Burnout and Listener Interest

How do you keep people interested in supporting seemingly endless content, whicle not making support rewards a second job?

Oooh, good question, @acedtect! I wonder if @dearestscooter might have anything to say about this.

Here are both of your Patreon pages, to make for a quick intro:
Drew: https://www.patreon.com/sleepwithme
Tom: https://www.patreon.com/dtns

Oh boy! Great question.

I think part of it is just riding the roller coaster just like with all the other stuff in putting out podcast after podcast.

But I’ve been asking myself this question a lot too.

I’m trying to find a way to make the Patreon push feel “fun” again but trying to factor in that the show is the “main” reward and not adding on anything that I am not able to follow through on.

Also I’ve been impressed with what Nataly Dawn and Peter Hollens have done with their recent “patron drives”…but trying to find a way that keeps the spirit of what they are doing but applies to a podcast that comes out three times a week. (or more in your case Tom)

So here’s what I was thinking so far

  • Had to be fun, ideally for the audience and me.

  • Could it generate a community buzz where people were excited to participate or talk about it?

  • Patron’s names permenatly attached (like the two albums)

  • Had to be somewhat goofy (or fit the feel of the audience)

  • Could it have a fuse? (become a Patron by Dec 31st to…)

  • Could not be a total time suck.

  • Wait was this supposed to be fun, make it fun.

  • Could it have a part of the making/planning that could be livestreamed or discussed/voted on?

To be honest I’m still percolating on ideas…but also I’m thinking this could be a test and adjust thing instead of one giant drive for more patrons. Let something we do every few months or once a year…


The three ideas I came up with (remember goofy was at top of list)

Find a way to broadcast Patrons’ names into Outer Space (this seemed to have some ethical problems and seemed like it could take some work)

Create a 24/7 internet audio stream that would play over and over again for a year just thanking the patrons by name. (still thinking on this…it seems a little boring but also fun)

Create a “2016 Year in the Podcast (or in general)” Timecapsule…

This seemed to fit all the things…not super cool but I’ve always wanted to make a time capsule and it seems like tons of points for discussion and then I can assemble it on camera. We can decide where to bury it or if I should keep it secret. I can get a printer to make a scroll with everyone’s name on it…

I’m going to pitch the idea to my Patron’s this Sunday so we shall see how it goes.

Maybe we could all work in parallel on an idea?

Who else wants to capture 2016? (not the best year to be caputred but the only year we have)
Or am I the only person that has longed to both create and one day discover the time capsule?

Hope that triggers something for you!

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@acedtect you raise an interesting question.

The number of patrons I have is smaller, but they’re a dedicated group. One patron has been with me since I began to use Patreon. He needed to scale back his pledge level because of a reduction in his income level. While he scaled back his pledge for me he cancelled it for almost every other podcast he supported.

My newest patron explained to me that he wants to support me at a higher level, but he doesn’t want any physical rewards. As he explained it, he likes me and what I’m doing. He doesn’t need a t-shirt or anything like that. He likes the personal touch and would rather I take the money and use it for me or for my show.

I think when it comes to my backers they’re delighted to know they’re doing a good thing for me. They don’t care so much about the rewards as they care about keeping my show on the air.

When I began to expand my rewards I made a focused effort to limit the number of physical rewards I offer and to be sure that they would be quick and easy for me to handle on an extended basis. In my mind the rewards are supposed to be a fun or cool way to entice someone to jump into supporting a creator on Patreon instead of supporting them through some other method. Perhaps I’m mistaken in that regard.

This is my long winded way of saying I restrict the options so that the rewards cannot get out of hand from the start. And, my patrons stay interested because they like me and what I am doing. I’ve made it clear to them that I cannot afford to keep my show on the air through my finances alone. They want to make sure I can continue to deliver the content they like, which means they need to “keep me between their gas and electric bill” to borrow a phrase from Mother Angelica.


I try to keep all of my lower level rewards something I’m doin’ anyway, basically the stuff my patrons are supporting me for in the first place. My first two are early access rewards. All I have to do is post my work. (I’m not a podcaster, but I think this still applies.)

My $5 reward is a once yearly reward. I actually thought this might be a reward that people jumped on for one month and then seein’ the content they would drop to a $1 or $2 reward. It was just to get them in the door for a sample and then just keep workin’ to get them to stay.

I did have a $10 and $15 reward, but they are both limited sketch commission slots so they come and go when I have time to do an additional reward to push for more patrons.

I have a limited to one $20 and $25 tier, both full all the time. This too is essentially what I would be doing already, but the two patrons get to choose what I am drawing/coloring. It’s just two more artworks per month. Both patrons have told me that if I can’t get to their requests to not worry about it, they are supporting me doing what I love. They both told me they aren’t in it for the rewards. As a matter of fact, my $25 patron is a close friend of mine and didn’t even read the rewards, she just saw that as my highest tier and pledged. She was ecstatic to find out she got something, but didn’t even realize it until I mentioned it.

That’s what you need to remember: If what you’re doin’ is interesting to you, people will become interested. True fans don’t want to derail you from your calling. They want to support you doing that.


So I certainly don’t feel I’m the most qualified to answer here, but outside of Patreon I would say that listener interest is quite transitional as a whole. New listeners are always (well hopefully always) coming in and others are losing interest or moving on.

In many cases it depends I believe on the audience of the show as a whole. Whereas a news show such as yours @acedtect is likely to keep them around much longer, a show that is aimed at helping or teaching people who are new to something and getting them going will most certainly lose them as a listener if they reach a certain point themselves in whatever you’ve been teaching them.

I seems in most cases with podcasting that listeners either resonate with the show host(s) and want to support them or they don’t. It almost feels like a culture that is built within a show and the audience. It is a hard thing to do I think, and while I have a growing podcast listenership and audience, I’ve yet to be able to figure out the magic sauce if you will of creating that type of culture as a whole. I hear consistently that people love and appreciate the show and in many cases how it has helped them even. Getting them to take a step further has proven to be the real task.

Patreon seems to allow the opportunity to really create with no strings attached to sponsors. That said, nothing is free. It seems we are either paying for the cost of producing the show financially, with our time, etc. or paying by producing rewards for supporters. The tension here between this is both frustrating and healthy I think. It forces me at least to consistently consider why I do the show and who I do it for.

All of that said, the key here may lie in steadily engaging new listeners to the show and getting them on board with pledging support rather than constantly feeling the pressure to up the stakes and offer more time sucking rewards.

FYI, your interview on the Smart Passive Income Podcast is why I decided to give Patreon a try. Thanks for all you do.

Hey acedtect. I know I am late to the party as this is an older post, but we have a great way of keeping our listeners engaged with one of our segments. We call it Word on the Tweet. Our twitter followers can submit topics, questions, or comments for the hosts to talk about with #WordOnTheTweet to be featured on the cast. It really keeps them engaged and keeps user interaction high. Maybe you could come up with something like that for more community interaction?


Yeah that’s good stuff. We have a feedback section of every show where we read comments from listeners. We regularly solicit topics from listeners including a dedicated subreddit (http://dailytechnewsshow.reddit.com/) and we have a Slack group for our top patrons as well.

Most of the exit surveys are either saying they have a changed financial situation or not enough time to listen anymore. Maybe the show’s just too long.