Hi! I’m Tali and if you don’t already know me, I’m a Canadian cosplayer with about 10 years of experience and maybe 5 of those actually taking it seriously.
Sure I might not be the most popular or highest grossing cosplayer out there but I’m confident in at least one of my approaches.
Over years I’ve had the privilege of having one of the best content marketing mad scientists at my side, constantly drilling strategy and processes into my head til I could soak in no more! I’ve learnt so much but one of the most important lessons I ever learnt from him was the importance of building content on your own platform. By this I mean having a homebase that you have complete 100% control over at all times. I understand this is likely not possible right now so we’ll get as close as we possibly can. Owning your domain and what’s within it.
The problem with Patreon
Just recently Patreon announced it would be cracking down on “adult material” mostly directed at private cam shows, sexual services and pornographic material. I’m still unsure of how this will affect the NSFW cosplay community (if at all) but it should come as no surprise that Patreon would begin to restrict the type of content produced on their platform as they grow in size. It’s one thing to be angry about Patreon gaining so much popularity from these producers then essentially turn their back on those same people but guess what, it wasn’t their platform in the first place and Patreon has every right to restrict it.
So why do countless content producers choose to use Patreon as their home base of operations? The thing they count on for monthly income? If it disappeared tomorrow every single Patreon and their “steady incomes” would vanish along with it-- this is not sustainable. As we’ve seen with the recent Youtube “Adpoclypse”, a platform will change and it might/very likely will not change the way you want it. This is a trend.
All this and not to mention that I understand the fees are ridiculous-- anyone that can confirm this would be greatly appreciated.
In my opinion, the only thing that sets Patreon at any advantage is that it is really a one stop shop for content marketing. Email blasts are cake, updates are easy, patreon pages look aesthetically pleasing, and it’s easy to use. Unfortunately if it’s easy it’s usually not the right thing to do and not to mention all the essential skills you aren’t learning (cosplay isn’t forever sorry but use it to learn some new skills).
Okay I get it-- how do I build it though?
So we’re in agreement? If you’ve reached this far you realize that Patreon crowdfunding is not the same as selling a product/subscription (even if that product is lewd photos of yourself). So how do we fix it? How do we build a monthly product that can be easily sustained, bring in just as much money (maybe more due to less overhead fees) AND it’s totally controlled by you? Well that’s my main point today, let me show you exactly how I approached this problem and maybe you can use it or maybe you can find an even better way. I’m certainly not the first to use this idea but I don’t see a lot of people in cosplay doing it.
Build a membership site
Personally I use Squarespace as my website host, I love it-- it’s easy to use, effective and the most important feature-- built in locked pages and built in store. My main goal? If you come to my site, you shouldn’t have to leave it for anything I do.
First things first, I have a public blog and a membership section with a locked blog. Each month the password changes and all current members receive the new password in an email, along with a coupon code and some minor updates. It’s honestly that simple. All my content is locked behind a paywall that I created using Squarespace’s private blog feature. My members simply log in with the monthly password and they can scroll through all my updates which include galleries, videos, write ups and progress that never ever disappears unless I delete it. I see it as already more value than disappearing monthly content via Patreon.
Where does the money come in?
Okay well, first of all, hold your horses. We’ve got ourselves a private blog but really no product yet right? This is where my version of Patreon comes in. This is the only part of my membership site that exists on another platform. Personally I use Gumroad.com, it’s great. Gumroad is a creators payment processing and email platform that allows you to charge for a single product or a subscription/membership service. The way my personal site works I use the subscription option because none of my content is actually located on Gumroad, it’s just a payment process for me.