The best ideas don’t come from inside your head, but from the audience you want to reach. And there’s no better way to reach your audience than to spy on their favourite Reddit communities.
In essence, Reddit is a collection of forums where users can chat about any topic under the sun within specific communities. Also called “subreddits,” these communities happen to be a goldmine of ideas for marketers and content creators.
If you think about anything, there’s a subreddit for it – or at least a brief discussion about it. Subreddits are the ideal places for threads, questions, debates, and even rants from any subject related to that community.
So, if you’re looking for an ethical way to reverse-engineer content ideas and brainstorm your own, head on to Reddit. Here’s what you should look for in your next content research.
There’s no shortage of questions on Reddit. People typically resort to it when traditional methods (such as Google searches) don’t provide the answers they need.
Fact is, asking questions on Reddit is so much better than doing it on Google. Not only are searchers asking their questions in a group of like-minded people, but they also don’t have to refine their searches. Reddit questions are as raw and unpolished as they can be.
Here’s a brief example of a question to match the topic of this article:
The answers to this question aren’t broad, either. You’ll rarely find snappy “yes” or “no” answers on Reddit as it’s a text-centred network. Reddit users (or Redditors, if you will) aren’t afraid of reading or writing long blocks of text.
Plus, these questions are likely to include answers with specific contexts in mind – unlike a curated search engine results page that may not include any useful examples.
Subreddits give you unfiltered discussions based on open-ended questions. As you know, they’re perfect for context-rich examples, such as what led a person to ask that question in the first place.
Some discussions will be tagged as “discussions” at the beginning of a post. But even if a discussion isn’t tagged as one, it can still be a discussion. Make sense?
Reddit discussions should provide you with plenty of back-and-forths and different opinions. There might even be a few quarrels, but that’s how you’ll know a topic is interesting.
Here are a couple of comments related to the above question, “How do I create good content?”
Granted, you don’t have to treat all answers like the absolute truth or agree with everything everyone says. Since Reddit is an unfiltered medium, you should be the one in charge of the filters.
Questions and answers are supposed to be fuel for research, and nothing more.
You’re just using them to guide your content creation based on what your audience is interested in.
If you’re looking to go “undercover” and find complaints about a product – or anything, for that matter – then you know where to go.
Of course, users aren’t dumb. They know marketers are watching. By the way, asking questions as a user (not a marketer) is a great hack for when you can’t find specific answers.
Thankfully, Redditors know that’s their space. They aren’t ashamed of voicing their opinions and potentially offending someone.
Here’s an example. If you were to write a piece about the pros and cons of CRMs but had no idea where to start, the following answer would help you conquer the blank page:
The above is a helpful chunk of text to get you started on some of the cons of CRMs. Further research would be necessary to flesh out your topics, but that’s already a great jumping-off point.
(We don’t endorse this user’s opinion in any way. We love CRMs!)
Unsure about which topics to prioritise in your content? Simply check the engagement of a post in the form of Upvotes and awards.
Reddit helps users understand which topics people care about by allowing “Upvotes.” Just like hearts and likes, an Upvote is a simple, yet powerful way for users to show their support for someone’s post or comment. In general, the more Upvotes a post has, the more popular it is.
Redditors can also give each other awards. The following post from the “Writing” subreddit has received the “Helpful” and “Heartwarming” awards, which indicate appreciation from users. It also has a whopping 804 upvotes.
That doesn’t mean you should only consider posts with a high number of Upvotes and awards. Again, you’re in charge of the filters here. Just be sure to prioritise posts that get enough traffic and back-and-forth discussions, so you can tell relevant topics from minor ones.
You don’t always have to know what to write – especially when your audience is already handing ideas to you on a silver platter.
From their beliefs to their objections, Redditors will tell you everything you want to know about your topics of interest. And even if they don’t, you can ask them yourself. Go digging, and you’ll find what you need.
All in all, no content research will ever be as fun as Reddit-surfing. Or, in other words, “ethically eavesdropping on your audience.”