The Custard Blog

Words of wisdom from our team of online marketing experts

Reddit Marketing – How to Supercharge Your Content Ideas

Reddit is the ninth most popular website in the United States and the 28th most popular website worldwide. Despite its massive popularity, it’s also a website that’s hugely misunderstood by marketers.

With tens of millions of users spread across tens of thousands of subreddits, the Reddit audience is truly massive. Because of Reddit’s sheer size, most marketers view it as a promotional platform for their content.

Reddit Marketing

Reddit is notoriously hostile to direct marketing, to the point where a subreddit dedicated to pointing out obvious under-the-radar marketing has almost 45,000 subscribers.

Most “Reddit marketing” advice focuses on manipulating the website’s upvote and downvote system to increase your content’s visibility or running an ad campaign using Reddit’s paid promotional platform.

Reddit’s true strength, from a marketing perspective, is as a research tool. With an audience of millions of people and tens of thousands of subreddits – many of which focus on a specific niche – it’s the Internet’s ultimate tool for content research.

In this guide, we’ll share five strategies – from crowdsourcing your content research to finding out what your audience really wants to read about – that you can use to supercharge your content ideas using Reddit.

Monitor relevant subreddits for popular discussion themes

Reddit is a great barometer of the Internet’s opinions and interests. From the latest movie trailer to a specific product, searching Reddit’s myriad subreddits for people’s thoughts and discussions is a great way to understand your audience’s interests.

By monitoring popular subreddits, you can spot upcoming trends in your niche or industry as they’re forming. These trends, thoughts and discussion themes can be turned into powerful content for your company’s blog or YouTube channel.

Put together a portfolio of subreddits to monitor as part of your content marketing research strategy, You can do this easily using Reddit’s search feature.

Search for a keyword related to your business, then check the subreddits listed in the search. In the image below, we’ve searched for “car maintenance”. There are several brand-specific subreddits that would be great targets for content planning if our business sold a specific type of car product, as well as some broader subreddits.

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Set up a Reddit account and subscribe to the subreddits that are relevant to your business. This way, you’ll have a constant feed of links and discussions that makes monitoring trends and discussion themes simple.  

Crowdsource research, surveys and idea generation

Reddit is a great research platform, especially once you’ve discovered subreddits that represent your target audience. With the right question and the right attitude, you can get direct feedback and quotes from your audience to use in your content.

The key to effective research on Reddit is understanding the site’s culture. If you approach Reddit with the traditional marketing research attitude – a “fill in this survey to win a voucher” post, for example – you’ll get nowhere.

A great way to avoid the typical marketing backlash on Reddit is by taking out a sponsored ad for your research efforts. Sponsored ads on Reddit are incredibly cheap on a CPM basis and let you directly interact with your audience.

You can also post directly on the subreddit you’re interested in crowdsourcing quotes and ideas from. For this strategy to work, you’ll need to have something that’s interesting and unique to offer – blatant marketing always fails on Reddit.

With the right approach, Reddit can be a great source of quotes for stories, video and blog post ideas and even product feedback. Maximize Social Business has an excellent guide to using Reddit for research without making enemies.

Be honest and transparent about what you’re doing

Reddit hates blatant marketing, and approaching any subreddit with the typical marketing attitude is a recipe for disaster. There are three ways to get the most from Reddit as a marketer or researcher without receiving backlash:

  1. Be honest about the fact that you’re using the website for research and don’t pretend to be an unbiased third party, as you’ll quickly be found out.
  2. Don’t focus entirely on research or marketing. Engage with the audience and add real value and you’ll be welcomed instead of ignored.
  3. Use Reddit as an individual, not as a business. Something as simple as adding a selfie to your sponsored link can make your business feel more human.

You don’t have to be an active participant to use Reddit for content research. If you are an active member of your subreddit, you’ll get much better results by following the three rules above than you will by adopting a traditional marketing attitude.

Use Reddit to find real opinions for existing content

Reddit is both a discussion site and a huge archive of existing content – content that can be hugely valuable for validating your marketing ideas. If you’re writing a blog post and want to validate your idea, search Reddit to find existing content.

For example, let’s say we wanted to write a blog post about the most affordable cars for young drivers. Instead of researching using magazines and car blogs, we can get real people’s opinions by searching for Reddit discussion threads:

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Narrow your search by subreddit to make sure you’re getting opinions and feedback from your target audience. Data sourced from Reddit gives you honest feedback that can differentiate your content from the crowd and make it more helpful for readers.

Search for popular questions that you can answer

A great way to use Reddit for content ideas is to treat it as a Q&A tool. By searching for questions related to your product or service, you can find topics to comment on and answer via your company blog or YouTube channel.

You don’t need to search to do this – just monitor your target subreddit’s top links and discussions for a few weeks. If you notice the same questions being asked over and over again, you’ll discover ways to add value through your content.

Redditors are net savvy, and they’ll usually only ask a question on Reddit after using Google to look for answers. Monitoring Reddit for popular questions gives you great insight into what questions aren’t being effectively answered in the search results.

Make Reddit part of your content marketing strategy

When used effectively as a research tool, Reddit can help you come up with great content ideas, get feedback and opinions from real people and even validate your ideas before you start writing, filming or designing.

Is Reddit part of your content marketing workflow? By spending a few minutes on Reddit every morning, you’ll keep up to date with your audience and make it easier than ever to come up with interesting, engaging and effective content ideas.

Have we missed any Reddit marketing techniques? Got a tip of your own? Hit me up in the comments. Promise I’ll reply. By the way, if you’re looking for tools to help with Reddit marketing, check out Siege Media’s list of 750 categorised subreddits. I came across it somewhere on the web, I forget where 😉


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