“Your content is crap.”
Ouch, that stings a little, doesn’t it?
But getting honest feedback for your content is key if you want big links in 2018.
And the big problem?
Most people just want to be nice to you.
Clients will tell you “the infographic looks great.”
Colleagues will smile and nod.
But here’s the deal:
You need super harsh feedback from people who don’t care about your feelings.
I won’t ask you to start working with psychopaths or mean people.
In this post, I’ll show you how you can use Reddit to get unbiased feedback for every single outreach campaign.
This will level up your content so you will get way more links when you promote it.
A word of warning:
This might not be pretty.
You might have been deluding yourself for years that your content was awesome.
But Redditors won’t hold back.
In fact, they can be downright horrible even when your content is great.
If you have a thin skin, then I advise you to close your laptop now.
Are you still with me?
Let’s dive in.
Here’s how to test your content on Reddit…
1. Use Imgur
The big mistake most people make when using Reddit is to use the actual URL where they host the content.
This makes moderators think you’re a spammer wanting to drive Reddit traffic to your site.
So, your post might get sent to spam before anyone has a chance to see it. And you lose your opportunity to get meaningful feedback.
This is why we post our content on imgur.com.
You will get a link like this: https://imgur.com/WNZPp
> Try this: Keep an eye out for those subreddits that allow users to upload images directly, without the need of using Imgur.
2. Find the right subreddit
Reddit is not one big site but a collection of many different communities.
Each community is a subreddit and has it’s own URL r/name-of-subreddit.
The simplest way to find the right subreddit for your content is to do a basic search.
Another good tool you can use is http://redditlist.com/sfw.
This tool allows you to filter subreddits that have a large amount of activity/subscribers.
Don’t look for the most popular subreddits. Instead, go for moderately popular communities.
These big yet “default” subreddits have lots of submissions every second so it‘s hard to stand out.
They also have a more general audience so the feedback is not as useful compared with avid fans or experts.
> Try this: Pick a few subreddits that are as relevant as possible to the content you are sharing.
3. Follow the rules
Each subreddit has it’s own rules so be sure to check them before you post.
The rules are usually in the right-hand corner.
Let me show you an example from /r/slowcooking/
As this subreddit has strict rules I would message the moderators before posting. Message them your Imgur URL and ask whether it’s ok to post it.
> Try this: Check the rules of your chosen subreddits and make sure they are open to posting Imgur links. If in doubt, reach out to the moderator team.
4. Invest in your ‘karma’
Don’t make the mistake of creating an account the same day you submit your content.
Another rookie error.
You don’t need a “power account” but do try to engage a few times and submit a few items that are not your own to build some trust.
Aim for a karma score of at least 10 before you post your own content.
Posting gadget news here can be a useful way to gain account karma: https://www.reddit.com/r/gadgets/
> Try this: Setup a new account and submit good quality content until you have a karma score of 10 or higher. Wait a few days and then submit your Imgur link to a relevant subreddit.
What feedback should you care about?
The big things to look out for:
When producing content, we all make mistakes and in most cases, they are super simple to fix.
For instance, earlier this year we created a piece called ‘How they do it: 9 parenting practices from around the world.’
It was a series of illustrations with short descriptions.
One of the practices we illustrated was co-sleeping in Japan, and based on research we suggested that it helps strengthen the child’s independence.
One Reddit user helpfully noted that the practice is actually used to instil a family bond and bring about feelings of stability.
Based on this feedback, we amended our description to be more accurate: ‘Parents believe that sharing a bed with their children brings family bonding and a feeling of stability.’
Are people understanding something other than what you intended?
That same parenting practices piece also led to a couple of misunderstandings.
Initially, we noted that German parents pack their young children off on overnight camping trips without their parents to develop confidence and care towards others. To us it was clear: the kids went to camps. But to Reddit users, it meant that the kids were sent off camping on their own, without adult supervision.
After reviewing the Reddit feedback, we articulated this better:
‘Nusery-age children are packed off on overnight camping trips without their parents (but with supervision) to develop confidence and care towards others.’
On the same Reddit thread, the Kisii practice of mothers averting their gaze from crying babies was also a hot topic. Reddit users interpreted our wording to mean that Kisii mothers avoid all eye contact with their babies – and many were concerned by it.
Again, we improved our wording:
‘Kisii mothers avert their gaze from babies when they start fussing, as it’s believed that eye contact bestows power and makes children attention-seeking.’
Misunderstandings like these can be trickier to fix but when you do, you will get a lot more links as more people will get what you mean.
3. Terrible feedback
Sometimes we can’t do justice to a topic or choose an idea that makes no sense.
You may then choose to scrap content all together so you don’t waste resources promoting it.
Our piece ‘8 simple freezer meal ideas for busy parents’ was one such idea.
Reddit users noted that the meal ideas we suggested used too many ingredients and wouldn’t appeal to their children at all.
These were big issues and we couldn’t think of small changes to fix them.
The best choice was to call it quits and start from scratch with a new piece, keeping the Reddit feedback in mind for the future.
How we have improved content with Reddit testing at NeoMam
I reached out to Jessica Barrett, the senior content producer here at NeoMam, to give me a real-life example of how Reddit users helped us improve content:
“One of our more ambitious undertakings – a project called ‘The literal translation of country names’ – attempted to map out the literal meaning of every country around the world.
The research was arduous; sometimes we found several etymologies for the same country name, and sometimes we couldn’t find much at all.
When we were finally satisfied that our ‘translations’ were as accurate as possible, we took the design to Reddit for feedback.
And wow, was there feedback.
Sifting through nearly 600 comments, it became clear that Reddit users contested some of our translated names, while others were downright wrong.
But compiling that feedback and digging further into the research ensured that we had strong sources to back up our translations, and we made changes as necessary.
This piece has done phenomenally well, with 120 features and counting – and because we tested it on Reddit prior to publication, we know it’s as close to perfect as we can get.”
Stop gambling with your content
There is a better way than hitting publish and hoping for the best.
Even the best content marketers can’t compete with the Reddit hivemind.
Testing your content allows you to tap into the Reddit community to level up your content.
Better content = higher quality links
So, go forth and test.
And get more trusted, relevant, high-authority links than ever before.