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You’ve heard of Reddit before, right? If you haven’t, it’s basically the world’s biggest social news website. This means people vote on the “news” they want to see on the homepage of the site.
Reddit has reached mainstream media in recent years. So much so that Barack Obama even took time aside to let the audience ask him questions in an “AMA” (Ask Me Anything).
At any time of day there will be hundreds of thousands of people live on their website.
While many of them are there for the funny GIFs and cute cat photos, a lot of them are there for more serious discussions.
r/Fitness (http://reddit.com/r/fitness) is one of the most useful communities online about getting into shape. r/AskScience will find rocket scientists (literally) answering anything you can imagine.
r/TwoXChromosomes is one of the most popular communities online for women. r/Food has both amateur and professional chef’s showing amazing creations and even how to make them yourself. There are literally tens of thousands of active categories on this site, all appealing to different interests.
Each of these separate categories are known as a sub-Reddit.
What you may not know is that there is a secret underbelly of users who drive thousands of visitors to their own websites each day by creating content which appeals to these specific sub-Reddits.
Let’s choose one of these sub-Reddit’s so you can see an example of this infiltration action. The sub-Reddit we’ll look at is called Today I Learned.
Today I Learned, or TIL, is one of my favourite sub-Reddits (http://reddit.com/r/todayilearned). Each day you can learn something pretty cool that happened at one point in time.
For instance, today I learned that “in 2008 a Brazilian priest, as part of a fundraiser, strapped 1000 balloons to a lawn chair and sent himself up. Weeks later, he was found dead at sea, earning him a Darwin Award.”
Will this help me in future? Probably not. But thousands of Redditors gave it an upvote, thus pushing it on to the homepage of the website.
Some websites take this content from this popular section of the site and re-purpose it for their own websites. Often designed better than the original format which Reddit offers.
Here are some examples:
Now, these sites are not going to be seen every time you visit the sub-Reddit. If they were featuring at the top of the sub-Reddit everyday people would consider them to be gaming the system – like Reddit did with Gawker – and your efforts wouldn’t last very long.
However, every now and then they’ll get a big enough mention that tens of thousands of people are sent to their websites and they convert in some way. Whether that’s handing over an email address, liking them on Facebook or helping spread their story even further via social media.
Here you can see that TodayIFoundOut.com was on the Reddit TIL homepage four times in four days which undoubtedly sent them hundreds of thousands of visitors (if not millions) in that time period.
Keep in mind that this is a default sub-Reddit (meaning everyone by default will see top posts from it on the Reddit homepage) and currently has more than 8 million subscribers. As I write this, at 9PM on an American Sunday night, there are still 12,000 people sitting live on that sub-Reddit page alone.
And just in case you want to see what kind of traffic TodayIFoundOut are probably getting, here’s a good indicator from SimilarWeb…
Blink and you’ll miss it. That’s millions of visitors per month.
Forget Viral-style sites that rely almost entirely on Facebook. I’ve watched these guys turn from a simple email opt-in page to having Taboola ads at the bottom of each post offering content like “Unique Method Regrows Lost Hair (Do This Daily)” and spreading out to an entirely new audience.
Before I give a few more examples I want to say that I don’t think they’re doing anything bad or wrong. While “Infiltrating Reddit” in the headline here might sound slightly bad, I think they’re doing good work. After all, the stories they share are good enough for people to vote for them and as much as I know – at least in the early days – all content and ideas were researched and written themselves and not taken from other sources.
In other words, they provided value to a community that wanted that value and were rewarded because of it. If you are going to follow anything from this idea, I hope you do something similar. Give back to the audience you are trying to connect with and get something in return.
Here’s the most exciting part of all of this: The example here is just one sub-Reddit that people are taking advantage of.
Actually, here’s something that’s probably more exciting: There are more than 260 sub-Reddits which have over 100,000 subscribers. Meaning people who want to see the news from that sub-Reddit on their Reddit homepage.
Each sub-Reddit is built around a specific category. A category you can build a website around and make money from.
You would think that with a such a wide and varied audience, the Reddit community would be able to sniff out some blatant marketing to their audience when they see it. Well, that’s certainly not always the case.
Another sub-Reddit I happen to enjoy is r/Entrepreneur. Recently a story popped up as one of the top stories with the title: Follow along as I private label a product from China and sell it on Amazon – from start to finish.
It’s a great title so from that alone, I can see why hundreds of people “upvoted” the story. The promise is great, yet at the end of the post he simply says, “I hope this post wasn’t too long and that you are all interested in following my journey. All of the updates will be posted here [link]”.
That link was simply recommending people follow his make money online blog where the latest post is “how to find cheap expired domains”. The epitome of an article that someone looking to cash in on affiliate links and training newbies would write.
I’m not saying he is doing that – I don’t know the guy – but it seems strange (or smart?) to hype up an idea on one community just to push people to another where you are sure to end up selling something.
Either way, well done Josh. You provided Reddit with the idea they wanted and 122,000 entrepreneurs who follow that sub-Reddit are likely to have seen your post.
r/Dataisbeautiful, which appears to be a default sub-Reddit (correct me if I’m wrong), has over 2 million subscribers and gives people in any niche the possibility to grace the homepage of Reddit.com.
Data is Beautiful basically allows you to statisify anyting interesting and you’ll likely get a lot of positive feedback.
I remember back in the day when Digg.com was popular, I did an analysis of the Top 100 Digg Users and landed on their homepage which sent me 30,000 visitors in just a few hours. The concept here is similar: Share some interesting data about your niche, in a well-designed way, and you too could have tens of thousands of people viewing your content.
For example, news website Vocativ recently penned an article titled, “The Hollywood Killability Rating: These Actors Die The Most In Movies” as seen below.
Not to take credit away from them but the data cannot have been very hard to find – just think of some top actors then look at which movies they died in – and the graphic that shares the info would not be especially complicated to put together. Yet, by doing so, and reaching this specific sub-Reddit, tens of thousands of people will have been sent their way and now learn about this new site.
What data would be interesting to learn about your specific industry? Share that!
If you’re interested in learning more and taking action, here’s a recommended path to follow.
You’re always going to stand a better chance of building a successful website if you have at least some interest in the topic so don’t just focus on a sub-Reddit because of its size. Instead, use a website like Reddit List, here, to get a better view of sub-Reddit’s than the Reddit search engine will ever show you.
The columns you should be focusing on are the middle column and the right column.
The column on the middle is how many subscribers a sub-Reddit currently has.
The one on the right is the fastest growing sub-Reddits. Both pose a good opportunity because one will have less competition since the sub-Reddit is growing and the other already has a large-established audience so it’s easy to see what type of content they like.
List five to ten of these which look like categories you personally may have some interest in.
One of my favourite sub-Reddits is r/DIY.
Yet, if the truth be told, a lot of the content that you’ll find on that sub-Reddit today – or any day – is really not that interesting.
Fortunately Reddit has a cool system which allows you to go back in time to find the most popular content ever posted in that category.
It not only allows me to get my DIY fix but also gives great content ideas for your potential new website.
Simply click Top in the navbar of any category and then on the Date drop-down either select “This Year” or “All Time”.
You can see me doing this in the screenshot below:
(Side note: You can simply type any sub-Reddit name as a sub-domain so http://diy.reddit.com and not have to type reddit.com/r/sub-redditname)
Start going through the content of all the categories you chose in step one and get a real idea of what makes that particular audience ‘tick’ when it comes to upvoting articles.
If you have never set-up a website in your life then there are literally tons of guides online that are happy to help you. Most will be filled with affiliate links – ViperChill is 100% free from affiliate links now – but they will generally offer decent information on how to get a website set-up.
As far as your domain name goes, try to think of something similar to the category you’ll be targeting. E.g. amazingDIY.com or DIYCaseStudies.com and so on.
You then have a few options. You can a) “Repurpose” the content you find on Reddit, sharing it in a more attractive manner (making sure you link back to the original source) or b) scour the web for more great resources similar to those that have already been upvoted by thousands of people.
The blog Freshome.com, ran by a good friend of mine, does a great job of this.
They know their audience want to see awesome house designs and they scour the web and various sources to find them. The result is millions of unique visitors finding their site every month and even landing partnerships with exclusive Google projects.
I decided to include this step for those who take things to the next level. It’s an idea I’m very proud of (hello, Ego!) and really hope I can get across in a way that makes you understand the connections that are firing in my brain when I think about it.
Keep note of the brackets which do say that this is optional. However, this series= is all about the things I would do if I wasn’t focused on too many other projects already so view this step as something I would also do and that’s why I’m including it.
Reddit has an API.
This means you can get a programmer to pretty much “pull” any data you want from the site and it’s totally legal and legitimate.
What could you do with that data? Well, here’s something that every marketing blogger would be happy to feature:
Which websites are producing articles which make their way to the frontpage of specific sub-Reddits the most?
This task would be very easy for even a half-decent programmer to do.
Find the top 1,000 posts ever from any sub-Reddit (preferably the popular ones) and pull the URL of every site that has ever been linked to those posts. Then, sort them by the most popular (in terms of upvotes).
As with the Today I Learned sub-Reddit, there’s no doubt going to be sites which get featured far more than any other – and earn thousands of visitors each time they are – that you can look at, examine, and learn from.
If content is King, you’re going to be the one the King gets advice from.
If you aren’t a programmer – and I certainly am not – I recommend heading over to oDesk.com or Freelancer.com and find a programmer to do this for you. I can’t imagine it costing any more than $150 to put together.
If you’re smart, you could even sell the data on sub-Reddits you have no interest in to popular bloggers in each industry. They’re always looking for content ideas and ways to get more traffic to their website.
You’ll be providing both.
P.S. If you have any questions, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Keep in mind that I very likely will not reply to your email but will update this page to answer your question (and let you know via email) if I think it could help others
Thank you for reading and I can’t wait to send you the next niche idea. While I loved this one, I think Niche Idea #2 is even better.
With every niche idea sent out you’ll see me go back to it now and again to answer any questions received or update people based on any feedback.
Update #1: A Video of Step 4 (Without the Programmer)
VIP Niche Ideas subscriber Amit showed how to get data from the Reddit API without needing to hire a programmer. Keep in mind though that any customisations you might want to make to the data may still require one.
Update #2: What Should I Do if a Sub-Reddit is full of IMGUR Links?
For those who don’t know, Imgur links basically means that the sub-Reddit has a lot of pictures (think: Memes, cat photos, etc.) rather than text content from Imgur.com.
In one part you’re lucky: It’s far quicker to replicate memes and funny pictures than detailed articles or videos on a subject. Nothing really changes in my advice here if you find a lot of pictures in a sub-Reddit you wish to target.
The only concern you might have is that a picture-based community suggests that you are possibly not looking at an audience you can monetise. Check to see if there are people making money in your specific field first – and that you could with guaranteed traffic – before going ahead.
Update #3: How Should I Approach the Community?
As with any online community where you are not already an active member, you should take the time to learn and watch how Reddit operates before jumping in, especially if you’re new to the site. The Reddit community are generally good at spotting blatant advertising or promotions. The worst thing you can do is create an account, submit your link, and then sit back and wait for it to “go viral”.
You’ll need to be active in the sub-Reddit’s you wish to market to and vote on other stories, leave comments and so on. At the end of the day, the aim here is to give the value that community is looking for and receive value in return.
Update #4: Live Stats for the Today I Found Out.com Website
Very cool: http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/today-i-found-out-stats/
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