Even if you’ve never been to Reddit.com
, you’re definitely familiar with many of the stories on the wildly popular site that dubs itself “The front page of the Internet.”
That’s because every news organization/blog you’re familiar with scans Reddit for interesting stories cultivated by the company’s highly engaged (read: addicted) user base.
Reddit’s front page aggregates stories and pictures from some of the more interesting “subreddits” and displays for users an eclectic mix of news, memes, pictures, and discussions. Each user can customize the topics (subreddits) to be displayed on their respective front page for a personalized experience.
Because most of the content is submitted by users (and voted “up” or “down” by them), news organizations have a clear picture of which pieces of original content resonate with people.
Hence, Reddit both produces
potential stories, making short work of the reporting process for bloggers and reporters. If it’s on the front page of Reddit (meaning it got enough “upvotes” to get there), the audience has spoken.
So, what does Reddit have to do with public relations?
Sites such as Reddit, Tumblr
, and many others are fueled by user-generated content (pictures, videos, memes, blog posts, etc.). In the old days, many reporters relied almost exclusively on PR people to pitch them story ideas, and though that’s still definitely happening, today there are many other sources of information from which to choose stories.
That means PR pitches need to add more value than ever. It means clients need to understand that visual content is crucial in order to compete with the spate of user-generated sites that produce high-quality material every day, hour, minute, and second.
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As Reddit brilliantly demonstrates, high-quality content has the power to reach and entertain/inform an enormously large audience if it “catches fire.”
That’s what Reddit has done: It has caught fire with users and has captured the attention of the media as a very legitimate, fresh, contemporary form of news gathering. You see Reddit’s stories every day across the international media landscape. Thus, it’s not an exaggeration to say the company, which is still struggling to make a profit, is a driving force behind the modern incarnation of news.
Parry Headrick is vice president of marketing and communications at Matter Communications. A version of this article first appeared on the company's PR Whiteboard blog.