No matter how much you enjoy creating content, the truth is it can take months or even years to make a consistent income from live streaming or any other form of content creation. To supplement, many content creators use the membership-based site Patreon to monetize their content through monthly memberships for supporters. Though Patreon may be the most popular site to help creators start earning money from their content, it isn’t the only option. As the creator economy grows, there are more alternatives to use, which is excellent news if you’re not 100% satisfied with Patreon and their 5-12% platform fees.
Keep reading for sites that you can use as an alternative to Patreon (including some free platforms) that can help turn your viewers into paying supporters.
Streamlabs’ Monthly Tipping Feature
Streamlabs’ monthly tipping feature is a straightforward way for viewers to support your content. One of the best benefits about receiving tips from supporters through a Streamlabs tip page is that Streamlabs doesn’t take a cut. You keep 100% of your earnings minus standard Paypal processing fees. Getting started is completely free. With Streamlabs Prime, you have the option to customize your tip page complete with components such as a display of your streaming schedule, social feeds, and much more.
Unlike Patreon and some other membership-based donation sites, your Streamlabs tip page also gives viewers the option to leave a one-time tip if they aren’t quite ready to commit to a monthly subscription. To learn more, check out this article about Streamlabs’ monthly tipping feature and how to use it to monetize your content.
Buy Me A Coffee
Buy Me A Coffee helps fans show gratitude to content creators by treating them to a virtual cup of coffee via a donation. This platform allows fans to donate on a one-time, monthly, or yearly basis. There are no upfront fees for the creators to set up a Buy Me A Coffee page.
The platform earns money as you do, taking a 5% fee on all transactions (leaving you with 95% of your earnings minus payment processing fees). One major thing to note is that this platform offers “one-tap payment,” meaning your fans don’t have to sign up to send money, aka one less barrier for supporting you as a content creator.
If you’re a content creator looking to sell digital products in addition to creating a Patreon-like membership structure for your audience to donate, Podia is a platform that you should consider. From basic email marketing to webinars, Podia gives creators the ability to engage with and monetize their audience with a host of different features all in one place.
While Podia gives access to capabilities such as unlimited courses/downloads and monthly “mastermind calls” so you can pick the brains of other creators using the platform, the price (starting at $39 per month after the 14-day free trial) can be a bit expensive. This can be particularly unattractive for creators who aren’t already bringing in a consistent income from their content.
YouTube Channel Memberships
Once upon a time, YouTube creators looked to third-party sites such as Patreon to bring in membership-based revenue. Today, YouTube offers Channel Memberships, allowing creators who have 1,000 or more subscribers and are a part of the YouTube Partner Program to monetize exclusive content through monthly memberships. Through YouTube Channel Memberships, creators create tiered memberships with varying prices offering subscribers member-only perks such as badges, emojis, and exclusive content.
While YouTube covers all transaction fees, they also take 30% of all earnings, which can be pretty steep no matter how much revenue you bring in from your memberships. However, if you’re already creating content on YouTube, it’s an ideal way to monetize directly on the platform outside of AdSense.
Meta for Creators Subscriptions
Similar to YouTube Channel Memberships, Facebook has a built-in way to help you monetize directly on the platform. Through Subscriptions, you can create a membership for your Facebook fans to take their support to the next level. You can offer your fans benefits such as subscriber-only Lives, discounts, or a subscriber-only group with the subscription. Facebook also enables you to easily promote your subscription by allowing you to input a “Subscribe” button on posts you create on your Facebook fan page.
On the flip side, a major pitfall to Meta’s Subscriptions is that the platform has some pretty strict requirements to get started. These requirements include:
- Complying with Meta’s Monetization Standards
- Having 10,000 followers or 250+ return viewers
- Additionally, your page must have 50,000 post engagements or 180,000 watch minutes.
For those creators who are active on Facebook and meet the requirements, Subscriptions may be a viable option, but for smaller creators, unfortunately, it’s not an option.
If you’re a Twitch live streamer, you’ll be happy to know that the platform also has a built-in subscription revenue model through its Affiliate program. Once your Twitch channel becomes eligible for the Affiliate program (find out how with our tips on reaching Twitch Affiliate status), you’ll receive an invitation via email and a notification on your Twitch dashboard to start monetizing your channel. This will automatically add a subscribe option to your channel for your viewers.
For a minimum of $4.99 per month (for Tier 1 subscriptions), viewers can subscribe to gain access to your emotes and other benefits of your choice. Tier 2 and 3 subscriptions are priced at $9.99 and $24.99 per month, respectively, and Twitch takes 50% of all subscriber fees no matter the tier. Twitch also offers the option for subs to save by signing up for multi-month subscriptions, which are charged every 3 or 6 months.
Additionally, Twitch allows viewers to gift a one-month subscription to your channel or their friends. Gift subscriptions are a great way for your community to support you monetarily and help grow your fanbase by expanding your reach.
For creators who want to offer supporters a little bit of everything, Ko-Fi is another all-in-one solution that needs to be on your radar. This platform allows creators to set up a basic donation page in addition to creating memberships, selling products (digital and physical), and offering commissions for custom creations.
While creating a donation page is entirely free, the other functions, including monthly subscriptions, require you to upgrade to Ko-Fi’s Gold version, currently priced at $6 per month. If you do spring for the Gold version, you’ll be happy to know that it offers analytics that can give insight into who your biggest supporters are.
To Sum It Up
When deciding which platform to use to monetize your content, think carefully about how you’d like to get paid by your audience and what exclusive content or offerings you may want to give to them in return. Whichever route you choose, be sure to get started today so your growing community can support your journey as a creator and you can enjoy the fruits of your labor sooner rather than later.