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How Can Publishers Utilize Reddit?

The 'Front page of the internet' is a wildly popular platform

16Aug

Reddit is one of the top 10 largest sites in the US, with some 300 million unique users per month racking up 14 billion page views per month. If you’re not familiar with the site, Reddit is a platform for sharing content amongst communities, called ‘subreddits’. Currently there are 45,000 of these subreddits, and each will have their own culture and their own set of rules (on top of the wider site rules), which is a key element to understand when talking about Reddit. The site is overseen by volunteer moderators - unpaid users who care about the particular community - who maintain the content and conversation of the site.

What makes Reddit such an interesting site is that it is dominated by the younger generations, with 79% of its users between the ages of 18 and 34. This offers publishers a specifically young audience only rivalled by the likes of Snapchat. Perform well on Reddit and you can be fairly certain that your content is resonating with the younger demographic. Moreover, Reddit’s content is democratically promoted. Uninteresting or low value content will be voted down, whereas quality content that engages with the audience could make its way to the front page of a subreddit. Speaking at the Digital Publishing Innovation Summit this July 11 - 12 in New York, Reddit’s Head of News and Journalism, Anna Kim, presented on how publishers can get the most out of the online hub.

Reddit is often the source of ‘viral’ stories for other publishers as well as being a platform for the content itself. One example Anna gives is ‘Accidental Wes Anderson’, a subreddit dedicated to real-world buildings and locations that have a similar aesthetic to director’s movies. The story was reported by publishers like Time and VICE, and was a story that all-but guaranteed strong engagement given how well it performed on Reddit.

For publishers, Reddit has worked hard to position itself as a source as well as a platform. It allows publishers to group subreddits that are relevant to their audience and only see a feed of those, for example, so that these publishers can see what’s been trending and decide whether or not to include it in a story. Reddit also recently integrated its data with Crowdtangle - ‘It’s similar to how you’re tracking Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter posts. You can see what is over performing on Reddit and have some metrics attached to that to determine what you might want to cover or what angles you might want to take.’

Publishers can also input their information into Reddit’s tracking software to bring up ‘all link posts related to your domain that’s been posted by other users on Reddit. And you will see this in the way that you see anything on Reddit. So, what is ‘Hot’? That’s your stuff that is trending - getting the most up-votes, the most common engagement. What are the newest posts that are being posted from your site? And then, you can also see your top content from the past 24 hours, the past month, to the past year.’ Essentially, this can give publishers a good idea as to the communities that are actually talking about their content and what exactly the discussion is.

For publishers looking to engage younger internet users, active Reddit use should be a serious consideration. Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian had this advice for publishers: ‘Imagine being invited to a dinner table where people are all discussing an article you wrote. How would you engage with them? This is exactly how you should think about engaging on Reddit.’ This means relevance is key. If your brand is an expert in a given field, approach the relevant subreddit’s audience, share interesting content, and perhaps even field questions. Honest engagement with the community through valuable content and insight is the only way to get ahead on one of the internet’s most tribal sites. Bare-faced marketing will be rejected just as quickly as genuine quality content will be welcomed. 

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