Rewards brainstorming: share your process and your expertise #tips


We'll start pulling out more case studies as they emerge into more of a "cheatsheet"-style reference document, but wanted to share some early insights from the Brave New World of rewards:

  1. Be sure to remember that reward tiers are currently additive -- which means supporters at higher levels are also entitled to the rewards from the lower levels. Keep that in mind when designing your levels and guesstimating how much time it will take you to actually fulfill them.
  2. Think about "broadcast vs. 1:1" types of rewards and experiment with a mix of both if it's a fit for you -- a "broadcast" type of reward is something that you can prepare or create and share it in a Private message exclusively with all your supporters at once (use the privacy toggle in the Message tool to switch from a Public post to a private Supporters-only message). It doesn't even have to be long-form or something polished and "produced" -- it could be "the full transcript of the interviews i edit and publish for X Magazine" so fans can see the unabridged version, or the "take behind the take" commentary on something you might not want to post publicly and be indexed by Google. Maybe it's an annotated version of a news story you plan to rebut in an upcoming piece, or the outline of a screenplay before it's done. Maybe it's an "alternate ending" version of a short story. Or a scathing diatribe about someone, something, or some trend in your industry that you want to vent about without going public (almost like a "paid Snapchat" version of your "hot take"). Or a doodle you scrawled one night and aren't sure if it merits working up a full illustration and want to get some advice from your fans. In all those examples you Do A Thing once and share it with all the supporting fans, vs. a more "1:1" type of reward that is quite custom to each individual supporter: "I'll send you an individual Snapchat," "30 minutes of writing coaching," "A custom haiku based on a topic you give me," etc. These are more "artisanal" in nature and carry an even More Special feel to each supporter, but conversely can take a bit more time to actually fulfill (which tends to lend those type of rewards to higher tiers because there is a greater "time cost" for you to fulfill them).
  3. Consider how you might be able to "productize" your knowledge, expertise, or advice in ways that might feel pretty easy for you to deliver but carry a big "delight" value to your supporters -- here's a great example from Emily's brainstorm concept for Bill. This idea of an "Artisanal Recommendation Engine" is powerful because it's kind of in the sweet spot between broadcast and 1:1 -- it could be a customized list for each supporter based on their interests, but there's probably a lot of overlap in the lists you can most likely reuse at least some of them both for other individual supporters as well as an opportunity to collect all the individual lists into a larger document you can publish as an Exclusive for all paying supporters: "Recommended movies of the month" broken down by genre. If your expertise is in gadgets, maybe you could offer supporters shopping advice on 1 piece of gear they're considering each month, then collect those choices up into a list of "Top recommended devices" that only supporters have access to. If you're an entrepreneur, maybe you offer individual business advice or answer X biz-related questions per month, then publish the whole collection in a running document that lives behind the paywall (and is a continually growing resource that becomes part of the incentive for new supporters to join your inner circle in the first place).

In the interest of providing tangible value to supporters in exchange for their hard-earned dollars without creating a ton of new work for yourself, I think it will help to try and conceptualize how you can turn something you're already passionate about that feels easy to do into an actual explicit reward, as well as how to make use of / repurpose / repackage your efforts and the material(s) you create in different ways for different channels. Remixable, modular, "small pieces loosely joined" philosophies will serve you well in this regard, I suspect.

Also, we want to help you both internally and externally! Feel free to give a shout here in if you'd like some advice from your peers and/or a handy support system in the process of experimenting with rewards. We're also keen to help elevate and promote what you're working on both within the Recurrency community and to the world at large through social, in blog posts we promote, etc. We'll be getting more formalized around promotional plans in the coming weeks as well (and stay tuned for the first Creator Spotlight project to kick off soon!) but we're always happy to help give something specific a boost or a share (or set of shares) to help you get the word out -- let us know! Thanks all!