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15 May 2015

A PR Pro’s Guide for reddit
By Richard Edelman

Written by: Richard Edelman, President and CEO at Edelman

Consumer Trends & Insight, Culture, Media, Technology

I’ve found myself using reddit more and more the past few years. A few weeks ago at the PRWeek Awards, I sat next to Victoria Taylor, Director of Talent at reddit, and we had a preliminary chat about her employer. We followed up with a breakfast last week. Here are a few of the important takeaways for PR people:

1. reddit’s biggest markets are the U.S., UK, Canada, Australia and Germany.

2. redditors come from all walks of life. This is not a guy’s site, nor a young tech person’s site. It is almost equally female and male. The average user is 35-years-old with a median household income of $65,000. There were 170 million unique visitors in January and 6.5 billion page views with an average of 13 minutes spent on the site.

3. It is not a commercial site. If you want to do a promotional post, then use advertising and make it creative and crowd-sourced (similar to how Maker’s Mark tied into the Kentucky Derby a year ago by asking community members to submit whiskey-themed horse names which were then voted on). Brands must be transparent and not try to control the conversation, which can turn quite combative. As PR people, we should take the time to read reddit’s brandiquette and pressiquette. Transparency is expected.

4. There are large sports and entertainment communities, including a huge Game of Thrones community.

5. Ask Me Anythings (AMA) are reddit’s breakout, freeform Q&A format with community members that can turn out very well or become a disaster. President Barack Obama was a huge hit, while Woody Harrelson’s AMA reached legendary status as he was roundly blasted by participants. AMAs need to be genuine, engaging, transparent and have sufficient time dedicated to them. You should organize with subreddit moderators in advance for the best experience, and be ready to verify that it’s really you.

6. The site can provide brands with significant consumer insights while highlighting consumer needs and demands. Based on the discussion during an AMA, Ben and Jerry’s ice cream added a new flavor to its lineup.

7. It can help identify the leading stories of the day. The head of our Digital practice, Kevin King, goes first to reddit in the morning to find the top trending stories as determined by community interest.

8. reddit can also be used as an early warning system for potential crises. King will sometimes utilize reddit to identify issues for clients, who can respond quickly to rumors or distortions.

9. Don’t be put off by the text-heavy site. The most usual practice, King told me, is to offer an easy click through to a video or GIF on a client site.

10. You cannot be thin skinned. This is a very blunt group. But the smart brand will learn from criticism, change the product or promotion and credit the reddit community.

This article originally appeared on Richard Edelman’s 6A.M. Blog.

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