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How to use Reddit for PR and marketing

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Our first post about Reddit prompted some questions and feedback. PR and marketing pros asked how they can use Reddit to get their (or a client’s) product or service in front of the right audience. 

This question is natural coming from a PR or marketing pro, but it shows a lack of understanding of Reddit. The short answer is:

It’s not possible to get a product or service directly in front of an audience via Reddit.

Redditors don’t like having products or services promoted on the site – it goes against the purpose and ethos of Reddit, and is viewed as spam. Why? Because Reddit’s purpose is to allow users to discuss, comment, answer questions, or share relevant links on its huge collection of forums (subreddits).

Subreddits are Reddit pages dedicated to a group (or community). Some of the biggest subreddits are dedicated to movies, technology, science, and aww – for anything that makes you say “Aww”, like puppies, rabbits, or baby pics! 

Subreddits on PR, marketing, leadership, and more

Relevant to Communicate Influence readers is the fact that there are subreddits on podcasting, PR, marketing, entrepreneurship, leadership, and business intelligence. They are great for research, discovering new information or approaches, as well as news and trends.

On Reddit, give to receive

Steven Li, founder and editor at The Rising, an online magazine covering sustainability, the environment, and tech, shares his approach to Reddit – which provides 18 percent of The Rising’s traffic a month.

“On Reddit, you have to give to receive. And, like other platforms, engagement goes hand in hand with the value you deliver through your post,” explains Steven Li. “That’s why it’s often difficult for marketers to leverage.

“I’m not a marketer, but at The Rising, we think of value-add very much the same way. I acknowledge that as a news site, it’s much easier for us to accomplish. When we post an insightful article, the headline helps users navigate whether our piece is worth reading.”

Steven explains that In the early days, when The Rising was far too small to get organic search impressions, it got most of its traffic from Reddit. 

“We primarily chose Reddit as a crucial distribution channel because a lot of our prospects hung out in highly-popular subreddits in our niche,” added Steven.

Focus on delivering value to redditors

“We focused on delivering value to users in specific communities and were deeply focused on the outcomes associated with articles from a thematic perspective. We tested article themes often and eventually developed a content strategy around Reddit based on what we observed.”

In other words, for PR and marketing pros, think before dropping links on Reddit. Is the link truly relevant and will it give users value? I’ve posted links but only where relevant. For example, I did a huge amount of research into Patreon ahead of launching my page and wrote about that here. I posted a link from the article  in the Patreon sub-reddit.

I’ve also posted some relevant links in the PR subreddit, including this interview with a global communications consultant on reputation management and consumer trust. This is a pressing issue at the moment, so it generated a decent amount of discussion on Reddit.

How PR and marketing pros can get started on Reddit

To begin on Reddit, identify groups that you can contribute to, and join them. Do a lot of reading of posts in your chosen subreddits before posting, and look at the style of questions, responses, and the types of things that engage users. 

The outstanding characteristic of redditors is that they help other users by answering questions or offering comments/suggestions. But your questions have to be on topic and not a repeat of something asked a week or a month ago. If you’re using Reddit to find out about something, search relevant subreddits first ahead of posting a question.

The key then is giving and helping others, and using your authentic voice. In my case, I answer a lot of questions asked by younger people or grads in the PR subreddit. Initially I used the podcast subreddit to ask questions about hosting and equipment. Today I can answer questions in the podcast subreddit, now that my knowledge about podcasting has grown.

Using Reddit for PR and marketing

For the comms pro and marketer, the benefit of Reddit is its ability to yield research results. Within your industry, get involved in discussions about a product or service, and ask why people think something works or doesn’t work.

For example, thinking of launching a new product or service? You can do research by finding out what redditors think about an idea first. Be transparent but don’t get lost in a sales pitch. An approach like: “My company is thinking about producing a new type of streaming service that does XY and Z, and at this price point. What do people think? Would you use it?” People will respond honestly – sometimes brutally so – and also give ideas.

Next, Reddit is a good place to develop connections. People will occasionally DM with information, resources, or a service that’s useful to your work. I’ve connected with podcasters around the world and comms pros in Toronto via Reddit.

Always remember, Reddit is unlike any other social media and it shouldn’t be used in a heavy-handed way. It’s a gentle, careful, and patient approach.

Do you have any success stories with Reddit? Share them with us and we’ll share them with our readers!

© Communicate Influence. Please see Communicate Influence’s Terms and Conditions for information on sharing, adapting or attributing content.

Sheelagh Caygill

Sheelagh Caygill is an award-winning writer, journalist, podcaster, and poet based in Toronto, Canada.

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