Reddit has a huge and active user base — which makes it ideal for Grow and Convert’s community content promotion technique.
Yet… most marketers are afraid of Reddit.
Despite its huge traffic potential, marketers stay away.
They rationalize with excuses:
“They’re going to roast me and I’ll get banned”
“The traffic quality must suck”
“Redditors aren’t the type of people who would buy”
“It’s too much time, the ROI is bad.”
I don’t blame them.
After all, Reddit is a site with a reputation of destroying self-serving marketers. Look at this simple chart of the journey of a marketer on Reddit:
Ok that was a joke. But like every joke, there is some truth to it. And the truth is, most marketers crash and burn even before they begin. That’s why they think Reddit is bad for traffic.
But I’ll say this: it IS entirely possible for you to get lots of high-quality traffic while adding tons of value to the Reddit community… if you do it right.
And I’ve done it. Not once, not twice, but multiple times for two different startups.
Here are some of the results I’ve achieved while posting on Reddit:
This was from my work at my previous startup, where I had to promote articles that talked about back health and ergonomics. It received a total of 620 upvotes.
I’ve recently used the same principles (which I’ll be sharing with you) to do the exact same for a new blog post about Instagram that I’ve written. Here are the results:
These upvote counts can be impressive to marketers that don’t know how to do this on Reddit. For example, here’s Devesh’s comment when I outlined this in a Google Doc:
In this post, I’ll first outline my Reddit approach: what I think is essential to being able to drive traffic from Reddit. Then, I’ll share a case study where I’ve put these principles into action.
How To Succeed On Reddit
If you can’t be active, Reddit isn’t for you
This may be cliche advice — but the real key to success in using the community content promotion technique is adding value to the group wayyyyyyy before you even begin promoting.
And this is especially true if you want to succeed on Reddit.
There is no way around it. You can’t just be a casual user. You can’t lurk. You can’t pretend to like Reddit for the sake of it.
To see success, you have to become a Redditor. By that, I don’t mean you have to literally transform into Snoo. I mean — you would enjoy Reddit… even if you didn’t have something to promote. As the Reddit admins say:
“It’s perfectly fine to be a redditor with a website, it’s not okay to be a website with a reddit account.”
That’s rule #1, #2 and #3. You have to be active.
If you can’t dedicate time to be active, then stop here. Reddit isn’t for you.
(I’ll even venture to say that the community content promotion technique isn’t for you. You’re better off buying paid traffic.)
But… if you think you can do this, and you think you want to figure out Reddit, then keep on reading.
Reddit isn’t just for business. Reddit IS fun. And Redditors can be fun to hang out with. They are snarky, sarcastic, crack great jokes and come up with the craziest ideas.
Have fun with it. Let loose. Don’t always be “business-ey”.
(Me having fun)
That makes you boring.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s talk about some guidelines you should remember.
Commit These Reddit Principles To Memory
1. Accumulate Karma Points
Before you even begin posting anything about your business, you need karma points. But how many do you need?
At least a few hundred karma points.
Now, I want to be clear. Karma points in itself mean nothing. It doesn’t work like Domain Authority, or Klout.
Having more karma points doesn’t mean you’re a better Redditor. Having more karma points doesn’t mean you’re more respected. Having more karma points doesn’t mean your submissions automatically get more upvotes or weight than other people.
The only reason you’re accumulating karma points is simply to prove that you are an active Reddit user. That’s all.
That being said, most large subreddits require you to have a minimum amount of karma before you can begin posting anyway, so gather them.
(I’ll teach you how to do that in a short while.)
If you’re wondering, here’s my profile and how much karma I have:
(Fun Fact: some of my promotional posts have been given Reddit Gold.)
2. Age Your Account
If your account is too new, you will be barred from posting too regularly, as well as posting in larger subreddits. Get around this by creating your new Reddit account 2 weeks before you even begin your Reddit promotion strategy.
3. Keep Your History Clean
The #1 activity Redditors love the most once they discover you’re a self-promotional marketer is to dig through your entire Reddit history — and point out every single promotional posts you’ve ever done.
Yes, it is scary. Yes, they can be pretty vicious. But don’t let them deter you from promoting.
If you truly have great content, and all you desire is to help the community and add value, don’t let a few naysayers bring you down.
However, to help you with your cause, I’ll suggest you keep your history clean from promotional posts. Here are 2 rules of thumb that I personally follow:
- I post maximally 1-biz related content per page of my Reddit history.
(Only one promotional post for the entire history.)
- I delete any “promotional” submissions that do not get > 10 upvotes in 48 hours.
4. Don’t Spam
I know I’m being long-winded here, but it bears repeating. Don’t spam subreddits.
No matter how helpful you think your content is, Redditors will call you out for spam if you post about your site too often within a short span of time.
Post a promotional post in the same subreddit once every 2-3 weeks.
5. Preventing Spam Filters
Every subreddit has its own automated spam filter, and this may cause some of your posts to be “caught in it”. Prevent this from happening by participating in the subreddits you intend to promote in.
6. Reddit Participation Tips
Imagine yourself using Twitter. How do you look active? You don’t just hit ‘like’ on tweets – that doesn’t matter. You share articles, retweet interesting tweets, reply to people, start discussions and message other people.
Reddit isn’t all that different.
Just like “Likes”, upvoting doesn’t really matter. Upvoting contributes neither to your Reddit history (in which Redditors will dig through), nor does it allow you to accumulate karma.
If you want to look like an active Redditor, do it like how you would do Twitter. Comment. Ask questions. Start discussions. Post about interesting articles (not just yours.) Reply and message people.
That’s all there is to it.
Still think it’s too much hard work? Fret not.
In the next section, I’ll show you different ways of being active… in a fun, easy way without stressing with business-related posts every day.
How To Be Active on Reddit
1. Subscribe to subreddits of your interests
What is Reddit? Reddit is essentially a giant forum with multiple sub-forums spanning different interests. Which also means, there will be at least a few subreddits that cater to what you love. It can be anything – your hobby, your work, the country you live in, your favourite shows – there WILL be a subreddit for it.
Find those subreddits and subscribe to them. This makes it more fun when promoting on Reddit, as you’re simply participating in what you love anyway.
I personally subscribe to r/singapore (my country) and r/bboy (my hobby).
2. Participate in popular subreddits
There are a few general subreddits that talk about almost everything. These subreddits are super active, with hundreds of threads that generate thousands of upvotes and comments.
Participate in them to earn yourself quick karma points.
Here’s an example of what I did recently. I merely mentioned “bird-watching” as a cheap, obscure hobby, and received 909 upvotes:
(Karma points achieved instantly!)
Here are some of these subreddits you should participate in:
3. Submit links
Read an article you liked? Don’t just share it on Twitter and Facebook. Share that link in relevant subreddits too.
Here’s an example of what I mean:
How To Post on Reddit
Now that you’ve understood the general principles of participation in Reddit, I’m going to teach you how to post so that you stand a chance of getting attention, upvotes and the traffic you want.
Headlines on Reddit
Since Reddit is all about headlines, a good headline matters a lot.
Here are some tips on how to write a good headline on Reddit:
1. Different subreddits prefer different types of headlines
Click the ‘Top’ section of the subreddits you want to promote to.
Look at the headlines that have gathered the most number of upvotes of all time. Reverse-engineer those headlines. What do members of this subreddit like? How is the structure? How can you emulate it?
2. No clickbait.
Throw away everything you’ve studied about blog headlines. Redditors abhor clickbait. So, as a general rule of thumb, no clickbait titles.
Instead, use personal and friendly headlines, something like this:
3. TWO of the best headlines formulas I’ve personally used
Here are 2 of the best headlines formulas that I’ve personally tested and used to great effect:
- Need [x]? Here’s [y]
Tensed shoulders? Try these few stretches (very work-friendly!)
- [specific time before] I [did something]. I will now [explain to you/share even more detail/teach you how/explain what happened].
3 months ago I posted the exact process on how I sold $150,000 selling T-shirt on Amazon. I will now explain the exact steps you can take to earn your first $1,000,000 selling on Amazon via the Shopify integration with ZERO inventory.
Body of your posts on Reddit
Writing the body is simple. Share 50% – 80% of your original blog post (formatted nicely) as a text-post. Then, leave a link back to your blog post and ask them to check out the rest of the content.
Make sure (I repeat: make sure) that whatever you’re sharing (i.e the 50% – 80%) is still valuable enough to stand on its own. Don’t half-ass it and pretend to share a “teaser” just to get people to click.
This isn’t your email list. If you’re going to do that, please go away. Reddit doesn’t want you.
If the subreddit allows, include a few internal links within the body of the content.
If you have images and gifs, consider using Reddit-approved sites to host it (e.g. Imgur, Gfycat).
Once you’ve published the post, stay around and reply to comments. This is social media. People expect you to respond. Don’t simply post and leave. That just makes you a spammer.
Engage, engage, engage.
One of the best ways I’ve discovered to make you look genuine and ready to help is to tell people you’re staying around and answering questions.
Here’s a brilliant example:
(This is my co-worker by the way.)
Cross Posting on Reddit
While it is important that you do not spam, here are two things you should understand:
- Not everyone will have seen your post.
- Your content will likely be useful for some other related subreddits (unless you’re in a really obscure niche.)
With that in mind, feel free to cross-post your original post to other subreddits.
Here’s an example where I cross-posted from r/fitness to r/DotA2:
To prevent “spamming-related” callouts from other Redditors, remember these few rules:
- Change or tweak the headline
- Add a [x-post from y-subreddit] like my above example
- Cross-post to other subreddits every 1-2 weeks instead of immediately spamming other subreddits.
Reddit Case Study
This is not theoretical. This is not a process I regurgitated after reading the first 3 links on Google.
I religiously follow this process when it comes to promoting content from ReferralCandy, and our new product, CandyBar.
Here’s what I mean:
I recently interviewed several influencers on how they would build a following on Instagram from scratch. I decided to promote it on Reddit, following my own framework.
I posted it to r/startups, and this was what happened:
439 upvotes, and 80 comments. It stayed on the 1st page of r/startups for 2 days long. (It’s also now #10 on the all-time upvoted piece on r/startups. Coincidentally, #6 is also mine.)
I later cross-posted to r/webmarketing, which had these results:
Not the most number of upvotes I know, but considering the size of r/webmarketing, it’s quite remarkable. In fact, it is NOW the top most-upvoted post on r/webmarketing.
Then, I cross-posted it to r/entrepreneur.
Not too shabby. 442 upvotes in a subreddit with hundreds of posts a day.
Total traffic for this post in the past 9 days since I started?
(And that’s only from Reddit.)
It’s Your Turn
Most people immediately assume that Reddit only sends poor traffic, and it’s not a good use of their time.
They can’t be more wrong.
If you target your subreddits well, you will get people who are interested in your content and your product/services.
Be patient, follow my process and become an active Redditor yourself, and you should see your traffic skyrocket.
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