9
15
Jesse Aaron

Reddit: Five Tips to Earn Front Page Status

By: Jesse Aaron | October 10, 2013 | 
27

Reddit- Five Tips to Earn Front Page StatusBy Jesse Aaron

In June 2005, the cyber-culture phenomenon known as Reddit was born.

Marked as “the front page of the internet” Reddit has the stats to boast.

With 60-70 percent of the front page containing images, it’s an appealing place to be.

Not only is it visually appealing, it influences the way we communicate, our purchasing habits, and our perceptions of events, people, and companies.

As strategic communicators, PR professionals have already integrated social listening into their toolkit, and Reddit is an optimal place to source honest, valuable opinions, and measure dispositions.

A successful PR strategy that uses Reddit as a viable communication channel can:

  •        Drive traffic to a website or philanthropy campaign
  •        Increase awareness about an event or brand
  •        Improve brand reputation
  •        Extend social reach
  •        Fuel communication objectives

Reddit is more than half the size of Twitter and shows no signs of ceasing growth. If you are already active on the visually appealing social networks, you may find Reddit to be the most promising in terms of ROI.

Earn Front Page Reddit Status

  1. Know your subreddit. Just like your PR professor taught you, research your target publics and know your audience. Is your photo a cute animal? That belongs in aww, not gaming. Are you trying to feature something finite such as software for contractors? That belongs in construction, not technology. In this case, while the submission is relevant and may be very helpful to users (and even drive a few sales), it’s never going to make it to the front page. Small subreddits are virtually impossible to hit front page with.
  2. Really know your subreddit. I can’t stress this enough. We have complete access to a medium (the subreddit) and all of its users (subreddit subscribers). Spend at least an hour taking notes of the most successful submissions, reading the comments, and deeply thinking about why it is successful.
  3. Bring something new to the table. Reddit is not a place for the faint-hearted. If you’re submitting a photo that has already been submitted, is monotonous, or is in the wrong subreddit, there are two possible results: Redditors will downvote your submission into oblivion, pointing out every reason your submission is terrible, leaving you with a mediocre insult or your submission will quietly vanish into a void of nothingness. Avoid these scenarios by following steps one and two when planning a submission.
  4. Be yourself. Really, be a real person. From the link headline to the comments section, you must come across as human. Popular Reddit headlines are, “This [picture] [did something] to me” and “This [picture] is why [problem exists].”
  5. Luck and patience. Many Redditors suggest there are optimal times to post content for higher visibility. This is more applicable for the less popular subreddits, where the majority of subscribers might fit a certain demographic. For all purposes, always remember that luck and patience are factors in the front-page equation. If at first you don’t succeed, try 20 more times.

What Gets on the Front Page of Reddit 

The reality is clever memes, absurd photos, and other forms of ridiculousness will always be on the front page of Reddit.

top three spots on the front page

Consider this: According to the Google Ad Planner estimate, as of May 2013, the median Reddit user is male (59 percent), 25–34 years of age, and is connecting from the United States (68 percent)

The key takeaway is to understand Reddit does have a leniency in its preferred content and worldviews. That being said, it’s also important to understand that subreddits have their own front page; meaning the demographic listed above only applies to the general community, not specific ones.

This is an example of a popular subreddit, PhotoShopBattles. These are the top three photo links from its front page. In this subreddit users provide a non-manipulated image and other users will submit a photoshopped version of the original image in the comments section.

photoshopbattles top three spots

That’s cool, but why should I care?

Learning how subreddits operate allows us to participate appropriately, which increases our chances of reaching the front page.

Take Action for Reddit Popularity

Do one of your clients have an album of high quality photos or a funny staff member? Find the best-fitting photo (something hilarious) and get permission from them to submit it to this subreddit (make sure they understand what’s happening to the photo). If it performs well on this subreddit, it has a much higher chance of hitting the main front page.

But where’s the value in that?

Create a post on your client’s blog and feature all of the submissions from the comment section (the suitable-for-work ones) and mention this feature post in the comment section. As long as all parties involved give you the green light, this is a great way to boost the fun side of a client and drive some extra site traffic (and possible sales).

On Reddit there are hundreds of paths to hitting the front page. Images are the most traveled. Retrace the steps of front page images, stop, and think, “Is this something we can do?”

Was this useful? Do you have any suggestions for others wondering how to get a photo on the front page? Please share in the comments below!

About Jesse Aaron


Jesse Aaron is a professional blogger with a passion for homebrewing. He writes on a variety of topics on Mashbout.  

27 comments
GeeklessTech
GeeklessTech

Reddit can be great when you hit that first page, I'm talking 40K views great. However they are the toughest by far with ghost banning. Even lightly promoting your own stuff will land off the networks. It's not jail (as in Twitter jail, which is temporary), you're gone and will need open a new account. It's too control spamming, but they take it to another level. That's what a friend told me anyway. :)

Latest blog post: How Do You “Talk” Online?

AmyVernon
AmyVernon

The biggest thing that marketers/PR folks need to have in mind when it comes to Reddit is that if its users even *think* that you're using Reddit to promote your or your client's content, they will "out" you and bury you and prevent your domain from being able to be submitted. If you're going to "use" Reddit, do so with caution and be extremely transparent about it.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

You already know I'm a big fan of your stuff, Jesse! Thank you for contributing to our crazy little home. 

I make fun of Mr. D at least daily because he is addicted to Reddit. We won't tell him I now have a business reason to get on there.

yvettepistorio
yvettepistorio

Reddit scares me...honestly. I've run searches and looked into subreddits and it's overwhelming like @KateFinley said. But these are great tips and I'm willing to give it another try!

KateFinley
KateFinley

Awesome! I have to admit, Reddit still feel so foreign to me. I've gotten lost more than once ... it just feels overwhelming.

jasonkonopinski
jasonkonopinski

Always good to meet a fellow homebrewer! Front page is cool and all, but I think there is far more value to targeting subreddits. In general, Redditors are incredibly suspicious and critical of marketing messages, so buzz marketing Reddit needs to be very carefully considered. The general population of Reddit often views themselves as white knights of the internet (once you get past the senseless memes) and you really, really, really need to understand the demographic and ecosystem before dipping your toes in.

Latest blog post: Poetry Friday: Ezra Pound

Jesse Aaron
Jesse Aaron

@GeeklessTech Thanks for sharing your insights! You should check out this example, where a marketing/sales/pr guy from a Beef Jerky company demonstrated how to successfully "promote" a product on Reddit. Here: http://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/d0t3q/by_request_discount_beef_jerky/  The reason I think this was so successful is because: 1) he identified a "pain point" in the relative subreddit  2) he responded to the "pain point" in a timely manner  3) he provided real and exclusive value to the subreddit  4) he disclosed his brand and role like a real person would in a normal conversation (not marketing-speak) and 5) he follow-up and even posted the results of his success ($23,000 in net sales).

Jesse Aaron
Jesse Aaron

@AmyVernon Yes! If I could upvote you a hundred times I would :) That's the core message I'd like to spread - become a redditor first, learning how subreddits differ from the defaults and front page, engage others with tone of the subreddit and try your hand at contributing content. After the PR world does this - without any ulterior motives, they can start viewing Reddit as a viable communication/promotional channel. Being transparent is very key, as you've noted, but it can be greatly beneficial if there is a clear pain point or demand in the subreddit for what your company sells/represents. Have you ever seen the Bridgford Jerky Reddit campaign?

IpjRobson
IpjRobson

@yvettepistorio @KateFinley 

Reddit definitely has its own type of culture going on. It can be harsh if you're not used it. 

I think I was slightly desensitized to it because I played a lot video games in the past. 

At least that's what I think.

Jesse Aaron
Jesse Aaron

@yvettepistorio hehe, yes, Reddit does tend to scare some people off - especially if you don't understand the social norms. But definitely give it another shot! There are subreddits with less than 1k subscribers which turn out to be awesome places to connect with people in substantial discussions. 

Jesse Aaron
Jesse Aaron

@KateFinley Thanks for the comment Kate! I'd suggest running a search on reddit for things you're personally interested in and subscribing to subreddits that appeal to you. Check out the submissions that perform well and try your hand at submitting similar content. And hop in some discussions - you'll pick up on the social norms pretty quickly. Once you become a redditor for your own personal interests, it's much easier to understand where PR has the potential to fit in.

Jesse Aaron
Jesse Aaron

@jasonkonopinski Couldn't agree more with you Jason. Subreddit targetting is definitely the ideal path to a substantial social listening campaign, getting feedback on a brand or product, or even sourcing leads. However, landing the main front page with "reddit-safe" photos and copy has been achieved many times - sometimes innocently and sometimes as a well-planned strategy. Also, it can't hurt to simultaneously go for the front page with one campaign while appealing to related, niche subreddits.

Also, any pumpkin-flavored brews underway for you? (I'm thinking of trying out a pumpkin IPA but might go for blueberry).

JoeCardillo
JoeCardillo

@Jesse Aaron @jasonkonopinski "Know your subreddit" could almost be its' own tag line for PR/marketing in general....it's sort of like startups here in in SF that spend all this time pitching TechCrunch when they could be developing relationships with the mid-majors that TC'ers read / pay attention to. 

jasonkonopinski
jasonkonopinski

@KateFinley I have a few subreddits that I read regularly, but ordinarily stay off the front page.  

There's enormous potential to use relevant subreddits for proving grounds on new product launches. A quick anecdote: the founders of a small bicycle products company posted their Kickstarter on r/bicycling. The product was an adjustable bike seat (aero position to road and back, on the fly) and quick-release aero bars.  They were fully funded in less than three days. 

Latest blog post: Poetry Friday: Ezra Pound

Jesse Aaron
Jesse Aaron

@ginidietrich Precisely why I pointed it out :) It's time to face your fears!! Seriously though, that thread has a very honest and substantial discussion about the "fusion" of reddit & PR. What the OP meant, was that reddit hates when someone is trying to use reddit for their own good without contributing any value to the community (a subreddit, for example).

Jesse Aaron
Jesse Aaron

@JoeCardillo @jasonkonopinski Thanks for the comment Joe! That's a very interesting comparison and I think you're spot on. I think submitting to TC, Mashable, even NYT - hitting all the big dogs is necessary - but for a minimal time investment. I'd agree the majority of time/resources should be funneled into building relationships with the mid-tiers you've noted.

Jesse Aaron
Jesse Aaron

@jasonkonopinski Well not directly from the submission link - but think strategically. Links with "utm" set can be included in the description box or in comments. Also, the photo could just be hosted on the brand's blog.