This post is part of a series on growth hacking (How our startup is growth hacking its way to success… and how you can copy us!)
Reddit has become the perfect site for businesses to create a presence. It’s mainly a male demographic of 25 to 34 year olds, and for the right business it’s a great place to develop a large audience by placing a wide range of interesting content in front of your consumers. But, do it wrong and you’ll fail dismally.
In the article I’ll discuss:
- where to post your content on Reddit
- how to leverage the power of the community to gain traction
- how not to position your content and links and be labeled as a spammer
Reddit is widely known as a place of zero tolerance for marketers, spammers, and fakers. For the newbie, Reddit can be quite confusing, but once you get into it you’ll soon discover that it can be a great resource, a hive of ideas which encourage you to think, laugh, and be motivated: a place where marketing has almost no place at all.
Many domains have been banned for their manipulative tactics. To be successful on Reddit your content must be great, you must follow the rules, and you must tread lightly. Failure to follow Reddit’s guidelines could place a huge source of traffic at risk.
How to Create a Traffic Source
To use Reddit at its highest potential doesn’t mean you just build something and then submit it to the relevant subreddit. To best use this service the way it was designed to be used is to break down the interests of your target demographics by subreddits, and then working out if the content you can expand on will appeal to the audience of that subreddit.
Begin by doing a simple search to locate the highest intent subreddit there is for your topic [site:reddit.comKEYWORD]. For our example, we’ll use the topic ‘Startup’.
We’re in luck. There are are number of subreddits that are related to startups and businesses in general.
We can see that this subreddit permits external links and there’s the potential for them to be accepting of commercial publishers. Some subreddits will only allow photos and others allow only discussion threads labeled with ‘.self’.
While doing your research take note of the guidelines on the sidebar of the subreddit. We can see that for /r/startup/ there are no specific guidelines. It appears to be all about great content.
Others still are very restrictive with their submission policies, like /r/netsec/ which doesn’t permit very much (not even humour).
Your next step is to verify the subreddit size. The bigger it is the more valuable it is to keep in mind, particularly when you’re developing content up front.
For our example /r/startup has more than 65,000 subscribers. This is a perfect number because it means that a great article could have 65,000 engaged visitors, plus the fallout effect of shares, tweets, and other links.
Also, be aware of how many people are online: old topics can have high numbers but that doesn’t mean that there’s been a huge amount of engagement today.
Creating Relevant Subreddits
Your next step is to check the sidebar of your subreddit to see if there are other places where content similar to yours could be relevant. We see on /r/startup that there are a few subreddits where our content could be promoted.
Once you begin creating subreddits it’s my suggestion that you create a spreadsheet of pertinent information for every section of the site. This will assist you throughout the idea process.
Once you’ve browsed through the site and determined which sections could be receptive to your content, you can spread to other related, but perhaps not as obvious, sections that could be receptive to your content.
During your research stage you may find the following suggestions helpful for identifying these types of subreddits.
- Use your keyword and do a simple Reddit search. Reddit is pretty good at bringing up relevant subreddits that could be suitable as your target.
- A search [site.Reddit.comKEYWORD]. There will probably be more than one link because Google will often bring up a lot of appropriate subreddits.
- General brainstorming for content. This works best for those not-so-obvious connections like how to grow hops, or the food connections for beer. We suggest you conduct a keyword-specific search on that particular subreddit. This will surface other content that has previously performed well.
- Use tools such as RedditMetrics.com and MetaReddit.com to identify high keyword-usage subreddits by tags and to locate fast-growing sections.
Confirm Your Content/Demographic Fit
Once you’re pretty clear about possible subreddits that might accept your content, plus you know what kind of content they may be interested in, we advise that you take a moment to confirm that your content would actually be a good fit for the subreddits you’re considering.
You should remember that Reddit is very specific about its demographics so while you may initially believe a subreddit is a great fit for your content you may well re-reconsider and realise that perhaps it’s not such a good idea.
As an example, let’s have a look at /r/venturedcapital. People are often willing to share their tips on how to raise money, and their articles are posted to venture investment in general. Any content relating to startups (such as this article) would be down-voted or banned, because it’s not the right fit.
Don’t Attempt to Manipulate Reddit
For your success on Reddit it’s very important that you understand exactly how Reddit words. You can’t manipulate Reddit. It’s certainly acceptable to create great content and occasionally submit it to an appropriate and accepting subreddit. However, don’t submit every post you make and then use an upvote ring to get your work pushed higher up the site.
The ‘right’ way to be successful on Reddit is to develop an audience that naturally wants to return to your site, and who also use Reddit. The only way to achieve this is to have a lot of great quality content on your site that’s really appealing to their target demographic. One piece of great content won’t do it.
Marketers Are Not (Really) Welcome on Reddit but are tolerated if they bring value!
Disingenuous comments or posts are soon dispersed with on Reddit. The Reddit community is very diligent about policing spam and is extremely skeptical of marketers. These activities are immediately down-voted out of site. Basically, the Reddit community is not interested in having marketers intruding on their conversations.
There are some very rare exceptions to this rule as some very savvy marketers have discovered a way of getting into Reddit by creating great content that the Reddit community is really interested in. In an other post, I’ll discuss how you can amplify the reach of your content using Reddit Ads.
I normally post our blog posts into the relevant subreddits I have identified. The content gets always get some traction and social share as well as some sign ups. I also like the community and the feedback I receive. It’s very often insightful and brings value.
I’ll keep posting our content (if it adds value) and also post content I find elsewhere that I personally find interesting.
How do you plan on using Reddit?