If you’re looking to grow your audience, no doubt you’ve investigated the major social media players. But what about Reddit? The popular crowdsourced Web destination is the 11th ranked site in the United States in terms of traffic, and last month more than 203 million unique visitors passed through its subreddits, or subject-based forums. Its diverse audience has created close to 10,000 unique communities within the Reddit platform, each with its own topics and conversations.
For example, over 100,000 users have subscribed to the /r/coffee subreddit where anyone can submit and comment on content relative to the subject of coffee. Over 150,000 entrepreneurs gather each day in /r/entrepreneur to discuss topics relative to their interests.
These types of niche communities are a great place to gain the attention of your target audience, direct them to your site and then retain them as loyal readers and advocates of your content.
The concept is simple. Create great content and then use Reddit to deliver it to your niche audience. If done strategically and while being conscious of Reddit’s nuances, it is a great way to drive traffic to your site. Here’s how to do it.
Understand where to submit
Take some time to search around Reddit to figure out the subreddit of best fit for your content. Writing content on a gluten-free diet? Take a look at /r/glutenfree. Content for traveling on a budget? Try /r/shoestring. You get the idea. Search within Reddit to understand where your audience gathers. Then write down these subreddits, and let’s head to step #2.
Understand what resonates
Now that you’ve identified where your audience gathers, let’s figure out if your content is a good fit for it. Select the “hot” posts for your subreddit. Now take a look at the posts that show 0 karma (or upvotes). What type of content is being upvoted and commented on positively? What’s the difference between content that’s given lots of love and content that is being downvoted? Are listicles being downvoted consistently? Slideshows always being upvoted? Understanding this will help you avoid submitting content to an audience that is going to immediately downvote it.
Also, take a look at the guidelines/rules/etiquette (usually found on the column to the right of each subreddit). Does the subreddit allow external links? Do posts require certain elements? Make sure your content meets these requirements.
Understand when to submit
Much like social media, there are good times and bad times to post on Reddit. I recommend using Later for Reddit to discover the best time to post. This tool and others like it analyzes the subreddit of your choice for traffic, enabling you to submit your content when the most subscribers are online.
Be a contributing member of Reddit
I considered putting this first, because it is the most important point. Redditors scrutinize your every move. If you create an account solely to submit your website’s content, 1) you will most certainly receive very little support and 2) you run the risk of having your URL blacklisted across all of Reddit (VERY BAD). Take a minute and read Reddit’s guidelines on self-promotion.
Got it? Now, head over to Reddit and become a contributing member. Submit relevant articles, upvote, downvote and stir conversations. Accrue karma points. Only once you have done this should you consider submitting your branded content. As this beginner’s guide to Reddit explains, “Reddiquette” demands that self-serving content be limited. Aim for a 9:1 ratio, in which one out of 10 posts is your own content.
The long haul
The value in Reddit doesn’t lie in any immediate boost but rather, in the residual effect it has. Redditors are well-connected across the digital ecosystem, and you will notice that as your content does well on Reddit, links to it will begin to appear across the Web (StumbleUpon, Digg, Tumblr, various blogs, etc.).
Done correctly, this community can become vocal advocates of your content. You can also use Reddit to research your target audience, validate story ideas and create content based on subject favorability. Take time to dive into Reddit and discover how you can leverage it for your content.