions from your Patreon supporters is an easy way to engage in that personal touch.
4. Merchandise and Digital Products
Typically when you think of custom t-shirts, you think about rock bands going on tour around the country. But merchandise isn’t just a rock band thing. You can do it for your podcast Patreon page as well!
Put an inside joke that only fans of your podcast will recognize on a t-shirt. Make stickers and coffee mugs with your podcast’s logo on it. Make phone cases, hats, hoodies, and anything else you think would be fun. Your fans will love wearing your podcast swag and letting their friends know all about their favorite podcast.
To offer merchandise as a reward without turning your garage into a warehouse, you’ll want to utilize a print-on-demand service. These services are designed to make new items as people order them, so you don’t have to order 500 t-shirts when you only need 5. Just ask your supporters to include their t-shirt size (or whatever other information you need from them) as well as a shipping address and then send it directly from the manufacturer to their front door.
Printful.com is a great print-on-demand website that will allow you to offer a wide range of products. They allow you to upload your artwork and print it on anything from t-shirts, to iPhone covers, to bathing suits. The sky is the limit!
5. Thank you cards
When’s the last time you received a card in the mail? Perhaps you splurged and bought a $200 item on your friend’s wedding registry, and they sent you a thank you card to let you know how much they appreciated it.
Handwritten thank you cards are a really cool (and pretty cheap) way of connecting with your listeners and letting them know how much you appreciate your support.
On my personal Patreon page, I’ve offered bonus episodes, videos, online courses and more. To my surprise, the reward that I’ve gotten the most positive feedback about was the thank you cards I sent out at the beginning of the year. People liked it even more than the $150 online course I gave them! Don’t underestimate the power of getting a card in the mail.
If you’re not a graphic designer and want to create something a little more professional I recommend using a website like Vistaprint. They have templates you can customize and offer a wide array of printing options, so you know that your cards will look fantastic!
One final note about using Patreon…
Whatever you decide to offer as a reward or perk for your Patreon supporters, make sure it doesn’t hinder you from continuing to make a great podcast. Most of your Patrons simply want to say “thank you” for your podcast and aren’t expecting to necessarily “get their money’s worth” with your rewards.
If you don’t bite off more than you can chew, Patreon is a great option for small and midsize podcasters to make some money from their podcast and reward their most passionate listeners at the same time.