When I first joined Reddit it was because I wanted to promote my YouTube blog and channel.
I joined the /r/letsplay Subreddit and I posted a link to my first good post on my blog.
That first Reddit post received around 48 upvotes and 91% of people liked it. (I say around 48 because Reddit fuzzes the number of upvotes/downvotes).
I got around 1000 visitors on that day which at that point seemed absolutely incredible as my blog got around 2 views per day at that time. (Yes, it was that bad.)
Inspired by my success I decided to create and “promote” a couple of other posts.
As you can probably guess, they were not accepted well by the community.
I did get a couple hundred extra views from each post, but I was annoying the members of the Sub and I was actually spamming and breaking one of Reddit’s golden rules without even realizing it.
However, after a bit of tinkering and figuring out how Reddit works I was able to craft a post that not only got over 50 upvotes, but also got me Reddit gold.
The Golden Rules Of Self Promotion On Reddit
If you don’t follow the following rules you risk more than getting a low score on a post submission.
You risk getting shadowbanned which means that all of your future posts will be automatically marked as spam and no one will see them, plus people will remember you if they feel that you were spamming.
Here are the rules:
- Make sure that whatever you’re submitting will either be interesting or valuable to the members of the Sub! This is probably the most important point. So often I see submissions that are nothing more than useless, regurgitated content or content that doesn’t fit the sub.
- Only around 10 percent of all content that you submit should be your own. It’s in the rules.
- Only submit your best work. This makes sure that you don’t look like a spammer and people will be more interested in what you have to say. Posting every single blog post of yours might bring you some extra traffic but it’s the fastest way to get Shadowbanned or disliked by the community.
- Make sure you’re actually interacting with the community outside of your promotional posts. Share your expertise or simply have fun. Either way you should be interacting with the other members of the Sub.
- It’s easier to get a higher submission score with text posts vs link posts so think carefully about which one to choose. I will go over the benefits and negatives of each later on in this post.
An Analysis Of My Posts
It’s always useful to look through your old content to see what you did right and what you did wrong, which is something I wish I learned earlier, so that’s exactly what I’m going to do here.
However most people don’t learn from the mistakes of others as they do from their own mistakes so I suggest that after reading this post you try out promoting your website on Reddit and keep track of your successes and failures.
Why My First Post Was Successful
Even though I did no research before making the post, it was fairly successful, but what made my first post better than my later posts that crashed and burned?
- My post was incredibly relevant to the Subreddit. I couldn’t have picked a better Subreddit to post in even if I tried.
- My post was a top 50 list. People tend to like reading posts about the top 10, top 20, top __ things in the world as they’re fairly easy to read and it feels like you are learning something useful. Just check out Buzzfeed if you’re interested. A large part of their articles is a list of some sort.
- My list of 50 sites was split into 5 lists of 10 sites so it was easier for the visitor to find what they needed.
- Getting into the mindset of a YouTuber this post just seemed like something you’d use as it’s a summary of basically every single site you would need to run your YouTube channel.
Why My Other Posts Did Not Succeed
This post was incredibly unsuccessful for a couple reasons:
- People thought I was the owner of the product or I was paid to advertise the product because my post sounded too salesy. In hindsight I sound like a bad stereotypical advertisement. In this case I was actually simply trying to help and I wasn’t advertising anything and my only goal was getting more views on my site and helping people out, but it sure didn’t seem that way to the readers.
- The content itself wasn’t bad, and it was a fairly detailed post, but it wasn’t a WOW post. One of the Golden Rules is only publishing your best content.
- People didn’t have a problem with the way they already did keyword research and offering a “solution” when there isn’t a problem isn’t very wise.
This post actually had a couple of positive comments on it and was more well-received than my previous post, but it still had a lot of problems:
- The content of the post was something that people already knew and I didn’t offer any new insight.
- The post was quite short and it didn’t have the WOW factor that every post you promote should have. Your posts should either be incredibly interesting, incredibly detailed, incredibly funny, or simply incredible.
- This was a link and not a text post. If this was a text post where I summarized the general gist of the content and then put a link to my blog at the end of the post it would’ve been more well-received.
- For some reason I decided to randomly bold words in the post. Interesting…
This post was a complete flop and it deserved to be a complete flop.
At this point I was enjoying the extra traffic that the Reddit posts brought me, but I didn’t think about the fact that I was spamming or about what I looked like to the members of the Subreddit.
This post finally made me realize that what I was doing was wrong.
Here are the issues:
- I was frustrated at some of the so called “YouTubers” that asked me for advice so this was what you would call a “rage-post.”
- The post does not offer any valuable advice whatsoever.
- It’s very poorly done satire.
- It breaks all of the Golden Rules.
This comment perfectly summarizes the problem with my post:
Looking through my successful and unsuccessful Reddit promotional campaigns is actually how I came up with the Golden Rules, and if I actually followed them my so called “promotional campaigns” would have performed much better.
How To Create Popular Content
The easiest way to create popular content is to look at content that’s already popular and improve it. (This is called the Skyscraper Technique and I believe Brian Dean at Backlinko was the first one to name it.)
This might seem incredibly obvious, and it is, but consider this: when is the last time you’ve actually attempted finding content people liked, improving it, and sharing it?
Most people don’t go through the whole process because even though it’s simple it is a lot of work, and people assume it’s an over-saturated promotion method because of its simplicity.
Here is a simple summary of what you have to do:
- Find popular content.
- Make it better. You can update it, make it longer, more detailed, add relevant links, etc…
- Post it on the sub at the right time. Use this website to figure out when the highest rated posts were posted.
How To Find Already Popular Content
There are two ways of finding already popular content on the Subreddit of your choice and I recommend using both as they complement each other very well.
The first way:
- In the top bar click on Top to sort all of the posts from highest to lowest rating. First go through the process with all time selected, and once you’re done go through the process with past year selected.
- Look at all of the top posts and note how many guide/how to/informational posts there are.
- Figure out whether you can improve the guides. More often than not you can make them better by getting rid of old information and adding more recent info, creating a bigger post (instead of a top 20 post make a top 40 post), giving better examples, or providing a case-study.
- Write down all of the possible topics you can write about and find out how many posts were already posted on the Sub on this topic using the following directions.
The second way:
- Search for the most basic term you can think of relating to your topic.
- Sort the list by Top and look at the highest rated posts once again. Note their length, writing style, and the information that they provided.
- Sort the list by New and look at the most recent posts related to your topic. If someone recently made a huge post about your topic you can either try to make yours even better or simply choose another topic.
My Successful Post “Research”
I didn’t do as much research before my most successful “gilded” post, but I knew that the members of the Sub were interested in detailed content about SEO as there have been a couple of smaller posts about SEO that were fairly successful.
Here are the posts that caught my eye when looking through the top posts in the /r/LetsPlay Sub.
All of these posts:
- Were to the point.
- Were very detailed.
- Provided enormous value to the audience.
- Were text posts.
Now here are some of the popular posts that came up when I searched for SEO:
These two posts were also detailed, with “no fluff”, and they were well-formatted.
However, they weren’t nearly as detailed as I was planning on making my post, and they didn’t have any relevant links in them so I knew my post would be even more popular.
How To Make Your Content Better
There are numerous things you can do to make your content better.
- The simplest one is making it longer and more detailed.
- If the popular post is fairly old you can create an updated version of it with updated statistics.
- Improving the layout of the post is also important. If a post with good information but a crappy layout was well received, imagine how well received a post with great information and an easy-to-ready layout will be!
- Adding images or relevant links to the post.
Now that you know how to improve on the popular posts you found and what to write about, let’s talk about what type of post you should use on Reddit.
The Benefits And Disadvantages Of Link And Text Posts
Both link posts and text posts have their advantages and disadvantages so it’s important to decide on which one you will use.
Advantages Of Link Posts
- Bring more traffic to your site.
- You can get a do-follow link from Reddit if you get enough upvotes.
- Easier to create. (You don’t need to create extra content)
Disadvantages Of Link Posts
- Higher chance people will think it’s spam.
- Less discussion in the comments.
- Website visitors are less targeted.
Advantages Of Text Posts
- They look less spammy.
- There is more discussion in the comments section.
- If you leave a link to your site at the end of the post the traffic that you get will be more targeted.
Disadvantages Of Text Posts
- They take longer to make as you have to write a separate post for Reddit.
- They bring a smaller number of visitors to your site.
- You only get a no-follow link from Reddit.
I prefer text over link posts, but there is a place for both of them in the world of Reddit content promotion.
One last tip for text posts before you go:
- I like to write up a short preview of the most interesting things people can learn from my post and then I put a link to the actual post at the end and say that it was too long to post on Reddit (which it usually is) and that they can read the full version at this link. This brings me visitors to my site without looking spammy.