Forget Instagrams! 500 Unique Visitors In One Day With reddit!

reddit is home to millions of redditors, and it doesn't work like other social media platforms. It certainly doesn't look as polished as other platforms.

See that? It's not even capitalized. 

But it CAN be a great community to invest in and promote your content.

Every filmmaker should join reddit and spend 25 minutes every working day on the film subreddits, sharpening their skills and answering questions. I'll explain why in a little bit. 

Yet, I still don't understand their mascot. 

Before we get into the nuts and bolts of why you should consider reddit as a part of your content strategy, I have to rewind the clock.

Some time ago, I had a podcast with a young man named Matthew Rojas

He cracked me up because he hit on something my dad does: unnecessary pluralization. 

For example, my dad used to call the Eckerd drugstore Eckerds.

The grocery store Kroger was Krogers.

It's a running gag for him because he knows it cracks us up. 

Well, there are some folks in Matthew's world that don't want to use Instagram, Snapchat, etc. with their churches. 

And to prove their point, they pluralize these social media channels. 

We don't need the Instagrams!

There's truth to that banter: you don't need every social media platform. 

I started off with everything from Google Plus to Vimeo. I had 7 social media accounts - that's WAY too many. Church Films now uses Facebook and reddit to promote content.

********** I'm also trying Pinterest on a trial basis. **********

It may be prudent for you to look at other channels too beside the usual Facebook and Twitter. If you're seeing great results from your Google Analytics, then stick with what is working.

For Church Films, Instagram is HORRIBLE for directing traffic here. 

Click if you want to expand

In all of the Church Films history, Instagram has accounted for almost 0.00% of all traffic.

So about a month ago, I jumped ship. I worked hard on building up the Instagram account, and even shared how you can triple your Instagram following - but after a year, it wasn't cutting the mustard.

I'm still posting once a week on Instagram (roughly). Do the same inventory - personal or organizational account - and bow out if it isn't working.

...

Let's rewind the clock to February 18th, 2016.

1. Friday

The week before, I finished up the blog post about shooting with only a boring white wall, a post inspired by real circumstances following the birth of my son.

I sent it out with the usual Friday newsletter (on Feb 12th), but I segmented that day on a trial basis.

Okay-ish results, ja?

Gotta try something else - I am a fan of "when you fail, try something else."

Now, about this time (Feb 19th), I was dabbling on reddit. I had heard of entrepreneurs using reddit and seeing good results. So I thought if nothing else, I will practice taglines.

After learning to swim on reddit (it takes some getting used to - it has its own policies, subpolicies, acronyms and subcultures), I found several subreddits to be a part of that are relevant to Church Films. 

I went to a subreddit, posted my week-old blog post with a somewhat outrageous tagline, and washed up for supper.

Click to enlarge the image.

Easy, right?

I couldn't have guessed what was going to happen on Saturday. 

2. Saturday

I got about 8-12 pomodoros into work and I got an 'SOS' call from my brother Dan. 

He blew out his ACL skiing on the mountain next door (yes, there is a ski resort outside Vegas, and it's even on a real mountain - fancy that).

AND to make matters worse, it was Dan's driving foot. 

D'oh!

Our family of three jumped in the car with next to no gas in the tank - a fact we realized long after passing the last gas station (or so we thought). There is no gas on the mountain.

45 miles later and surrounded by snow, there was Dan in the First Aid shack.

By the grace of the Almighty, my lady was able to drive the car down to a gas station; I took Dan to the ER, where we spent the rest of the day.

Note: block out your whole day when it's an ER visit - or a film shoot; it goes both ways.

And yet, in spite of the reduced work that day, that Saturday holds the record for the MOST traffic to the Church Films site in a single day. 

I shared the boring white wall post earlier that morning and didn't think much of it.

reddit is funny. You can't post too much in a short amount of time (links that is) - as far as I can tell, you can comment on someone's post as much as you like. 

But if you post two links back-to-back, they might call you out on it and freeze your ability to share the second link for a few minutes or longer.

The more aggressive you are, the more they are too - play by the rules Starlord.

3. Sunday

A lot of traffic spilled over from the day before. 

Yes, the headlines were catchy, but no matter how much time I pour into promoting CF content, I have no control over what people will do.

Especially on a place like reddit. It can be brutal. It can be flippant.

It can also be positive. 

The Almighty is good, what can I say? 

Twitter allows for narcissism, same as Facebook. reddit? reddit doesn't put up with it. 

You'll find two things on reddit: helpful content or questions. 

If you're posting the former, you'll get more than a few pair of eyes, especially if you use the platform as a chance to practice your tagline (or pitch for that matter) in a sentence or two. 

4. Monday

Still had good traffic pouring in.

Conclusion? reddit is here to stay for the foreseeable future.

Google Analytics tells me reddit is the second biggest driver of traffic right now. 

Squarespace has gotten much better at accurately gauging unique visits. They're almost as good as the juggernaut Google, but not everyone uses Squarespace. 

So if you're lost in the sauce, and you're brand spanking new to Google Analytics, here's a primer.

a. Users

Under the top-level menu "Reporting," look for the audience tab on the left.

Then choose "Overview."

The number of people that visited your site in a given period (select last month in the top-right corner) is counted as your "Users."

b. Social Acquisition

This is one reason (after many months) I had to scale back on Instagram considerably. 

Right now, in the month of March, reddit is whooping every other social network COMBINED.

Click to enlarge.

This too is in the left-hand panel. Click "Acquisition," then "Social," then "Overview."

c. Site Content

This too is in the left-panel. Go to "Behavior," then "Site Content," and lastly click "All Pages."

In your selected period (whichever dates you're using), this will tell you which pages are getting the most traffic. 

Click to enlarge.

Most of the top-performing content in February was from strict blog posts - not the podcasts.

Moral: blogs with valuable content *can* do really well on reddit.

d. Forget All Of The Whipped Cream - The ONLY Metric You Should Care About 

My virtual mentor Bryan Harris realized this - not me. 

Take your number of new email subscribers in a given month and divide that number by the number of unique visitors (site-wide) in that same month.

For example, if you had 5 new email subscribers and 100 unique visitors in January, then your conversion rate for January was 5/100 = 5%.

That's your real conversion rate, and the only stat you should take to heart from all of the Google Analytics data. There's just too much to obsess over otherwise. 

And remember, numbers are no substitute for faith

5. Present

Remember, you need a tough skin on reddit.  

Especially if it's remotely faith-based. The redditors are mostly my peers and younger, and they don't mind speaking their minds.

Note: to this day - personally - the juvenile detention center in Salt Lake City was the easiest place to share my faith. People are hungry for the truth when they've got nothing but time to think. On reddit? I pray like a mad man before I hit the reddit inbox. 

reddit requires patience and loads of guts, especially if you're going to tell people there's a God who loves them.

Yep. Prison ministry - even with the youths who had committed heavy-duty crimes - was much easier, hands down. 

... 

I put a lot of heart and soul into Instagram, and I still love the platform for its ease of use and bare-bones approach to content, but it is not good for this blog. 

Which is why I have to put more time into other places. 

You should too. Figure out what's not contributing and cut back significantly or eliminate it. It's the Pareto principle.

If that's reddit, great. Be a part of the reddit community if you want to see good results. I spend a whole pomodoro (one 25-minute block of uninterrupted work) on reddit almost every day promoting Church Films.

But I only share at most 2 links per day. Most days just one. The rest of that 25-minute block is spent answering questions. 

I care about my fellow filmmakers - you should too (or whatever craft God has made you crazy passionate about).

Remember, spam is NOT okay on reddit.

It is not a home for lazy marketers. If you are promoting your film or byproduct of your film (blog, course, infographic, behind-the-scenes video), you must be willing to participate in the subreddits.

So are you thinking of getting out of the kiddie pool? 

Marketers haven't soiled the playground on reddit, and I think it's because the barrier to entry is so high. It's not like spamming Facebook or Twitter.

Guess how much the gofundme campaign was able to raise?

To help you navigate the murky waters, I've put together a swipe file of the subreddits you should bookmark and commit to if you're a filmmaker and/or a follower of Christ that wants to make authentic stories of grace, hope, forgiveness, and true freedom. 

It will save you at least an hour. I know I spent a couple of pomodoros (25-minute blocks) finding good subreddits to post in and be an active member of.   

Promise me this: you will engage the community.

Though it is a virtual community with lots of colorful monikers, it's a community no less. As a follower of Christ, you are called to be a light. Love God, love people - don't be a spambum. 

You want to get to 10,000 views on your authentic story (that's not cheesy)? Consider playing by the rules on reddit.

Extra

I will be opening up two coaching slots for the Bold Nation (newsletter) soon. 

For an hour every month for four months, you can get targeted strategies for one of

and a healthy dose of encouragement and a little prayer.

If you are tired of reaching the same 500 people every weekend and want to impact more people with your God-given gifts for His glory, sign up on the newsletter and let's rap when I make the announcement for coaching.

If you are looking to just shoot the breeze and you won't take responsibility for yourself, this is not a good fit for you, and I will fire you in a heartbeat. 

We all have responsibilities - families, homes, cars, budgets, jobs - bury your lip service and use your God-given passion in the manner it was intended. I'll help you get there. 

Dan's still recovering. He has to have surgery and likely months of physical rehab. His job depended on his ability to move, lift, stand, squat, and so on, so forth. 

Yet, he hasn't quit (even with a shredded ACL) and he's still trying to put food on the table. 

What's your excuse? Comment below.

Jake

Las Vegas

I want to encourage others and bring honor to the Almighty in everything that I do with film and video. My goal is to take the first 11 minutes of my tv pilot and seek out decision-makers who can further the conversation about developing it into a show. If my team and I can do that, then we can teach 100,000 other microbudget filmmakers how to do the same thing so that we might tell stories of hope to millions. In the meantime, I'm a son of the King, a family man, a lifelong student of film, and the author of two microbudget filmmaking books.