Even if you’ve never been to Reddit.com, you’re definitely familiar with many of the stories on the wildly popular site that dubs itself “The front page of the Internet.”
That’s because every news organization/blog you’re familiar with scans Reddit for interesting stories cultivated by the company’s highly engaged (read: addicted) user base.
Reddit’s front page aggregates stories and pictures from some of the more interesting “sub reddits” and displays for users an eclectic mix of news, memes, pictures and discussions. Each user can customize the topics (sub reddits) to be displayed on their respective front page for a personalized experience.
And because most of the content is submitted by users (and voted “up” or “down” by them), news organizations have a clear picture of which pieces of original content resonate with people.
Hence, Reddit both produces and vets potential stories, making short work of the reporting process for bloggers and reporters. If it’s on the front page of Reddit (meaning it got enough “upvotes” to get there), the audience has spoken.
So, what does Reddit have to do with public relations?
Sites like Reddit, Tumblr, Storify and many others are fueled by user-generated-content (pictures, videos, memes, blog posts, etc.). In the old days, many reporters relied almost exclusively on PR people pitching them with story ideas, and though that’s still definitely happening, today there are many other sources of information from which to choose stories.
That means PR pitches need to add more value than ever. It means clients need to understand that visual content is critical in order to compete with the spate of user-generated sites that produce quality material every day, hour, minute, second.
As Reddit demonstrates brilliantly, quality content is key, and has the power to reach and entertain/inform an enormously large audience if it “catches fire.”
And that’s what Reddit has done – it’s caught fire with users and captured the attention of the media as a very legitimate, fresh, contemporary form of news gathering. You see Reddit’s stories everyday across the international media landscape. Thus, it’s not an exaggeration to say the company, which is still struggling to make a profit, is a driving force behind the news.