Beginner’s Guide to Reddit

Reddit requires patience and a deep level of understanding. Read on to learn the basics and understand how you can tap into the world of Reddit as a marketer.

Reddit. As a content marketer, you may hate the interface, hate the universal cat obsession or hate how redditors outed an innocent student in connection to the Boston Marathon bombing. But did you know about the doctor who keeps kids laughing during shots? Or the cable company rep who visited a 94-year-old man to fix his TV? If you’ve been hesitant to engage with Reddit, that’s a good thing. Unlike marketing on other social networks, Reddit requires patience and a deeper level of understanding. Read on to learn the basics and understand how you can tap into the world of redditors.

The Basics


What is it?

Approaching its 10th birthday, Reddit is affectionately referred to as the, “the front page of the Internet.” Users post links, comments or media and people react with comments and media. Every submitted piece of content is upvoted or downvoted by users, allowing the most popular submissions to rise to the top of the page. It’s vast, powerful and thought-provoking.

What does it mean for you?

There are millions of users on Reddit. Many of whom are experts in a given area or desire to learn more about a certain topic. The marketing and content opportunities are not wide-sweeping but are advantageous when timed correctly.

Beginner's Guide to Reddit


What is it?

Submitted content is organized into different subcategories called subreddits. These are run by volunteer moderators and range from /r/worldnews to /r/goldengirlsgonewild (NSFW).

What does it mean for you?

Find out what’s relevant for you. /r/socialmedia, /r/contentmarketing but keep in mind, these subreddits have a smaller audience than more popular avenues like /r/askreddit or /r/explainlikeimfive.



What is it?

Reddiquette is described as “an informal expression of the values of many redditors, as written by redditors themselves.” These rules ask that self-serving content be limited. It suggests a 9:1 ratio — 1 of 10 posts can be your own content.

What does this mean for you?

Reading through the reddiquette will help you understand what Reddit admins are looking for and how the community interacts. Pay attention to warnings that first-time marketers miss — like pleading for upvotes or linkjacking (linking to viral blog posts without adding to the conversation). 2015-03-26 14-09-20

AMA (Ask Me Anything)

What is it?

A place where everyone from CEOs to liquor store clerks logs on for a live question and answer session. It’s separated into two forums, /r/IAmA, which hosts celebrities and has a convenient sidebar schedule. And /r/AMA, which includes everyone from the average Joe to the well-known inspirational individual (who are often more entertaining than celebrities).

What does this mean for you?

IAmA’s can be great place for CEO’s to spread buzz and answer questions, if done correctly. IAmA’s can also offer an opportunity for smaller brands to ignite their audience. Alan Schaaf, founder of Imgur did an AMA two years ago and fielded questions about acquisition attempts, server infrastucture and how his employees have free reign with NSFW content. 2015-03-26 14-43-49


Some of the best advice from experts about marketing on reddit is this,


The Reddit community doesn’t care about self-service product features or PR campaigns. There’s even a subreddit devoted to exposing coy ads. The upvote-downvote system empowers a frustrated mob to be calculated and organized. Just ask the CEO of Intel and the FCC commissioner about their AMAs that were missing the “Anything.” 2015-03-26 15-20-40

So why is Reddit constantly being discussed by marketers? The Reddit community is just that, a diverse community active in different relevant subreddits. That community includes more than 14 million unique visitors each day; it’s the 10th most-visited site in the U.S. and 24th most-visited in the world. This means the losses are great but the wins can be greater.

Organic Marketing

What about organic marketing? First you need to follow rules. Both unwritten and written in the universal reddiquette. If you’re looking at particular subreddits, follow the moderators’ posted rules.

For instance, /r/creepy’s moderators says: “If it’s not creepy, don’t post it. Insufficiently creepy submissions will be removed at moderators’ discretion.”

Maybe that’s not for you. The only way to understand how different subreddits work is to flash back to your Myspace days and lurk. Listen to conversations and pick up on trends and themes.

Case and point: Leigh Momii, formerly of HTC, dropped into a Reddit thread about a Galaxy S4 that had caught on fire and hadn’t been replaced. She offered a brand new HTC One m8 and asked the redditor to donate it to a worthy cause when the Samsung did arrive. This not only made for a happy customer, but also resulted in a plethora of positive comments about the phone. The company and the exchange were upvoted for more than 500,000 readers of /r/Android to see. 2015-03-26 15-24-01

Paid Marketing

You’ll see how Reddit does ads as you learn the ropes. These can be banner ads on the sidebar that start a conversation or a promoted post that appears like a user post and is elevated to top of targeted subreddits.

Reddit offers a flat $0.75 CPM for self-serve advertising with a minimum buy of $5. Make these posts similar to a standard posts, offer something of value or add to the conversation. 2015-03-26 15-26-18

Have a clear goal with these ads, whether you want to generate email subscribers, create buzz, or provide something useful for readers. Peruse different subreddits to get feel for the UX of a redditor so your ad will draw engagement or at least eyeballs. Better yet, attend the Reddit PR seminar hosted by Reddit’s Director of Communication Victoria Taylor.

Content Inspiration

If you don’t see value in Reddit marketing, or your brand just doesn’t fit in, don’t give up on the platform. Millions of users mean a lot of unanswered questions and emerging trends. Here are just a few ideas from posts this week.

Seen in /r/entrepreneur, “Do you run a successful ecommerce business? Tell us about it!”

Looking to provide value for ecommerce business owners? Review questions and discussions that come up such as dealing with foreign manufacturers, generating traffic and launching an ecommerce venture.

Seen in /r/todayilearned (a subreddit with more than 8 million followers), “TIL 47% of Americans do not put a single penny out of their paychecks into savings,” an article link from Business Insider. 2015-03-26 15-28-28

You could have seen this on another source but on Reddit you can read comments like, “Somehow in the 10 years that I graduated, my $50k debt upon graduating is now $55k. In those 10 years, I’ve paid them roughly $18k. It’s depressing.”

Not only can you draw inspiration from the article itself but also see the connection between savings habits and student loan debt. Content that analyzes how these two are connected is not only relevant, it’s based on real consumer reactions, not self-promotion.

The demographics of Reddit are largely male but that doesn’t mean females can’t find inspiration. Seen in /r/twoxchromosomes, “I’m over Jezebel. Ladies, please tell me what interesting websites you read.”

The comments show links and resources relevant for female readers. Some you know, like The New York Times and NPR but others you might not, like the thought-provoking Stuff Mom Never Told You or, for geeks,The Mary Sue.

Still not connecting the dots? Trust the experts themselves and further learn how Reddit works or check out other guides from CMI, Moz and KISSMetrics.



Category: Distribution
Milton Herman

About Milton

As a former journalist, Milton Herman loves a good story. As customer success manager at ClearVoice, he develops compelling customer narratives. He's a former content strategist, writer and Slack evangelist. He's passionate about sports, travel and learning. Follow him on Twitter.
  • Daniel Taibleson

    Great post! Thanks Milton!

    • Milton Herman

      Thanks for reading!