Reaching the Top of Reddit

Credit: Jon Buchan, BAMF

A while ago, I saw this post by Jon Buchan in Josh Fechter’s Facebook Group, Badass Marketers and Founders (BAMF), and it caught my eye.

Intrigued, I checked out the breakdown and was immediately impressed that his success was achieved purely through good copywriting. No shadiness necessary.

Here’s the post itself, and here’s the deck where he explains his process.

Step 1: Craft the perfect title

Arguably, the best part of Jon’s Reddit post is the title.

It’s direct and provocative. Were it the subject line of an email, it would have an astronomically high open rate.

When coming up with a headline, Jon suggests the following:

  • Accidental (drunk) is better than deliberate, especially when it’s life-changing.
  • Use curiosity & novelty. “Drunk” may mean this story could be funny or least unusual, which is important for drawing people in.

Step 2: Write a great intro

According to Jon, good intros include four elements: identity, struggle, discovery, and surprise. Here’s how he opened his successful post:

Identity: “I was desperate for sales…”

Struggle: “…hellishly drunk…”

Discovery: “…wrote a completely absurd cold email…”

Surprise: “To my astonishment, it worked…”

It’s important to cut to the chase and cover all four of these elements quickly so you can keep people’s attention and pull their eyes down the page.

Step 3: Segue into proof

Now that your story’s going at a good clip, you should segue into proof. After all, Reddit is a cynical community, and you’re going to have to prove you’re not lying.

Jon does this by dropping a few big names and then linking to a letter he received from someone he was prospecting.

He emphasizes the following:

  • Use big names to get attention
  • Also reference smaller businesses
  • Make sure the companies are in different sectors
  • Note that your solution can work for other use cases, too. In the example, Jon’s advice isn’t just good for sales—you can use it to get PR exposure, job interviews, and book podcast spots, too.
  • Offer of help to anyone who wants it

For visual proof, link to an image that proves you’re telling the truth. Here’s the letter Jon shared via someone else’s Twitter profile, which adds more believability.

Step 4: Provide value

If you’ve done everything right so far, you’ll have people legitimately engaged with your story. Now it’s time to drop a value bomb.

In Jon’s example, he dives into an effective email marketing strategy.

Lastly, he wraps things up with a quick conclusion and more social proof.

Again, Jon says, “Reddit is very cynical. As such, I provided further proof that would satisfy all but the real conspiracy theorists.”

He also notes that since he’s provided so much value, he can get away with posting a link to his Facebook group.

Step 5: Respond to comments obsessively

One of the not-so-secret secrets to milking the Reddit algorithm is to generate as much engagement as possible.

Every time someone comments, you should reply. No exceptions.

Jon says, “I made sure to obsessively check the thread and comment. This kept people engaged, increases the comment number (people will more likely visit highly commented threads), and people know I’ll reply if they post a question for me.”

Key points to keep in mind

  • “The drunk cold email that changed my life” is a great title. Don’t underestimate the power of a good hook.
  • Use the identity, struggle, discovery, surprise formula for a good opener.
  • Make people laugh or at least smirk within the first 10 seconds of reading.
  • Talk about the benefits to your life. Jon says, “I deliberately covered multiple sectors, company sizes, and uses so people couldn’t respond with ‘Well, that’s good but I bet it won’t work for XXX.’”
  • Provide solid proof, preferably through other people’s social accounts.
  • Provide tons of useful content, including tools and/or templates. Jon says, “This gives you a pass to post a URL at the very end of your post. Without it, you’ll get downvoted to hell.”
  • Respond to all comments obsessively.