I am a big fan of Reddit. First and foremost I use it for fun and have been doing so for years.
I always find interesting content when browsing the site.
And while I am not a big one for Facebook, (I use it for my websites and keeping in touch with mates, but my personal profile wall remains silent for weeks on end), whenever my wife shows me an FB post share that has made her smile, 9 times out of 10 I have already seen it. On Reddit. About 2 days previous.
That’s because of the sheer amount of links and comments being made on Reddit every day. The main slogan for the site is ‘The Frontpage of the internet’. In my opinion this is spot on.
The fact is, used in the right way Reddit is an absolute gold mine for product and customer research as well as content inspiration.
However, before we dive into how to use this powerful platform, let’s take a moment to talk about what Reddit is.
What is Reddit?
Reddit is a social platform that allows users to discuss and vote on content other users have submitted.
This user generated system of curated content and commentary makes the site the wonderful hot pot that it is.
Very little is off limits, (a big issue within the Reddit community is freedom of speech, and non-censorship from the site administrators – a notion that has made headlines from time to time).
You will find everything from the latest news and political viewpoints, to popular internet memes and gifs and most valuable of all to us, fan discussion on interests that encapsulate everything from needlecraft to base-jumping.
This is all done within individual areas of the site called Subreddits.
You can think of Sub Reddits as rooms within the larger house of Reddit, where small communities of people come together to post links to webpages that interest them.
You can also leave comments in the feed of every link post, or start discussions with an original text post.
As I write this there are over 900,000 sub reddits in existence, (anyone signed up to the site can start one).
Each of these sub reddit ‘communities’ cover a different topic of interest, (although there is clearly some overlap).[hr]
The Reddit Karma System
To help ensure only the best, most interesting content stays visible in each subreddit, the site uses a points based karma system.
Any user that is signed in can give a comment or link an up or down vote.
If your link is crap or unashamedly self-promoting it will be ignored or worse still, downvoted out of existence.
This helps prevent spammers from taking advantage of the many eyeballs on the site.
There are many in jokes that run through the Reddit community. If some one really likes your post they may sometimes comment with a link to a gif such as the one above: Indy eating Reddit upvotes.
It’s always nice to be appreciated.
Each subreddit has a team of moderators. In small rooms this is normally the person that began the subreddit, plus one or two others they have invited to assist.
The moderators will make rules which can be found in the right sidebar of the subreddit page.
The example in the orange box to the right is what you will find on the r/cars subreddit.
The rules for each subreddit vary widely. Some will insist that only image posts are allowed. Or maybe self-text submissions only.
You really do need to do your research before you begin contributing.
Moderators will check in to the room on a regular basis to ensure no one is breaking the rules of the subreddit.
If you are, your link can be deleted. Repeat offenders will see themselves banned from the subreddit, (and sometime the entire website).
Using Subreddits to research your niche
The great thing is, you do not even have to signup to Reddit to benefit from some of what it has to offer.
If you just want to get some information on a niche that you are thinking about getting into, you could do a simple search within Reddit.
Let’s use my water ionizer example (see Niche Site Challenge E03 on finding money keywords).
After using the Reddit search box the first item to come up is a relevant subreddit.
After that you get a list of posts that are directly related to you search query.
Scrolling through the first page of the results I noticed something very interesting:
It seems a question that arises a lot when it comes to water ionizers is the actual science behind them.
People are sceptical about the legitimacy of it.
If I was planning on creating a product review article on water ionizers I would now know that the buyer’s guide, (or supporting article) should look into these issues that buyers have and attempt to clarify them.
For this search I focused right down onto a specific product.
Alternatively, you could find a subreddit that focus on your overall niche.
Once there, you can browse the content, comments and links within the community. This alone should bring you a regular bounty of potential article ideas, as well products and the brands being talked about.
There may also be a lot of questions that beginners to a niche ask when they decide to get involved. You need to find these out so you can answer them on your site.
All this information is out there waiting to be discovered by you.
However as a big fan of Reddit myself, I recommend you do more than just lurk.
To get to the really juicy stuff, you’ll want to sign up for an account, interact, contribute and get involved.
Let’s take a look at the best way to do this…
Signing up for a Reddit account
Signing up for a Reddit account simply means coming up with a username and giving up your email address. (I won’t insult your intelligence by including a screenshot of the signup form.)
It is best to consider the username you use as this cannot be changed afterwards. Every post you start, link you submit and comment you make will be assigned to your username and profile.
This is also where the calculation of your karma points will be stored. All Redditors can click your username to check out these details along with your post history if they so choose.
In essence your username and profile is an archival trail of your interests on Reddit and what you’ve said.
With the signup completed (it takes all of 10 seconds), you just have to verify your email address and you are away.
Engage and contribute
Now it’s time to have fun.
Browse the countless rooms, leave comments and vote as you see fit. Interact with the site and get to know how the rules of how subreddits that interest you work.
Engage with others. If you have knowledge to share, leave a comment. Become known within a community as someone that provides value.
If you’ve found a great resource you think will add relevant value, post a link.
This will all help build your karma points. This in turn will show you as someone that is contributing.
Whatever you do, the first links to content that you post should not lead to back to websites you own.
Redditors will sniff you out a mile off…
The Reddit view of self promotion
Redditors won’t stand for blatant self promotion.
The secret behind marketing on Reddit is simply not to market, (in the traditional sense).
If you come to the site with a marketing message to put forward they will rip you to shreds.
That is why becoming part of the community first is the best way to go about submitting anything that endorses what you do.
Even then, it is best to tread lightly when you start adding your own content.
And ensure you have read the subreddit rules first.
Posting (your own) content on to Reddit (the right way)
So, you have browsed through Reddit and gained a helpful insight into your niche, the problems those have that are involved with it and the different brands and products that are mentioned.
You have also been contributing interesting links and comments into your subreddit of choice.
One great way of posting your own content is having something truly worthwhile to offer.
From the information you have gained into your niche this could be a top quality guide that you have created.
Another way is to do a search for the most upvoted content in your subreddit of choice.
Let’s say your site was about Japanese food.
Head to the Japanese food subreddit, press ‘top’ and you will see most upvoted content.
Can you create something in a similar vain that is better?
You can also search the subreddit for a given term and then find out the top posts that are relevant.
Doing this will give you inspiration on what content to create to then post to the subreddit.
My bet would be on an interesting Chinese recipe complete with very good images and detailed instructions.
I would certainly ensure that an email lead capture was present on your article too, (a short recipe ebook or something).
The traffic from Reddit is unlikely to covert into many purchases via affiliate links, however increasing your list is a very real possibility if your content is good enough.
I never post my top 5 best of product lists to Reddit. This would be shameless self promotion and the community would see I was trying to make a buck at their expense.
Reddit is an interesting and very knowledgeable community. You can find information on practically any niche in existence using the site.
As I have mentioned throughout this post, the best way to get the most out of Reddit is to see yourself as a community member first, online income earner second.
Get involved with what it has to offer. Learn from the information on there as well as contribute to it.
Before long you will understand the most natural way of offering some of your own content in the process.
What you gain from being part of the Reddit community is definitely worth the slow game.