I’m gonna dive straight into this post: no longwinded bullshit that I often like to start with in most of my other posts.
There’s no time for the fun and games when there’s a tactic like this to rinse and repeat…
I like to call what I’m about to tell you “Reddit content hacking”.
In this process, we’ll be using Reddit to create proven linkbait, reaping the rewards that backlinks and exposure can offer you. That’s not everything, but I’m not going to reveal everything in the intro, am I?
Let’s get stuck in.
Finding Relevant Subreddits
The first step you’ll need to take is to find subreddits relevant to your niche.
If you’re not yet familiar with Reddit –
what the hell are you playing at? subreddits are essentially forums or communities based around a certain topic. There’s at least one for everything you can think of, and then a million others for things you’d never have even wanted to imagine.
Finding a relevant ‘sub’ is a fairly straightforward process of Googling and using Reddit’s half-decent search functionality to find communities suited to your business or niche.
Now, throughout this post I’m going to be using the example of my side project, and what I did to gain a decent number of backlinks and high exposure with just a few days work.
My side project, Guide to Matched Betting, is based in the sports betting industry.
People in the sports betting industry often find it hard to gain backlinks – which as we all know plays a huge part in SEO – because gambling sites are often seen as untrustworthy.
Now, matched betting sites (which my site is, if you couldn’t tell from the name) are significantly harder to get links to.
It’s still sports betting, and as we just established this makes it tough, but the problem with matched betting is that the vast majority of people think that it’s a scam. It’s not, just to be clear, but this is the overriding opinion of people when they first hear about it, so no-one links to it as a result.
I know many of you will operate in industries that find it hard to generate links in for whatever reason.
Because of my previous struggles to gain links to the site, I looked to branch out in terms of content so that I could attract links – I wanted to create a solid piece of linkbait.
Back to Reddit, in my search for a relevant sub, I found (I say found, I’ve actually been a subscriber in the community for a while) r/FantasyPL – a subreddit that discusses Fantasy Premier League (FPL), a fantasy football/soccer game.
For my site, I thought this was absolutely perfect for a few reasons:
It was relevant enough to my site – it still falls under sport, and many people play FPL for money, gambling.
It had over 19,000 subscribers at the time of carrying out this project.
It was extremely active – it was peak season for the subreddit in the lead up to the new Premier League season.
A small percentage of readers may also be interested in what the rest of my site has to offer.
It’s important when you’re looking for an appropriate subreddit for your business that you think outside the box a little. Just because you’re a fitness blog, it does not mean the only place relevant for you on Reddit is r/Fitness.
Think about all of the different subreddits for certain diets (vegan, keto, paleo etc.) or fitness regimes (CrossFit, P90x, Insanity etc.) – the trick is to go niche, but not too niche.
I’d say the 15,000 – 50,000 subscriber range is ideal for this process, as long as they’re active.
Finding Useful Content
What you’ll want to do after you’ve found a relevant subreddit or two is to look at the content that has done well in the past (and become active, it’s really important you have a Reddit account and try to play a part in your target community).
It’s really simple to find content that’s done well previously, just filter by ‘top’ and then look at links from all-time, or I’d recommend looking at ‘past month’ so you get content that is still fresh in the mind of active people in the sub:
Once you’ve found something that you really like and you think you can replicate or improve…steal it. Yep, steal it.
I’m not just talking about stealing the idea, steal the content too. Steal everything you can.
What I found in r/FantasyPL – my target subreddit – was some excellent beginner guides to the game that people were finding really useful; they were broken down into different sections and each section was being posted every few days.
I went ahead and helped myself to them.
Using Austin Kleon‘s Steal Like An Artist mantra, I asked myself a few questions:
“How can I improve these guides?”
“What would make these guides more useful to readers?”
“What would make these guides easier to digest?”
The guides were great; really detailed, really long.
Then it dawned on me – the mass of written information could be too much to take in for a beginner, who may already be overwhelmed by the game.
What if I could simplify them and make them even more useful?
Creating Proven Linkbait
My plan was to condense all of the information down, put it in visual form so that it’s easier to digest (an infographic, in this case) and then throw in some of my own knowledge and advice too.
You already know this content is good.
You’ve seen it upvoted in the masses on Reddit.
All you have to do is make it even better to reap the rewards in terms of links and exposure.
It’s important, rather than just stealing content, you find areas that you can transform and improve it. Stealing does not mean plagiarising – believe me, I’ve learned that the hard way in the past!
In fact, here are the rules of stealing like an artist:
Now, I made sure I ticked off the points of ‘good theft’ within the guide I created:
Honor: The piece I created was a valuable, respectful addition to the original guides. It was what Banksy is to Warhol, rather than what a counterfeit art dealer is.
Study: As I said a little earlier on, I was already a member of the r/FantasyPL community, and I’ve played the FPL game for years, so I did have some expertise and knowledge in the area built-up over time that I could use within my content.
Steal From Many: I didn’t want to just take things solely out of the guides, so where possible I used pieces of advice that I’d seen in comments all across the subreddit, as well as on other sites.
Credit: I credited r/FantasyPL in the sources at the bottom of my infographic, I also credited the subreddit and the author of the guides in the blog post accompanying the infographic, and when I submitted it to Reddit (more on that in a little while) I credited the subreddit in the thread title and in the comments too.
Transform & Remix: I transformed written guides, comments and my own knowledge from written (and mental) form, rewrote them, condensed the information down and then turned them into a visually appealing infographic.
The final result was a 10,000 pixel tall beast of a guide that covered absolutely everything a beginner would need to know about FPL, but presented in a really simple-to-understand way.
Here’s a snapshot of it:
Click the infographic to see it in all its glory, if you really care.
It’s worth noting, I’m not a designer.
Because this was time sensitive (with the season starting soon and many people creating their FPL teams around this time) I was in a real rush.
I wouldn’t be capable of creating a huge, visually impressive piece in a month, nevermind the few days I had, so I headed over to Upwork.
I posted a job advert with my demands, advertised a really small budget, and said I needed a really quick turnaround.
Anyway, just three or four days after posting the job advert, I had the finished infographic – proofed, edited, revised – on my desk (well, in my Upwork inbox). I have to give credit to the designer Alex Grigoriu for doing such a good job in such a short timeframe, as well as being priced at a rate that proved to be exceptional value.
If you don’t have much budget for creating content, the majority of the quotes I received were between the $75-$125 mark, so you can definitely get stuff done on even the smallest of bankrolls.
I value the average link back to my site at somewhere around the $100 mark, so only needed to get a couple of links back for it to be considered break-even/profitable because of the SEO benefits I’ll receive as a result of them.
Re-delivering to Reddit
This was the part of the process that I was most nervous about; submitting the content to Reddit and seeing the verdict. However, there was absolutely no need to be worried.
After just one day, my submission to r/FantasyPL sites in the third most upvoted post for the month, after topping the daily submissions for a good 18 hours:
Okay, that image is atrocious, but apparently I’m incapable of doing any better using free internet photo editors (I’m a cheapskate, what can I say) and I’m leaving it there anyway.
If you’re struggling to make it all (or any of it) out, it’s showing the top posts in the subreddit for the past month, with my submission sitting comfortably in third place with 146 upvotes.
Make no mistake, this subreddit is not dead or quiet – it gets a good number of links and threads submitted to it every hour.
The full title I went with – and the title you opt for is really important – was “I’ve put together an FPL beginner’s guide infographic using my own knowledge and a whole chunk of advice from r/FantasyPL, what do you think?”
I think this is a great title (in my totally biased opinion) for a number of reasons:
It’s open and honest.
It’s not clickbaity in any way – it describes exactly what it is and more.
It gives credit to the original source.
It asks for feedback – I genuinely was worried what people would think, and if they’d be happy about it or not.
…As things would transpire, and as we’ve already established, things went pretty well.
At the time of writing this, it’s been upvoted 146 times and has an upvote percentage of 97%. This rate is incredible for Reddit – I’m not sure I’ve ever seen something with such a high upvote percentage when it’s got more than 20 upvotes or so.
Reddit is full of trolls and bots that just downvote or hate on everything they see.
As of yet, I’ve not received a bad response, with many people complimenting the guide, the detail, the design and more.
I believe this all comes down to stealing like an artist effectively.
Backlinks & Exposure
Over 2,000 people have viewed the infographic on my site just a day after launching it, the majority of which came from Reddit. Not too shabby considering how niche it is.
I emailed 25 FPL blogs with the infographic to see what they thought, and the results after 24 hours were:
- 2 sites immediately put it live on their site (including my favourite podcast, personal win!)
- 3 extra sites promised to have it live within a week
- 1 site said they would put it live, but only if it was exclusive (sigh…)
So that’s potentially a 20% placement rate from that small sample of sites – I did say this was proven linkbait!
In addition to these, it’s spreading naturally too – I’ve even had links from Polish and Norweigan forums.
Naturally, I wanted to squeeze every drop out of it that I could, so I uploaded it to Visual.ly (nofollow, but I’ll still take it) and also requested that my designer included it on his website’s portfolio.
After just 24 hours, I had 8 linking domains to the content – 9 when this blog post goes live.
The next stage for my promotion is to use advanced search queries to find football blogs that run Fantasy leagues and contact them, but I’m an eager beaver and wanted to present this tactic to you before I’d even finished wrapping up the project.
The great thing is, the content is almost entirely evergreen: it will be relevant month-after-month, year-after-year, meaning it has the potential to generate many more backlinks organically as time progresses.
There’s still every chance for this content to become even more profitable.
UPDATE: 12 days on…
So, after 12 days, I’ve managed to snag a few more backlinks from some really good FPL sites.
If you ever needed proof that backlinks definitely aren’t dead, here’s my site’s organic visibility after picking up those links mentioned above, courtesy of Sistrix data:
Find subreddits relevant to your niche.
Become an active contributer, then look for their top performing content.
Take some top performing content and repurpose it into something more useful for the audience, or something useful for a different audience.
Redeliver it to your chosen Reddit audience, outreach for it, sit back, stack money, write blog post bragging about how much of a genius you are.