Substack vs Patreon: Which Is Right for You?

Are you looking for a publishing platform that can help you attract paying subscribers? Learn more about the benefits and drawbacks of each Substack Vs Patreon.

You may have heard about Patreon and Substack. Which platform is right for you?

There are numerous types of content out there. Examples include email newsletters, podcasts, social media posts, blogs, paid newsletters, and even technical articles. If you want your content to reach your target audience, then you have to pick the right platform.

While you may share some content for free, there might be exclusive content that you place behind a paywall, such as paid newsletters. You need to use the right platform to maximize your monetization.

Two popular platforms are Patreon and Substack. Learn more about the pros and cons of each platform to figure out which is right for you.

What Is Patreon?

Substack vs Patreon

Patreon is a content platform that launched in 2013. It allows followers and subscribers to support their creators and artists. As an artist, you have total control over how you set up your page.

You can either charge fans per creation or set up a monthly subscription. Then, fans get access to exclusive content, VIP experiences, or any other gifts you want to share.

Using Patreon, you can even set up different levels of support, often called tiers. You can share artwork, music, videos, project ideas, demos, and more. Your fans might even ask you to create a personalized piece for them.

In exchange for using Patreon’s services, the platform takes a commission on the work you sell. There is no monthly fee, and you can customize your commission depending on the features you want to access from Patreon.

You can set up different levels of support, often called tiers in Patreon

Examples include:

  • The Lite tier is a five percent commission and gives you access to Patreon communication tools and workshops.
  • The Pro tier is an eight percent commission and allows you to set up your own membership tiers and access insights and analytics.
  • The Premium tier gives you a dedicated partner manager and merchandise opportunities for your members.

You can select the experience that is best for you on Patreon.

What Are The Pros And Cons Of Patreon?

  • You don’t have to pay Patreon anything unless you get paid.
  • The platform works well for music, podcasts, images, videos, and other types of content.
  • You control how much you charge your members.
  • You can transfer your funds to your bank or PayPal account quickly and easily.
  • Patreon does charge a commission on your work.
  • If a fan pays via credit card, there might be a high credit card processing fee, similar to Stripe.
  • If fans have to pay a monthly subscription fee, they might feel a bit intimidated by the service, which could place pressure on the creator.

Weigh the benefits and drawbacks of Patreon before deciding if this is right for you.

What Is Substack?

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Substack provides creators with numerous features and tools

Substack is an online, independent newsletter platform that launched in 2017. Successful creators on Substack get paid through subscriptions. 

Substack also provides creators with numerous features and tools that allow creators to manage payments, create blogs, customize mailing lists, and create their own forums. The vast majority of offerings target Substack newsletter publishers who can share free content, paid content, or start a subscription service.

Substack charges a ten percent commission on anything you get paid for. Now, Substack supports those looking to monetize podcasts as well.

Substack offers a variety of tools to help creators get started, including:

  • Substack has tools that can help you price your newsletter appropriately.
  • The platform provides features that can help you attract more readers.
  • The hosting service shares tips on how to properly format your newsletters.

Substack has become one of the most popular platforms for newsletter and podcast creation. Check our interview with Hamish McKenzie of Substack to learn more about it.

What Are The Pros And Cons Of Substack?

  • Easy to set up a newsletter
  • Free
  • Ideal for newsletters writers
  • Gets expensive if you’ve lots of paying subscribers
  • Less suitable for creators who dislike writing and podcasting
  • Limited blogging and SEO features

Consider the benefits and drawbacks of Substack before signing up.

Examples of Creators on Substack and Patreon

There are several examples of fantastic creators on Substack and Patreon. A few top Substack newsletters include:

  • Opulent Tips by Rachel Tashjian focuses on high fashion.
  • Trissues by Tricia Gilbride focuses on celebrity gossip.
  • Today in Tabs by Ruster Foster focuses on media, culture, and politics.
  • Welcome to Hell World With Luke O’Neil

We interviewed Luke O’Neil about his newsletter. In the interview, O’Neill explained how his Substack newsletter helped him supplement his freelance writing and build an audience. His experiences aren’t unique either.

We rounded up the best newsletters on Substack.

A few top Patreon creators include:

  • The Best Show by Tom Scharpling focuses on interviews with musicians and comedians.
  • Whiskey Tribe with Daniel Whittington and Rex Williams create informative whiskey videos.
  • The Flagrant Ones focuses on basketball analysis and interviews.

Take a look at a few of these creators today.

Should You Use Substack Or Patreon?

Both Substack and Patreon are strong platforms in different ways. In general, Substack has been created primarily for writers. If you want to publish a blog or newsletter, then Substack is probably the better option. 

Substack’s podcasting capabilities will probably improve during the next few years. Substack writers get access to a variety of tools that can help you create a clean post and then add social share buttons, images, and videos around it.

If you want to create music, courses, videos, podcasts, and games, then Patreon is the better option. Patreon’s interface is not necessarily set up for blogging; however, it can handle other types of content beautifully. You also have total control over how, when, and how much you get paid on both platforms.

Want more? Check out our guide to the best newsletter.

Final Word on Substack vs Patreon

If you are looking for a way to expand your readership base, then explore Substack and Patreon. While Patreon might be better for musicians and podcasters, Substack is better for newsletter writers. You have control over your business model and formatting on both platforms, so explore them both and see which is right for you.

FAQs About Substack Vs Patreon

Are There Any Alternatives To Substack And Patreon?

Yes. If you want to publish newsletters, you might want to visit Medium and to explore the publishing options on this platform.

Is It Free To Publish On Substack And Patreon?

Yes, it is free to create content; however, the platforms charge a commission if you get paid for your content.


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  • Bryan Collins is the owner of Become a Writer Today. He's an author from Ireland who helps writers build authority and earn a living from their creative work. He's also a former Forbes columnist and his work has appeared in publications like Lifehacker and Fast Company.