SOCIAL MEDIA / JUL. 28, 2014
version 2, draft 2

How to Promote Your Stuff on Reddit

Anyone who has ever visited Reddit knows that it’s a very large mixture of interests and communities. The only thing that these communities seem to have in common is that they largely frown upon self-promotion.

I’ve worked with companies that wanted to promote products or articles on Reddit, and through months of trying different techniques and methods of posting self-made content to Reddit, I’ve discovered a couple of useful and interesting things.

Reddit is picky and is completely community-driven

Most Internet users are aware of Reddit’s upvote/downvote system. A post that is very popular and contributes a lot to the discussion (or has cats) tends to do well and gets a lot of upvotes. The more upvotes a post has, the higher up on the community’s front page. Posts that do very well may even end up on the front page of Reddit itself.

The potential Reddit has for driving traffic can literally break websites. Small websites that produce something cool and then have done well on Reddit can be flooded by so many visitors that the site completely shuts down. While this isn’t great in and of itself, the fact that Reddit can drive that much traffic by itself makes it the perfect place to market your stuff as long as you know how to use it effectively.

Before you even begin posting content, you have to understand exactly how subreddits function. Each community on Reddit is known as a subreddit, and these subreddits all have their own rules and guidelines for posting content. Some communities may not let you post self-promoted stuff at all, while others can stick to a one to ten ratio—that is, for every one self-promotional thing you post, you have to post ten things that aren’t promoting you.

Failure to follow these rules and guidelines can earn you a shadow ban (you see your posts, but no one else does) or a flat-out ban, so be sure to read up before you begin posting.

Posting your content

There are a couple of ways you can do this, and Reddit has a few suggestions for you.

First, you can always promote an article by paying for it to sit at the top of the front page in a clearly marked ad container. Known as a sponsored headline, this feature allows you to create a post and then pay for front page space for a certain amount of time. This may be ideal for you if you’ve never used Reddit before, or aren’t comfortable trying to naturally post your articles directly to a subreddit. A lot of brands do this and see monumental success, especially for small online businesses looking for a traffic boost.

The second method is to try and post naturally. Create a Reddit account and begin interacting with subreddits that interest you and are in the same category as your blog or website. Build a relationship with the community by commenting, posting interesting things that aren’t promoting you, and upvoting new posts. When you are finally comfortable and in a good place to promote your content, start small and start slow. You should only post promotional items once in a blue moon, especially at first. Posts that are promoting you should be very transparent.

Eventually, once the subreddit becomes more interested in your stuff and sees that you’re a good community member, they may even begin posting things from your website on their own. This is the best type of Reddit traffic you can get. If people begin posting your content on their own and without compensation or recognition, you’re doing it right.

Keep in mind that Reddit will permanently ban your account if you spam a subreddit with links to your stuff. You also shouldn’t pay people to promote you or your website on Reddit. If you aren’t careful and you go overboard, your entire domain could be banned, meaning that anything linking back to that particular website will automatically be deleted.

Reddit can be a very fickle and picky place, but once you become a member of a Reddit community, the potential is infinite. Just remember that communities want members who contribute to more than just self-promotion. If you’re not comfortable trying this method naturally, you can always just buy the sponsored space to receive the benefits of Reddit traffic.

Creative commons licensed (BY) flickr photo by Eva Blue.

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