When most people think about growing or getting traffic to your blog, podcast or even just a basic website, you probably think of the usual suspects: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and/or if you are lucky enough to have a large one- your email list. The reality is the traditional social media channels – especially Facebook and Twitter- tend to perform badly for driving loads and loads of traffic to your new blog post, unless you are writing about cat videos, the latest meme, or Buzzfeed Quizzes. (Seriously, these need to end. I mean have you seen this quiz. And, this one. And oh this one).
However when done right, there’s an amazing traffic generator that you can tap any day right under your fingertips. You don’t need to write about celebrities, uncrustables, and dare I say, crap, to do it. Heck, many of you probably visited the site at some point earlier today. It’s Reddit.
Now, I know what you are thinking. You may be envisioning Reddit – as it’s been stereotyped- as a place for geeks, hardcore video gamers and people, who still live in their parent’s basement, who hate the world and angrily troll strangers. Yes, there is some of that, but there is also a tremendous amount of value and potential. It’s not only a fantastic tool to learn how to build thriving, sustainable communities online. But, it’s also one heck of a market research and awareness tool.
What is Reddit?
There’s a reason Reddit has been nicknamed the front page of the Internet. More than 113 million people visit Reddit each month. The site as a whole is comprised of thousands of subreddits on just about any topic that you can think of. Each subreddit functions as it’s own little – or in many cases not-so-little community within Reddit, as many of which have more than 50,000 subscribers. There’s literally a subreddit for just about anything from entrepreneurship and blogging to Okcupid, gifs and even one on jerky (yes, the meat kind).
Understanding Reddit Lingo and Culture
Each social media site has it’s own culture and etiquette. Reddit is different than just about any site you will come across. That’s one of the reasons why I think many people steer away from it.
At it’s very basic, Reddit is a place where you can share, cool, informative and/or entertaining images, videos, links and stories from around the web. All of the content is curated by the avid Reddit community through a series of upvotes and downvotes. The more upvotes a submission gets, the more prominence the post receives.
Just like any online community, Reddit has adopted it’s own lingo and formatting styles. For more details, I would encourage you to check out this post from Mashable, as it does a great job of explaining this aspect.
Developing Street Cred on Reddit
On Facebook, you have likes. On, Twitter, you have followers. And on Reddit, you have karma points. You have a chance to earn karma by submitting links and commenting on others’ posts. The more link and comment karma points you get, the more perceived credibility that you have on Reddit.
The content submitted on each subreddit is categorized based on a system of upvotes and downvotes. The more upvotes you get, the more visibility your post gets in the specific subreddit you submitted it to. Then, if it goes viral, it can wind up being on the “front page” of all of Reddit. This can of course lead to major exposure.
However, please don’t use this as an excuse to sign up for a Reddit account and start posting links to all your blog posts right now. All that will accomplish is getting tons of downvotes, negative link karma for your account, a mob of Angry Redditors and potentially even getting your account flagged as spam/blocked. Not good.
Literally, there are two groups you don’t want to piss off on the Internet: mommy bloggers (anybody remember Advil moms?) and Redditors. Both can wreck havoc on your brand – personal and professional.
Now, that you hopefully understand the basics I wanted to share the comprehensive step by step guide for how I used Reddit to grow my blog’s traffic.
Identifying Subreddits To Participate In
Now, that you are committed to using Reddit. The first place to start is to find relevant subreddits to your topic/area. I don’t care how niche your blog or topic area is, there’s probably at least one or two subreddits tied to it.
To see if there are popular subreddits in your niche, there are some awesome resources that you can use. One of my favorites is to start by skimming through the Find a Reddit subreddit. So meta, I know.
To see more broader results, I recommend going to reddit.com/yourtopichere. Then, you can type in a topic, and Reddit will see if there any applicable subreddits on it.
A few other resources to check out for related subreddits are:
Using Reddit For Keyword Research (Hint it’s better than Google!)
The more I use Reddit, the more I realize that it might be a better search researching tool than even Google Adwords Keyword Planner <insert gasp>.
While Reddit’s internal search feature http://www.reddit.com/search) isn’t that great, the external search features more than make up for it. My two favorites are http://metareddit.com and http://www.searchreddit.com.
For example say you are starting a blog about blogging. You can search for, blogging, in this search bar, and it will pull up every applicable subreddit and recent conversation around blogging on Reddit. This not only gives you an idea of what subreddits to follow/subscribe to, but also gives you the opportunity to see where you may want to start commenting and adding value.
In this case, there are more than 25,000 applicable search results.
That’s a lot of results to go through. You may want to hone in a bit more. Maybe, you only want to talk and share tips for WordPress-specific bloggers. So, you can create a new search for, “WordPress blogging tips.”
This creates a much more manageable list of 600+ results. You can start by compiling a list of the top subreddits as well as top threads. This is not only a great way to see what’s already out there on Reddit but also what types of content go over well when shared. This can also be a really great place to generate post ideas for your blog. (hint, hint!)
Start building rapport in various subreddits
Once your initial research is done, it’s now time to start diving into a few subreddits. Because it is easy to succumb to information overload, I recommend starting with no more than 3. If you are not comfortable diving right in, spend a week or two just listening to what others are saying.
Then, slowly start by adding comments. It doesn’t have to be a time-suck. Maybe, a couple a day, which should only take 10-15 minutes of your time? Just remember to be genuinely helpful and resist sharing links to your own pieces.
Don’t be alarmed if no one responds to you right away. It takes time – and may take upwards of 20 comments before you build up any comment karma.
How often should I post?
Once you have some comments under your belt, it’s important to start sharing links. To make it not so overwhelming, try and stick to posting in the same 2-3 subreddits. It could be a link to a great blog post you read, an infographic or even a funny video.
In general, just like when I started on Twitter, I tend to stick with the 80:20 algorithm. That’s 80% comments/shares of others; 20% – my links. The most important point is to be responsive to all comments- non spammy ones- on anything you share or comment about. That’s the best way to build rapport without being viewed as a spammer or “marketer.”
Whew, thanks for sticking with me to the end of this post on how to get started on Reddit! I’ll dive deeper into analyzing content and tracking your progress (re: analytics) in a follow-up post. If you have any questions for how to use Reddit, please leave a comment below or feel free to email me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org. I typically respond within 48 hours.