Audience Development

How to use Reddit to build brand awareness and engagement

Reddit for publishers

Social media network Reddit recently announced a new funding round, in which it plans to raise up to $700 million. The company is thought to be taking advantage of a bounce in its own financial influence among small time traders to triple its valuation to over $10 billion. But from a publisher perspective, Reddit’s potential is real.

  • With more than 430 million monthly active users making 1.6 billion visits a month to over 100,000 communities or subreddits, Reddit represents a real audience-development opportunity for publishers. But until fairly recently, it has been relatively rare for digital publishers to give Reddit much attention.
  • Seen as a ‘UGC free-for-all’ where millions of users posted indiscriminately on every topic imaginable, the site wasn’t considered brand-safe by most agencies, advertisers and  publishers. But looking at its own unfulfilled ad-revenue potential, management embarked on a huge clean-up effort about three years ago and is now reaping the rewards.
  • Reddit posted $100 million in quarterly advertising revenue for the first time in the quarter ended June 2021, a 192% increase on the same period last year. The growth has come after it abandoned programmatic advertising for native ads sold through its direct sales channels or on its Ads Platform.
How to use Reddit

Referral traffic from Reddit is consistent for publishers that have invested the time to build a Reddit strategy, with occasional spikes as . Publishers can also use the site to develop content ideas from researching trending topics to engaging with audiences directly. Here are five ideas for engaging audiences on Reddit.

Create a strong profile
Reddit profiles allow publishers to post to their own page and invite users to follow. The Reddit Partnerships Toolkit offers step-by-step advice on how to set up profile that will allow you to post content, start conversations and moderate comments. It highlights The Washington Post’s profile as an example of publisher best practise.

Be original and authentic
Redditors don’t respond well to content that can be found on other social media platforms so reposting from your other profiles won’t work. Post content that contributes to the conversation, answering or asking questions. Social marketing guru Jeff Bullas also recommends being honest. “Don’t try to trick Redditors into anything. Communicate and interact the same way a person would, or Redditors will roast you.”

Join the conversation
Publishers can use Reddit to introduce potential readers to their content, but they should avoid being too promotional. Washington Post reporter Gene Park spearheaded the paper’s activities on Reddit and says it’s crucial to be part of the conversation rather than actively selling anything. He gives the example of an article about the death of the electric guitar he posted to the guitar subreddit saying simply, “you might enjoy discussing this.” It became the most upvoted piece in the subreddit’s history.

Take the conversation to your content
Many journalists use Reddit threads as inspiration and even to research trending topics and find source material for their articles.  Publishers can use Reddit’s embed tools to feature and attribute Reddit images, comments, and posts into their own content. Publishers cited by Reddit for their regular use of embeds include Time and Huffington Post.

Set up your own AMAs
AMAs (Ask Me Anything) on Reddit are Q&A sessions and they offer publishers excellent opportunities to engage with Redditors. There are several steps that you need to go through in order and in her Reddit Makeover series, audience engagement editor Jessie Y. Shi outlines the steps for organising a successful AMA. High on the list are host expertise and credibility and topic relevancy and newsworthiness.

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