When businesses embark on a blogging journey, there are many roadblocks that occur, such as:
- writers block!
- little time and resources
- lack of creativity
- no theme/focus
- not appealing to target audience
Not to mention the super-hard task of convincing your CEO “Blogging has ROI! We can achieve business goals with blogging!”
Despite these obstacles, many businesses from a variety of industries are blogging. It’s 2014 and the mantras are finally sticking.
Lawyers have blogs, eCommerce sites have blogs, and even plumbers have blogs.
Some sites step it up a notch and pioneer content marketing campaigns. This involves a creative team that designs images, infographics, and sometimes videos which are audience-friendly and easy to share on social media channels.
With this acknowledgment of blogs as a business asset, it’s imperative to not just write for the sake of writing, but to create a content strategy that we know our target audience loves.
How are we supposed to magically know what our target audience loves? It’s not as if we can read minds…
That’s where reddit comes into play.
Sorting subreddits and recording content models
Without a doubt, reddit is one of the most powerful social monitoring tools. As daunting or confusing as it may seem, reddit is remarkably simple to get the hang of.
Just picture it like this:
Subreddits collectively make up what is known as reddit, along with redditors (users) interacting with each other.
Last month, I wrote an extensive piece detailing exactly what a subreddit is and why they’re important. Essentially, they’re categories. So a subreddit labeled /r/construction is conclusively about construction and remodeling related information. Discussions arise, questions posed and answered, along with the sharing of ideas. Here is a screenshot of the most popular content over the past month:
Ranging from pictures and inquiries, we start to get a feel for the preferred type of content.
Let’s relate this back to a business. How might a construction-related biz make use of this information?
For starters, we see pictures that tell a story, such as dig sites, modeling process (start to finish) and even some humor are voted up. One of the most popular businesses in this industry, as I’m sure you’d recognize from their black, yellow, and white ‘CAT’ is Empire CAT. Their equipment powers constructing projects, and thus, opens up a perfect content sourcing opportunity. Just off the top of our heads, there’s plenty of room for content creativity, such as:
- A video series showing their equipment in the field, testing how powerful they are with exciting examples (kind of like MythBusters, but more demolition).
- A blog catalog showing the progression of projects, from start to finish (the before and after format)
- An infographic that showcases all of the most common trucks and equipment, citing interesting statistics about the construction industry
- Guides, tips, advice from experienced construction workers
- Interviews with experienced construction workers
We can dig through comments to find validation as well, such as:
In this same comment thread, several other redditors made a similar remark, expressing a desire to see more of this content.
This is literally a target audience clearly stating the content they want. It doesn’t get much simpler than this.
Pick an industry, any industry
This is my dare.
I dare you to pick any industry for a business that has started blogging and see if they have related subreddits.
You will be surprised at the sheer amount of variety. You think you know what niche means, but after circling the whole spectrum of subreddits, that meaning will be redefined.
Let’s take a brief tour – I guarantee some of these subreddits will change the way you think about online communities, social content, and digital good.
This subreddit, /r/random_acts_of_pizza, or RAOP for short, has been rapidly growing to the tune of 30,000+ subscribers.
The basis of this community is simple:
A place for strangers to send and receive pizza.
Their motto is, “To have fun, eat pizza and help each other out. Together, we aim to restore faith in humanity, one slice at a time.”
Along the same vein, there are subreddits such as Random Acts of Amazon, and broader spaces, such as:
You might find it hard to believe a bunch of strangers will go out of their way to help each other. But these subreddits disprove the idea of pure internet volatility on a daily basis. Redditors will share their stories, such as getting laid off or in a financial slump, while others just express a deep passion for a hobby. If another redditor is inspired, they’ll contact each other and help out where they can.
“Frugal Male Fashion” is a stream of discounts, sales, coupons, deals, and all frugal related things to male clothing.
They have over 96,000 subscribers.
“Ask Science” is one of the most popular subreddits, sitting at over 2 million subscribers.
This is a place where all science-related questions can be explained, discussions can be held, and knowledge can be shared.
Subreddits have unique content formats and because they are unique, they are strict. This improves the quality and direction of subreddits.
For example, Depth Hub limits all posts to the reddit domain, such as to individual comments and text posts. Furthermore, the comment/post must demonstrate a high-quality and in-depth knowledge about a particular subject. The subject can be anything, but the knowledge must be meaty – redditors have exceptional flack detectors, so it’s easy to tell when someone is blowing wind and when someone has years of experience.
The range of subreddits is a close reflection of the range of public interests in the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Australia (these are the primary geo stats for users). However, if you dig around, you’ll discover that all walks of life find a place on reddit: Homeless people who’ve turned their lives around, celebrities, underground artists, high caliber programmers, professional athletes, surgeons, lawyers, plumbers, construction workers, mechanics, etc.
A relevant subreddit is like your local community
It’s amazing that so many businesses and companies have yet to participate in subreddits.
While there are clear and easy entry paths for businesses running a philanthropy or fundraiser, blogs can be fueled directly by subreddits.
Just think of them as if they’re part of your local community. We treat everyone with respect, we participate and contribute.
Business bloggers just need to make a list of their most relevant subreddits. First, participate in those subreddits naturally – ones unrelated to your business. Then, after getting a deeper understanding and appreciation for the content, brainstorm blog topics.
Use the top content and hot content as models. These are positive signals that influence social performance.
This is just the tip of the iceberg.
We can source great content ideas and make them unique to our business, but we can go even further by contributing to a subreddit (in addition to social monitoring).
Maybe the subreddit is small and needs a header image – sweet, let’s make one!
Maybe the subreddit is growing but needs better content – perfect, let’s contribute more and help promote the subreddit!
There are dozens of avenues to contributing. In turn, relevant subredditors will notice. If our blog content has been consistently on par with the preferred type of content, we can earn natural submissions (since it is not allowed to just submit unsolicited links to our site).
At any rate, the most important tip I can give to business blogs is to just run a search on reddit. Search for relevant topics and within seconds you’ll discover a goldmine of creative ideas. Make these ideas your own and use your experience to upgrade/tweak them.