This story originally ran on PR Daily in March, 2015.
There is no social media site more misunderstood and undervalued by PR pros and marketers than Reddit.
Reddit is nicknamed the “front page of the Internet” for a reason. It attracts millions—if not billions—of eyeballs every day.
It’s also a quirky place with its own etiquette and rules of conduct, and people who don’t follow those rules are quick to be called out. There are two groups of people you don’t want to anger online: mommy bloggers and Redditors. Both can wreck havoc on you and your brand.
That said, many PR pros and marketers are quick to dismiss Reddit as a viable outlet because of their own preconceived notions or due to horror stories they have heard.
That’s not always a wise move.
Here are seven steps to use this platform—a Reddit marketing guide—that won’t anger the mob:
1. Identify subreddits.
Before you can even start to think about putting your plans into action, you need to test the waters and see what’s already being said about your topic on Reddit.
There’s basically a subreddit for anything and everything. Don’t believe me? There’s a subreddit for jerky, dog shower thoughts, many not-safe-for-work examples and my personal favorite: “find a reddit,” which is a subreddit to find other subreddits.
You can find subreddits related to your topic by running a few searches on one of these websites:
Keep a list of all subreddits on your topic in an Excel or Google Spreadsheets document for easy access.
2. Crowdsource blog and long-form content ideas.
Another great use for Reddit is to cure writer’s block (or blogger’s block) once and for all.
Spend 10-15 minutes browsing one of the subreddits you discovered in the first step. You should be able to come up with at least three blog post ideas just from conversations already happening in that subreddit.
Here are some things to look for:
“How do I do x” types of questions.
AMAs—short for “Ask Me Anything” Q&A sessions.
3. Use Reddit for keyword research.
I’m just going to come out and say it: Reddit may be better for keyword research than Google Adwords Keyword Planner.
This is because you can see which keywords come up over and over again, and determine the context and tone in which they are used. Keywords are good, but the context for how they are used is better.
You can use this newfound knowledge to help write SEO-friendly headlines for blog posts and news releases, craft meta descriptions, write landing page copy or gain a better sense of how your target audience searches for information on this topic online.
My two favorite ways to do keyword research for your Reddit marketing are through “MetaReddit” and “SearchReddit.”
4. Gather market research.
Just like you can use Reddit to generate post ideas, it can also be used as a great sounding board to see if your ideas will stick, but careful you don’t abuse this.
Your Reddit marketing should also consist of gathering feedback, which you can get just by asking. Make sure you have thick skin; Redditors are known to be honest and a tough crowd to impress.
5. Find sources.
If your marketing strategy includes working with experts in your industry, you can find them on Reddit—along with influencers on a variety of topics.
Journalists are already using Reddit, and it can be a goldmine for finding possible sources to amp up your pitch.
6. Participate in “Ask Me Anything” sessions.
This is the most common use people think of when it comes to using Reddit, with good reason. AMAs are so popular even President Obama has done one .
Here are a few good starting points to consider before going all-in with an AMA:
Have a solid angle that will appeal to a broad audience.
Get a well-known person (who already has an audience) in your industry to be the spotlight feature.
Seed some initial questions in advance. This helps get the conversation going at the start, and can help ensure the AMA doesn’t go off track too much.
Be prepared to handle tough questions and negative feedback.
7. Promote content through Reddit ads
Another great, inexpensive way to promote your content is through Reddit ads Largely overshadowed by Facebook, Twitter and Google, Reddit ads can be an excellent way to promote your content to a highly targeted audience for pennies a pop.
You can drill down by country, demographics and even by subreddit. Reddit has a great resource for how to get started with ads on their Wiki.
Are you using Reddit to supplement your marketing and PR efforts? If so, what would you add to this list?
Jessica Malnik is a community manager at Bigcommerce, a blogger and freelance writer. A version of this article originally appeared on Spin Sucks.