If you are looking to monetize your content by offering a monthly membership, I’ve looked into the differences and similarities between Patreon and Substack to help you choose the right platform.
Substack is better for writers, journalists, and podcasters that want to offer a single monthly subscription. Patreon is better for any type of content creator that wants to offer recurring memberships that have multiple different tiers.
Substack has one single plan that takes a 10% cut of any income you get while Patreon has 3 different pricing plans that take between 5 – 12% depending on which plan you are on.
To learn more about how you can choose between Substack and Patreon, simply keep on reading, my friend. 🙂
P.S. If you want to see how Patreon compares to other alternatives, check out my article called Patreon Alternatives: How To Pick The Right Membership Platform.
The Main Differences Between Substack vs Patreon
When choosing between Patreon and Substack, it is important that you at least look at what they allow you to offer your audience, what features they offer you, and how their pricing works to help find the main differences and choose the right one.
The main difference between Substack and Patreon is that Substack focuses on letting writers and podcasters offer a single monthly subscription and Patreon focuses on letting any type of content creator offer recurring memberships that have multiple different tiers.
Although you may see that and think that Patreon is immediately better since they offer more and can be used by any type of content creator, that may not be the case.
Patreon’s heavier focus on pushing recurring memberships means that you will likely generate a more regular income but will be committed to creating bonus content in addition to regular content on a very consistent basis for your membership tiers to be effective and for patrons to stick around.
Although Patreon can be a highly effective tool for content creators that are focusing on anything (including writing and podcasting), their focus on serious recurring memberships may not be for you.
Substack also has some really great publishing and discovery features, and if you are a content creator that focuses on writing or podcasting, then you may find that Substack appeals to you a lot more.
Let’s take a look at each of these 2 platforms in more detail to help you figure out which is best for you. 🙂
Why Choose Substack Over Patreon
Substack is perfect for anyone who wants to monetize a recurring newsletter or podcast.
They have some great publishing and content management features built-in that can benefit podcasters, comic book creators, journalists, and bloggers.
One thing that I personally really like about Substack is that they are an email list-building tool in addition to a membership platform, with a big emphasis on letting their content creators have ownership over their data and content.
They even provide the ability to automatically import lists and posts from WordPress, Medium, Mailchimp, Tumblr, and more.
Unlike Patreon, Substack does not allow you to offer different membership tiers so this would not be the platform for you if you want to create multiple tiered offers.
However, just like Patreon, Substack is really a tool for monetizing an audience that you already have, so it makes sense for Substack to compliment a recurring social media strategy, public blog, public podcast, or YouTube channel.
What does Substack allow you to offer to your audience?
Substack has an impressive amount of features and different ways that you can offer up content to your audience.
Ultimately when starting a Substack, what you get is an email list and a website that is hosted on Substack.
With the Substack editor, you are able to create public or private (paywalled) posts that have the ability to record audio notes right from the editor or add in music or spoken content.
Substack even offers podcast distribution to Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and Pocket Casts.
On top of this, Substack gives you a support helpdesk for your subscribers (which is a pretty handy feature).
Does Substack have any discovery features for helping new supporters find you?
Unlike Patreon, Substack has several discovery features built into their platform that can help new supporters and fans find you on Substack.
Their homepage showcases a bunch of featured creators and they have a monthly “Writer In Residence” showcase that appears here as well.
They also have dedicated ‘Discover’ and ‘Featured’ pages that showcase different creators and have different categories that potential supporters can search through.
In addition to this, they have this really neat Twitter integration that will show you what people you are already following on Twitter that have a Substack profile as well as a cool weekly newsletter that can feature creators called “On Substack”.
In short: Substack kills Patreon when it comes to discovery features.
How does Substacks’ pricing work?
Substack has a very simple pricing model where they take 10% of any of the income creators may make on Substack and their payment provider, Stripe, will take an additional 2.9% plus a $0.30 transaction fee per subscriber.
This pricing model is much simpler than Patreon’s multi-tired pricing model, however, Substack can take a larger cut depending on which Patreon pricing tier you are comparing it to.
How long does it take to get paid when using Substack?
Substack payouts usually arrive within 48 hours of each transaction that you receive on Substack.
This is much quicker and better than having to wait as you do with Patreon.
What kind of analytics does Substack provide?
Substack provides some pretty detailed analytics for your posts, subscribers, and general stats.
Because Substack provides you with an email list and website, they make sure to give you helpful analytics for both of these features which is great to see.
After reviewing all of the analytics that they provide on this post, I found myself thoroughly impressed with what they provide and think anyone using Substack will absolutely love the attention to detail here.
Is Substack safe and legit to use?
Substack is safe to use for anyone that wants to sign up as a creator or wants to sign up to support creators. Substack has been around since 2017 and has proven to be a safe and legit platform.
How good is Substack’s support?
Substack has pretty solid support in the form of a help center, resource center, and the ability to submit a ticket via an online form in addition to a few different publically available email addresses.
One Really Small Negative About Substack’s Marketing
One potential negative that I found while exploring the Substack website is that there are several white lies sprinkled throughout the marketing of their website.
Ultimately, these do not really impact how amazing Substack can be for content creators, it just kind of sucks to see and I want to bring it to your attention.
First – although it can technically be true that the cut of revenue that blogs can take from creators can vary, the real truth is that the overwhelming and vast majority of blogging platforms take a 0% cut:
Substack knows that most blogs are hosted on WordPress (who takes 0%) but they didn’t want to mention 0% in their chart because they felt the more honest answer would make their platform look less appealing.
Another area where their marketing team decided to be a bit deceitful is where they mention that their business model is better because the alternative is that it would take 40,000 page views per day to make $1,000 per month in ads:
In reality, the average Earnings Per Thousand Visitors (EPMV) for ads is around $15 if those visitors are from the United States.
40,000 page views per day (multiplied by 30) would equal about 1,200,000 page views per month. If 100% of that traffic came from the US, you could expect to make about $18,000 per month in ads.
Considering the fact that EPMV can range wildly from $2 to $60, even assuming the absolute worst-case scenario of a $2 EPMV you’d be seeing about $2,400 per month (more than double the amount they state).
Again – these are just small little lies that their marketing team has decided to tell in order to sell their product and these do not really impact how awesome Substack can be… it just sucks to see it.
Why Choose Patreon Over Substack
When compared to Substack, Patreon has a much bigger focus on recurring memberships that have multiple tiers.
Because there is more of a focus on committing to different types of content for different tier levels, Patreon can be seen as a less laidback but potentially more lucrative option than Substack.
In addition to this, Patreon’s features are broadly useful for content creators that are creating any kind of content (not just writing and podcasting).
If you want to seriously push a recurring membership that has multiple tiers to your audience, then Patreon is likely to be the better option for you when compared to Substack.
What does Patreon allow you to offer to your audience?
Although it is possible to accept one-time donations with Patreon, the real focus is on getting patrons to choose between one of the membership tiers you’ve created that have different prices and benefits (or perks) on a monthly or annual basis.
In addition to this, Patreon allows you to fulfill merch to your membership tiers and either get paid monthly or per creation.
Although both Patreon and Substack have the ability to create members-only or public posts, Patreon has many more post types to choose from including text, photo, audio, video, live stream, polls, and more.
Does Patreon have any discovery features for helping new supporters find you?
Unlike Substack, Patreon does not have any discovery features that will help potential supporters find your Patreon page.
Patreon is a membership platform and is in no way a discovery platform, which means you will need to do all of the work bringing people to your Patreon page and convincing them to sign up.
If you want to learn how to get Patreon supporters, the best way is to build an audience off of Patreon first.
How does Patreon’s pricing work?
When compared to Substack, Patreon’s pricing is much more complex but can take away less from you as a creator.
Patreon has 3 different plans available to creators that all have no monthly upfront fees or sign-up costs. Instead, Patreon will take 5% to 12% of the monthly income you earn on Patreon in addition to any standard payment processing fees.
To learn everything you need to know about Patreon’s pricing, plans, and fees, check out my article called Patreon Pricing, Plans & Fees Explained, my friend. 🙂
How long does it take to get paid when using Patreon?
It is much more of a hassle getting paid with Patreon when compared to Substack.
After choosing a Patreon plan, getting your first patrons to join, and having their payments processed, you will be able to receive your payout (minus the creator and payment processing fees) on a monthly basis.
Although, Patreon processes payments on the 1st of each month, they recommend that all creators wait until the 5th to allow Patreon some time to recover any declined payments first.
What kind of analytics does Patreon provide?
The analytics that Patreon provides include data on your Patreon page, posts, income, number of patrons, income growth, and more. Patreon also offers a Google Analytics integration.
Ultimately, I think Patreon provides less analytics than when compared to Substack.
Is Patreon safe to use?
Patreon is safe to use for anyone that wants to sign up as a creator or wants to sign up to support creators. Patreon has been around since 2013 and has proven to be a safe and legit platform.
How good is Patreon’s support?
Patreon has mediocre support that is just a bit more frustrating when compared to the level of support that Substack.
Patreon offers weekly demo sessions where you can ask questions and you can contact them through Twitter or a detailed contact form on their website (with several fields to fill out depending on what your request is).
How To Get Supporters & An Audience That Supports Your Art
Whether you use Substack or Patreon, you will need to have an audience that actually wants to support you if you want to make money on either platform.
The best way to get Patreon supporters is to first build an audience and community around your art or creative endeavor off of your membership site and to freely provide that audience and community with overwhelming value.
Remember that most memberships don’t have any discovery features so they won’t bring in new fans. Instead, they simply allow your current fans the opportunity to choose to support you financially.
When you have an audience with an engaged community, only then will you be able to successfully grow your membership by offering them membership tiers that they actually want to join.
To learn how you can get Patreon supporters by growing an audience and community and exactly how you can make effective offers, check out my article called How To Get Patreon Supporters. 🙂
How To Build A Content Plan For Your Membership That Keeps Supporters Coming Back
If supporters don’t feel like they are getting any use out of your membership because you aren’t posting enough or aren’t posting things that they enjoy, it is no secret that they will eventually stop paying for it.
The best way to build a successful membership program is to consistently release new content by combining a recurring content strategy with a content calendar.
Recurring content allows you to build your audience, optimize your membership tiers, and make sure your supporters keep coming back for more.
To learn how you can start publishing regular content that builds your audience and keeps your supporters happy without completely stressing you out, check out my article called Patreon Content: Ultimate Guide To Ideas & What To Post. 🙂