We’ve all been there.
Staring at that dreaded blinking line on a blank page.
Every marketer knows the pain of struggling to come up with a topic for their next article, email or social media post.
And while there are lots of ways to come up with great content ideas, I’d like to show you one that doesn’t get talked about much.
It’s a simple strategy that I’ve used to source content ideas for blog posts, workshops, online courses and more.
And all it takes is a site that many of us already visit every day: Reddit.
But first, why Reddit? 3 reasons you need to pay attention
There are plenty of websites and communities online that you can use for your content research.
And you should poke around to find those corners of the internet where your audience is lurking.
Some other places you’d do well to look are:
- Facebook Groups
- LinkedIn Groups
- Slack Channels (here are 1,000 of them!)
But here’s why Reddit is a can’t-miss resource, especially when you’re just starting to look:
It’s massive: Reddit is the 6th most popular website on the planet
According to Alexa.com, Reddit is the sixth most popular website on the planet.
And Google Trends data shows no sign of this growth slowing down.
2. Users find it really engaging: 43% more engaging than Facebook
It’s not just traffic that makes Reddit so valuable. It’s how engaged that traffic is.
According to statistics published in The Next Web, the average Reddit user spends 15 minutes, 47 seconds on Reddit.com each day, compared to just over 11 minutes for Facebook.com visitors and 6 minutes 23 seconds on Twitter.com.
And the platform is growing at an incredible rate: Reddit had more than 330 million monthly active users as of April 2018, which is up from 250 million in November 2017.
Since the platform was launched, its users have posted nearly two billion comments and cast more than 16 billion votes.
Conversations on Reddit can get impressively active, and it’s not uncommon for conversations around hot topics to grow to hundreds of comments.
3. It’s unbelievably deep: more than 1.2 million subreddits
No matter what topic you’re trying to research, there’s almost certainly a subreddit (Reddit’s name for topic-specific forums) for it.
Statista suggests that there are nearly 1.2 million subreddits.
Given its size, engagement and depth, Reddit is certain to have something valuable for you to use to come up with a content ideas.
The key is knowing how to navigate this massive site, and how to extract the most powerful, specific insights from its users.
5 steps to mine Reddit for content idea inspiration
1. Find the most relevant subreddits
Let’s start by finding the subreddits that are already hosting discussions about our general topic.
The superstar content team at Buffer needs no help from me coming up with ideas, but we’ll use the theme of this blog — social media marketing — as an example.
Use the search box at the top right of any page on Reddit to search for communities where your theme is discussed:
To keep this process from becoming a messy 50-browser-tabs-open monster, I recommend saving the links for all of the relevant subreddits you find in one place, and tackling the next step one subreddit at a time.
2. Look for people sharing their struggles
Next, we’ll dive into the subreddits we’ve found and look for problems that we can solve for users with our content.
Using the search function again, look for phrases that indicate that someone is struggling with something.
Here are 15 of my favorites:
- “How do you”
- “How can I”
- “I can’t stand”
- “I’m struggling with”
- “Can someone help”
- “Figure out”
- “Help me”
- “Biggest challenge”
- “Biggest challenges”
- “Hardest part”
- “Biggest struggle”
- “Struggle with”
Make sure to include the quotes, especially for the multi-word phrases, as that will ensure an exact phrase match.
Here’s a search on the r/socialmedia subreddit for “how do you”:
Sort your results by “comments”, as I did above, to find the most active conversations.
As you can see, in just my first few minutes of searching, I’ve come across 6 possible ideas for my next piece of content!
- Tools and tips for running multiple social media accounts for clients.
- How to overcome burnout as a solo Social Media Manager.
- How Community Managers can stay organized.
- Managing Instagram accounts for clients.
- Dealing with the most difficult parts of being a Social Media Manager.
- Getting your first 1,000 followers on social media.
You can repeat this process across all of the subreddits you’ve identified to come up with a list of dozens (or more) potential content topics.
Next, let’s dig in to get all of the information we need to ensure our content thoroughly solves the reader’s problem.
3. Go deeper
Once you’ve chosen a topic for your content, it’s time to dig deeper into the conversation so we can learn more about:
- What other problems do Redditors have that are related to the core problem?
- What solutions have worked for other Redditors?
- What solutions have failed?
Understanding this information will help you create a richer, more thorough article.
Following the example above, let’s take a look at the thread for the first search result:
“I started my first ever job in Social Media last month for an agency. What tools/tips do you have for running multiple client accounts?”
In the thread, we find everything from tips for staying afloat…
…to follow-up questions from other posters…
…to tool recommendations, one of which I couldn’t resist sharing:
Armed with your Reddit-mined article idea and the research to build your post around, it’s time to write.
4. Create your content
If you’ve completed each step, then you have everything you need for your next valuable piece of content.
But don’t stop there!
Once you have a blog post written, think about how you can repurpose each idea to drive the most ROI for your business.
For example, you could use that blog post as a foundation for:
- An Instagram post
- A YouTube video about the topic
- A Facebook Live session sharing your advice
- A Tweetstorm
5. Come back to share
Your content should, of course, be shared in the usual channels that you use to promote your content.
But don’t forgot to also go back to the Reddit thread that inspired you and share your article with the community.
Because old threads might be forgotten about, you’d also do well to send a private message to the original poster letting them know about your post.
This is a process you can reuse over and over again.
And with more than two billion comments to search through, it’s unlikely you’ll run out of ideas anytime soon.
Have you used Reddit to source content ideas? What was your experience like? Leave a comment and let me know.