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A Brief Guide To Reddit For Publishers
Reddit is beginning to shape and influence the world in ways that are only now becoming apparent, bringing a higher order of organization to content online, and allowing for an evolution in the potential of collaboration. – Blue Glass Blogger
Reddit is one of the biggest social media sites most people don’t use. Not only is it a great source for topic-specific information, discussion and learning, it’s also a huge driver of traffic, boasting more than one billion page-views each month.
In fact, the site is infamous for sometimes sending so much traffic in such a short time that smaller web servers will simply buckle under the onslaught of visitors!
The following article summarizes some of my own experiences with the site, how it became one of my primary sources for very specific news (besides Twitter) and how one might approach the site while trying to promote one’s own work, which is not frowned upon on Reddit but even encouraged if done in the right manner.
IMPORTANT: in order to be “successful” on Reddit you’ll have to participate. Just dumping links and expecting returns won’t work here, just as it won’t work anywhere else.
How It Works
The idea of the site is very simple. Anyone can submit stories to the site’s various forums, known as sub-reddits, and then “redditors” (the site’s users) can vote these items up or down. Reddit calls itself “the front page of the Internet”, because that’s what you see when you first open the site: the front page containing all the most up-voted items of any given day or hour. And once you start subscribing to the right topics the front-page will show you the most popular items in your chosen fields of interest.
How To Get Started
First of all, create an account and play around with the site. By default each new user is subscribed to default “popular” sub-reddits such as “r/funny” or “r/pics” etc. Many of these standard sub-reddits are a bit juvenile and cater to short attention spans à la cat videos. Nothing against cat videos, mind you, but many people take a look at Reddit, they see dirty jokes and “memes” and think that’s all there is to the site.
Therefore it can be helpful to unsubscribe from these default sub-reddits in the beginning and instead start subscribing to sub-reddits relevant to your interest or niche. Finding the right sub-reddits for your topic often isn’t easy, so here are a few guidelines.
How To Find Good Sub-Reddits
Each sub-reddit is referred to as “r/name-of-subreddit” which is also the URL, so by going to “reddit.com/r/technology” you’ll land on the main page of this sub-reddit. On the right part you’ll see the sidebar. This sidebar is very important because you’ll find there the amount of subscribers for this topic and important guidelines what to post, how to post, what not to post.
Furthermore, by looking at the entries submitted to a particular sub-reddit, it will become clear very quickly whether you want to participate or not.
IMPORTANT: Before you submit anything make sure to accumulate at least a minimum of karma points, because otherwise you’ll appear as a spammer and your post will be quickly down voted or even deleted.
Each redditor has a certain karma value which consists of both link karma and comment karma. You get link karma whenever someone up votes your link. You get comment karma whenever someone up votes your comment.
Which Content To Submit
Obvious marketing ploys, generic articles for link baiting purposes or otherwise bland content will get almost certainly rejected. In my experience the content that works on Reddit is often a) very unique (not already shared on Facebook by your aunts and uncles), b) without obvious commercial interest, c) funny, d) controversial or e) all of the above
There’s no use in submitting each one of your blogposts to Reddit. Only pick the best to submit! And even if you have something that you think might pique the interests of hundreds of thousands of redditors, there are a few things to keep in my mind while submitting.
Tips For Submitting Your Own Content
As I’ve already pointed out, the most important part is to participate at first by commenting and voting on other content. Once you get the hang of it and have stashed up on some karma, you can try to submit a link.
In my experience the “success” of a reddit submission depends on (at least) 3 factors (besides its content):
- The sub-reddit you are submitting to
- The title you give your submission
- The timing
1. Choice Of Sub-Reddit
To give a very simple example, if you post a funny cat picture to r/worldnews it will get infinitely down voted because it’s simply irrelevant. On top of that, each sub-reddit hat its own attitude or “mood” which will lean towards certain styles and contents and reject others.
The only way to find out about these tendencies is to subscribe to and participate on a subreddit for a while. This is why just submitting something randomly will always fail.
2. Titling Your Submission
The usual “link-baiting” language of headlines and ads won’t work here. The average redditor will smell shameless self-promotion a mile away, which is a good thing, so make sure to scrape those extra creative juices together and submit your item with a headline that sums up the content or piques interest in a manner which is a) casual, b) funny, c) personal or otherwise human. But again, keep in mind to check the sub-reddit’s guidelines in the sidebar before posting.
Before you submit to a sub-reddit, go to its main-page and look at the activity (“posted X hours ago”). On many of the more popular sub-reddits, Americans have a big majority, so you might want to wait with your submission until either the East or West coast or both are awake. Otherwise your item might get buried. Timing is not as severe here on Twitter, but it does make a difference.
A Selection Of Powerful Sub-Reddits
What sub-reddits you’ll subscribe to depends on your interests of course, but here are some examples for educational topics and publishing, since these are also the main foci of this blog:
r/education 20,819 readers
Tools For Making Using Reddit Easier
The Reddit user-interface isn’t that easy to get used to, but there are some tools and extensions that help improve it:
Reddit Enhancement Suite Browser Extension – browser extension for Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Safari
AlienBlue – terrific Reddit client for IOS (not free, but absolutely worth the money)
Do you use reddit? How do you like it? What do you like about it? What not?