I’ve written before about websites for your video production business. So far, I haven’t touched on getting traffic (that is, visitors) to your website. Today, I’m going to give you a straight-forward and FREE method for getting traffic to your website using Reddit.
What Is Reddit, Exactly
If you don’t know what Reddit is, then I’d first question if you’ve been living under a rock. Joking apart, Reddit is one of the world’s foremost online community portals.
Described as “an entertainment, social networking, and news website where registered community members can submit content, such as text posts or direct links, making it essentially an online message board,” Reddit is a front-runner is democratizing the flow of information in online communities.
This infographic by Soshable gives an idea as to the makeup of this site’s demographics:
What you need to know: Reddit has an upvote/downvote style system that allows users to vote on what they think of the content posted. This is a form of democratizing information and content posting, which means that the best stuff gets seen by more eyes.
Do you want huge amounts of quality (and FREE) visitors?
I certainly did. Do.
No, this isn’t an ad, it’s my latest experiment. I’m calling it a Case Study.
I find Reddit intriguing, but I never really understood it until recently. I certainly don’t consider myself a Reddit expert or anything, but I see the place as an insanely untapped resource for big niche-specific traffic.
For the purposes of this Case Study, I’m going to show you how I got 1,032 visitors in less than 24 hours to my video production company’s blog.
We’re going to do this by posting one awesome post (or link) to a subreddit and provide a link back to the full content on our video production company’s blog.
Now here’s a breakdown of what I did to achieve these amazing traffic stats:
1. Wrote a blog post that I really wanted to promote to my audience.
2. Found a ‘subreddit’ in my niche.
3. Wrote a Reddit style title to intrigue people to click.
4. The title led into a text based post on reddit.
5. This text post was a copy & paste of one of the articles from my blog. It was the intro to a long series of posts.
6. I dropped my link near the start of the Reddit post and at the end ― a “continue reading this series” thing.
7. I formatted using the Reddit guidelines as best I could. This helped to make the post look and feel professional, without breaking the “rediquette.”
Finding a subReddit in my Market
The key step in all of this is finding a subreddit that is specific to your market. A subreddit is a section of Reddit that is a community unto itself. There are subreddits are virtually anything.
For instance, if you make videos for gyms/fitness centers, you’d find a subreddit related to that (there are a lot of them!)
On the other hand, if you specialize in wedding videography, you’d find subreddits about weddings, romance, getting married, etc etc.
The important thing is to go where your ideal clients are. Put yourself in front of them.
So, let’s say you have a lot of videos on your production company’s website of horses and the jockeys that ride them. Let’s go as far as to say you consider yourself a specialist in horse videography. You make videos for horse owners to show off their horses for sale, sponsorship purposes, etc. It’s a very lucrative market and you enjoy it.
So you’d be looking for a subreddit about horses, horse riding, betting, etc. You should target anywhere you might find horse owners.
Some Pointers on Using Reddit
Now, I should point out here that Redditors can be a tough-crowd. They hate spam and people trying to sell them on things. Some important points:
- Observe the rules of the subreddit. These can normally be found in the right side panel of the subreddit.
- Not all subreddits will allow you to link back to your site. But most will.
- Do not be overly salesy or spammy. Provide value!
- Always follow Reddiquette.
- Karma is the currency of Reddit.
Just to expand on that last one. Karma is the currency of Reddit. In the site’s own words: ” It reflects how much good the user has done for the reddit community.” There are two types of comment:
1. Link Karma ― this is Karma you get for posting links that people on a subreddit like.
2. Comment Karma ― all Reddit posts can be commented on and you can also get Karma for posting great comments that people like.
To give you an idea of what the Karma system is, here’s a screenshot of a user’s profile on Reddit (not me). As you can see, they’ve got their Link and Comment Karma levels up to pretty high levels:
Before starting the Case Study, you should make sure to get your Karma levels up to respectable standards. That’s pretty subjective, but it’s a good idea to get your Karma into minimum double figures (10+ on each).
Just generally become a presence in the subreddit by answering questions, offering value to users and being helpful. If it’s a subject area that you know well (after all, you’re creating videos for them), then you should have no problem offering value to the subreddit.
The Post Itself
Firstly, you need to have a great post on your blog that you want to promote to your chosen audience. It goes without saying that this should be exceptionally good content. We’re not out to mess people around or dupe them here.
If you’re not offering value, then don’t even think about posting it. If you post garbage, a couple of things will happen:
- everyone will realize you’re showcasing crap,
- the post won’t gain traction or visitors and you won’t get the results you want.
- worst case scenario ― you’ll be making yourself look bad, and it could even damage the longterm reputation of your video company.
But what sort of post should you write? Maybe you already have a great blog post about an aspect of your business, or something related to the niche you serve with your production business? If it’s something that offers lots of value, then go with that.
If you don’t already have something, then I suggest taking the time to write an exceptional post that offers massive value to the audience you serve.
In practical terms: let’s say you specialize in music videos for up-and-coming recording artists. You make videos for bands/recording artists that can afford to have a great video produced, but haven’t yet made it onto a major record label. A music video is great to promote them to record labels, music venues, promoters, etc, as well as being awesome for their fans.
So, using this example, how about you write a great post about your music video production process? Include images, some sample videos and make it the one-stop-shop for music video production information. Offer them some value and make it the kind of resource that they will want to share with their friends, their network and everyone they know.
This is just an example, of course. You could do something similar in virtually any industry/market. Some examples:
- if you make wedding videos for couples, write a blog post on choosing the ideal wedding dress.
- if you specialize in promotional videos for gyms/fitness centers, you could write a post about how videos posted on social media are taking over the industry and going viral resulting in XXX% more gym sign-ups.
- if you specialize in videos for local businesses, you can write a top-notch post about how video marketing gets their message out to their ideal clients.
The ideal scenario is that you have a production website specifically tailored to the market you’re targeting. If not, you can create pages or sections of the site that target a specific market.
Posting to Reddit
Now that you have a brilliant blog post on your blog that offers value, there are two ways of posting about this blog post on Reddit:
- A link post.
- A text post.
A link post is simpler and easier, but it might not get you the kind of traffic you’d like…unless it’s a really captivating title.
A text post is where you write out the whole post (or a section of it) and copy & paste that to the subreddit.
There are pros and cons to both approaches. As mentioned, link posts only have the title to encourage clicks, so without a strong title you might not get traffic. With the text post, you get to offer value up-front (the minute a user clicks), so you can captivate them from the beginning.
For this Case Study, I went with a text post. I wrote out my blog post as the Reddit text post and included a link back to my blog. There are a couple of ways you can do this:
- Include the link to your blog post at the beginning and the end.
- Include the link just at the beginning, or just at the end.
- Only post a selection of your blog post and include a “click here to read more…” bit at the end of the selection. Be careful with this one, as some Redditors will view this negatively.
So, for the purposes of my Case Study, I included the full blog post and offered a link to “the original post back at my blog” right at the end.
So What Happened
– Within about an hour, I noticed a big upsurge in the traffic going to my blog. I’d tried this before by just posting reddit link posts that re-direct right to my blog, and it had never had much success.
This time, the early traffic indications were good. Having an actual Reddit text post (rather than just a random link) was a big difference maker. I imagine people appreciated the value I was offering on Reddit itself, rather than just re-directing them straight to my site.
– Within about two hours, I was starting to get comments on the Reddit post itself. People loved it!
– Private messages also started to roll in. More than on the post itself. People had messages of thanks and support, as well as asking specific questions. The amazing thing was, I actually got messages from potential clients asking questions about my videography, prices, etc.
– I replied to every comment on the Reddit post and every private message. I was very polite and styled my responses in the language of the subreddit (important). I encouraged other people to mention any future articles they’d like to see.
– The amazing thing was, I actually got two direct enquiries for my video production services. One relating specifically to the niche of the subreddit I’d posted in, and (strangely) one enquiry for a completely different video production job.
I’d read about that stuff happening in courses and other people’s blog posts, but didn’t know it was for real! 🙂
– It was around this time that I noticed my post was appearing very high in the Hot section of the subreddit. And it kept getting higher and higher. It was fun to follow it up the charts and it sat at No. 1 for quite a while. The Hot section is the listing in each individual subreddit of the most popular upvoted posts of the time period.
The way Reddit works is that even the most popular pieces don’t stay on top for more than a few hours, but the time you’re on top in a busy subreddit can mean large amounts of eyes on your post and, therefore, traffic.
Naturally, it’s a double edged sword ― the more active the subreddit, the more eyes on your post, but the less time you have to stay at the top because of the competition.
– I was blown away by the feedback and up votes! Got into the 100s, which was really high for this niche. I know it’s not huge by some viral standards, but it’s blown me away completely.
– That up-vote figure will help me to feature as Best of the Week, Best of the Month and (even) potentially Best of the Year for a long time yet. As far as I can see, those charts are there all the time for people to click through. It’s a nice, long-term link back to your site with some quality social proof.
EDIT: Keep reading as the experiment continues to see how I blew the figures away 1 week later!
Here’s a screenshot of my Clicky (traffic app) stats to my video production company’s blog over the last 4 days:
Some key points:
– Yes, I know this isn’t huge traffic and it might not woo some veterans, but bear in mind this is a relatively niche site that is now getting regular and targeted traffic from people that are interested in the subject. Virtually all of that traffic is Reddit traffic.
– The “Average time per visit” is by all accounts very high. This is quality content that I’m presenting, but that’s still a high average. I think this proves Reddit traffic is very engaged if you present them with something they’re interested in and the right content to follow-up.
– A bounce rate of 17% is exceptionally low, whichever way you look at it.
– Average actions at 2.6 is good. The blog post I promoted via Reddit is the kind of post that people bookmark and come back to eventually, as it’s such a lengthy, in-depth article.
For comparisons sake, here are my Clicky stats for this website during the 4 day period before the Case Study:
To me, this kind of traffic from Reddit is groundbreaking. If I wanted the same from Facebook ads, I’d have to pay a small fortune, and it’s unlikely these people would be anywhere near as engaged.
The great thing about Reddit is that if you post on a subreddit in your niche, you’re catching people when they’re actively searching for what you’re offering. With Pay Per Click advertizing (Google AdWords, Facebook Ads, etc), you’re jumping into another of their conversations, but Reddit traffic seems very targeted. And I think my “Average time per visit” numbers above prove that.
The truth is, in video production circles, Reddit is pretty shunned as a traffic getting method. I don’t know why exactly, but you never hear about it. Maybe it’s the slightly controversial nature of the site, or the renegade mentality of some of the subreddits.
But I think this post is evidence that if you don’t go into uber self-promotional mode, you can win a subreddit over and have people follow your links!
I’ve gotten LOTS of signups to my video company’s online email newsletter, which is one of the main actions I want people to take when they visit my site. This shows how awesome this traffic is. Where else can you get quality sign ups to your list for free by essentially re-posting a bit of your content somewhere!?
The big, huge, main action I want people to take when they visit my site, though, is to contact me with an enquiry looking for video production work for their business. How did that work out in this experiment?
As mentioned above in the Results section, I actually had 2 people contact me with enquiries through Reddit during the 4 day period. In addition, I had 3 enquiries directly through my site asking for quotes on potential projects. I’ll keep you informed, but those are pretty awesome results for one blog post (2 hours writing time), plus the promotion I did on Reddit (roughly 6 minutes of my time).
How I Got 1,032 Information Hungry Visitors to My Production Company’s Blog ― The Latest Results From My Case Study
After experimenting with multiple types of title on the Reddit posts and trying all manner of posting styles, one week later I had another post go viral on Reddit and it broke all of my previous records:
This post was a list style post that was very specific (and hit on all the action points) of the niche I was targeting. I posted it on my blog and then posted an excerpt on a subreddit, along with a link back to my site at the top.
Remove maybe 100 visitors that weren’t Reddit click-throughs. So that’s 1,032 visitors in 24 hours! Pretty good for just pure Reddit traffic. I was even more pleased for this achievement when I saw a popular marketing blog that was featuring a post with this headline, “How To Get 1,621 visitors from Reddit in 27 Days.”
I got close to that traffic in one day, and it was all from a viral post.
So what did I get out of this?
The big figure I want to hit you with straight away is that I had 7 enquiries through my site as a direct result of this Reddit post.
I haven’t gone through all the subscriptions to my email newsletter and matched them up with the visits, but there were a lot of subscribers that day. A lot more than usual.
Whilst I don’t necessarily preach that Reddit traffic is subscriber savvy ―a lot of them hate ads and popups with a passion ― this traffic still brought me a lot of subscribers. And they were free, too!
Compare this to Facebook ads. You end up spending lots of money just to get one subscriber and it’s hard to break even. This Reddit traffic method offers them value (in the form of your post) and ends up getting you enquiries (and newsletter subscribers) for free.
Important: One of the things that I really love about Reddit, and another reason it’s so much better than Facebook in a lot of ways, is that once you have a trending post it stays. The top posts are archived and there’s a Top list at the top of the subreddit.
So if you rank highly in those lists (i.e. you get lots of upvotes), you end up getting archived in those lists. This will bring in crazy traffic over the long run, so it’s worth pushing for. It’s not just a splash in the pan.
That’s long-term, targeted traffic.
9 Pointers To Make This Case Study Work For You
1. Writing out a Reddit post (rather than a link post) on the subreddit was a big difference maker. It inspires more upvotes, as well as more discussion.
2. Posting the link to your blog post at the top (rather than the end of your Reddit text post) made a huge, positive difference in how much traffic I got.
3. Targeting, targeting, targeting. I can’t say it enough. Find the perfect subreddit that caters directly to your audience and half the battle is already won.
4. Always make sure you reply to relevant comments on your Reddit post. I replied to everyone who commented, as well as up-voted those comments that I thought were really helpful for the discussion.
Remain polite and civil at all times. You’re representing yourself and your business. Depending on the Subreddit you post on, you might get the odd negative comment from someone who has nothing better to do than try to cause a scene or troll you. Rise above it.
5. Again, this traffic is far cheaper than PPC traffic and, in my opinion, better traffic.
6. Split Testing works. As you can see above, once I worked out what worked and tested different types of titles and styles of post, I was able to improve on my results each time (eventually hitting the 1,032 visits in 24 hours number).
Split testing is the idea of testing different things seeing what gets the best results. We can’t do true split testing on Reddit, but we can try a ‘trial and error’ approach, where we improve a little each time until we’re getting the results we want.
7. Certain subreddits have a more active community at certain times of the day. This is reflected by the nationality of the vast majority of the users of the subreddit, among other things. So it makes sense to work out when the best times are to post, especially if you’re going to be using a subreddit regularly.
I’ve seen a video posted on a sub get hardly any attention posted at noon (US time), but then the very same video getting posted at 8pm the next day results in the video storming up the subreddit and going viral!
This helpful graph of posting times should help give you a rough idea of when’s best to make your post:
8. The first two hours of a post on Reddit are key. Make sure you’re around to respond to comments (and up-vote good, relevant comment replies to your post), as this is the time when the post will grow its wings and fly, or take a dive and die.
9. If you’re going to get heavily into Reddit, I highly recommend getting the free and very intuitive Reddit Enhancement Suite plugin. It’s a browser plugin that works wonders for you Reddit usage. You can get it here.
So What Will I Do Now?
As I bring this Case Study to a close, I have some closing thoughts, findings and questions.
– How do I maintain this kind of traffic and scale up are my big questions now. This is clearly quality traffic, but how do I scale up and drive more?
– One of the big considerations is how do you keep visitors on your site and coming back after the initial trip over from Reddit. You got them there, but now focus on keeping them there and getting them talking to you about what you can do for them.
– If you can’t find a subreddit dedicated to what you’re trying to promote, or the market you want to get in contact with, there is another option for you: create your own subreddit.
– I also noticed that most subreddits have the ability to pin topics to the top of the sub. I strongly believe that a well written Reddit-exclusive post that really helps the community, or something like a list of resources, could be a great way to give massive value and get the Mods/Admins to pin your topic to the top. The great thing about this is that you could drop your links within this post (or the list of resources) and get long-term traffic by being pinned to the top!
Alright, I’m overflowing with ideas here, and I know this is just a starting point! As always, would love to hear from you. Please let me know how you get on following this Case Study! I’d love to hear about your successes and learning experiences.
I also urge you to share this post far and wide! Thanks!
Reddit photo by Eva Blue.