Yes, you read that correctly; BTG is now welcoming subscribers and Patrons through the well-proven Patreon system. That’s the headline news. But the why, and the how of this new concept, is where this story gets really interesting. If you’ve got a minute to keep up with the happenings, then feel free to read on!
It can’t be a secret that with the untimely death of the Jaguar taxi, and less than 20% of the usual tourist traffic renting cars, my earnings have suffered a little of late. I won’t bore you with the details, but for the sake of transparency, I think you deserve to know my thought processes behind monetising BTG more.
The facts are that more people are visiting BTG in 2021 than in the previous 3-years, and the BTG audience across Instagram, Facebook and YouTube is still full of the most serious, most knowledgable Nürburgring fans.
Less people can travel to the Nürburgring, BUT more people will be interested in what’s happening here. Sounds like a job for BTG, right? Running BTG is a dream-job! Shooting, filming, editing, writing and uploading. It’s fantastic, but time-consuming work. And it’s work that’s not paid, which is bad news if, like me, you need a wage every month.
I know, I know. It’s a dirty topic for some, but the reality is that with less than $1/thousand visitors, this website isn’t exactly rolling in wealth. There are some easy fixes for that, falling into two categories: Things I want to do and Things I don’t want to do.
Things I want to do: create better, more engaging content more regularly. Things I don’t want to do: spam you all with click-bait headlines and high-value brand names in search of the magical $4cpm (You Won’t Believe What This Bugatti Owner Did At The Nürburgring! or Watch This Ferrari Owner Crash His Pride And Joy!)
This all started with a question about motorcycles over on the facebook group, where we have an out-of-sight, 3000-strong private group called the BTG Drivers Club. The question was; should I split the motorcycle videos away from the cars, and create a second BTG Bikes-Only YouTube channel? The answers were as well-informed as they were numerous. Instagram and YouTube also concurred, albeit with less comments.
Having read up on the algorithms at play, and the way that the YouTube channel is penalised if new videos aren’t ‘of interest’, I had a conflict of interest myself. Do I want to compromise which stories BTG tells, in order to chase the handful of $$$ that Google might or might not throw my way? Or should I create the content that the hard-core followers want to see?
The Third Way
So if I don’t want to switch directly to trashy click-bait and crash videos, but I don’t have the time or financial strength to invest into BTG content, how do I progress without just ditching this Nürburgring life and getting a job in one of the few industries unaffected by COVID?
Well, thanks to the two Toms, one Dave and a few others who pointed out that maybe, just maybe, Patreon is the way forward.
Last night I put up a post asking people to support. The response was PHENOMENAL… I woke up this morning to find that as of April 1st, I will have 33 paid-for subscriptions, monthly offering everything from a €3 cup of coffee to a whole €25 lap ticket.
I can, without a guilty conscience, sit down and work on bridgetogantry.com without feeling like I’m chasing a fruitless dream or risking the health of my family. I can’t put into words how grateful that makes me feel.
I will include the original facebook post below, for posterity.
THANK YOU for ALL of your input. You might be interested to know that I have now reached a conclusion regarding the future of BTG! 😲 🙈
I’ve been doing my homework, and also taking into account all of your well-structured inputs. 🧐 There will always be pushback on anything that’s not “core” content. But what is “core” changes for every BTGer. Some of you “met” me racing, others motorcycling, many more through my ring-taxi driving and outspoken opinions on #touristenfahrten.
With the collapse of the JagTaxi and an ongoing tourism-drought, I’ve been thinking hard about putting more time into BTG, getting back into the groove of editing, uploading and writing articles, blogs and videos more regularly. There will be a lot happening here at the Nürburgring this year, but not everybody will be able to visit us.
Writing, photographing and messing around on the BridgeToGantry websites and channels is a dream job, and the audience is expanding. But what a shame the job of sharing it doesn’t come with a salary! 🤣
I definitely need to pay attention to producing more relevant, more entertaining content. But at the same time, I don’t want to chase the click-bait headlines and dumbed-down YouTube algorithm-pleasers. A prime example of this is the “splitting” of motorcycle content from car content. The core following don’t agree with this method. Personally, I don’t either. I want to create content that interests me and my friends. BUT the algorithms are clear – post stuff that people don’t expect, and you will suffer. So how to cut free of this web?
Well, quite a few of you (nearly a dozen!) have mentioned the concept of micro-transactions, patreon and buymeacoffee. A few of you (you know who you are!) even offered to put the price of a cup of coffee in my hand every single month, just in return for paying more attention to BTG’s position as an independent outlet at the Nürburgring Nordschleife.
Now’s the chance to help out. Because my plan is to produce at least two videos every month this summer, and if time permits, many, many more. Bikes, cars, the whole shooting match.
I want to be able to pay my favourite photographers to work with me, I want to be able to buy a lap ticket and fuel, and head out into TF to drive cars, ride bikes and produce content based on the strength of the BTG audience.
So if you’re pleased by this news, and you want to help keep me afloat on this journey, I’d ask you to check out the link below.
Patrons to BTG are basically buying me a small cup of coffee, and in return you’ll be invited to join my private Discord server as a Member, as well as get access to Members-only content on BTG.
AND if you have an awesome #ringtool that you’d consider loaning me for #onelap, please let me know!
FINALLY: Thanks for your support over the last 13 years. I’m pretty emotional writing this post, and I’ve got my fingers crossed you’ll understand my position.
But, either way, PLEASE let me know your thoughts on BTG below!