Reddit is a fickle beast. One day, it can be immensely good to you, driving your traffic so high it literally breaks your website (the infamous Reddit “hug of death”). Other days, your content is down-voted into oblivion.
As a consumption tool for what’s hot and trending, there’s nearly no other platform that comes close to Reddit. Buzzfeed pulls much of its content from there. Videos get picked up on your Facebook feed hours, or even days, after they’ve already been seen on Reddit. To provide some context for how massively popular the site has become, it receives more than 174 million unique views each month viewing a total of six billion pages. In comparison, the New York Times only cracks a mere 28 million unique views.
Unfortunately, with Reddit, there is no editor who can give you a simple yes or no on your pitch. Your fate depends on the whim of the digital masses. For some reason, a vision of Russell Crowe yelling “ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?” to the coliseum in Gladiator comes to mind.
So, what’s the secret to crack Reddit? Here are a few steps to get you started:
- When in doubt, don’t: The first secret is probably the best piece of advice I can give you. It’s this: If in doubt as to whether you should share something on Reddit…don’t. The masses can quickly turn on you and the brand you are promoting – which could lead to a backlash on Twitter, forums around the Web and beyond. Make sure you do your research before even considering a post. Lurk around the Subreddits you’d like to win over (but don’t go too deep…things get weird fast), and then weigh whether those reading what you post will actually enjoy it. Generally, if you wouldn’t read it yourself on your free time – don’t publish it.
- Make yourself a known entity: There’s no worse red flag for someone publishing content than if they are operating off brand new account. Using the platform’s interface, you can look back at someone’s publishing history. If it’s empty, or worse, full of promotional material – that user will likely be down voted and banned. So instead, much like on other social networks, get into conversations. Pick fights. Upvote cat videos. Whatever you have to do, get involved before you start posting.
- The title is everything: Simple click bait might work for Buzzfeed (“Five reasons you’re broke – you wouldn’t believe number three!”), but readers on Reddit will inevitably trash you if you try to pull that stunt. Instead, get creative. Look for ways to entice the reader while being honest and also respecting his or her intelligence.
- The medium is the message: If you link back to your company’s blog or website, you’ll likely get flagged as what’s called “blog spam” – e.g. people posting that are just looking for traffic to their own site. When possible, it’s best to link to a major publication for a trend-based story or Imgur, an image hosting website, for graphs, infographics and charts. Moderators specifically look at the content’s source. If your brand is a repeat offender, you run the risk that all links to that site could potentially be blocked.
What all this is to say is that Reddit isn’t Twitter, and it’s certainly not Facebook. Any foray into the behemoth social platform should be taken carefully and strategically. If you play your cards right, your traffic could go through the roof. If you play them wrong…well…I’ll leave you to find out what happens.