Reddit bills itself as “the front page of the Internet,” and while that bold boast works better with people over 22 — ya know, the ones who actually understand a print newspaper reference — there is a smidgen of truth to it.

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Cute kid/alien/thing.

If something goes viral these days, odds are it passed through this share-happy, San Francisco-based behemoth of a site. Registered Reddit users submit content in the form of either a link or a text, then fellow users vote that submission up or down which determines the position of the post on the site.

So that’s how Reddit works, but exactly how does something go from “Hehe, that’s cute,” to “HOLY COW, CARLA COME SEE THIS!”?

lady on megaphone

Carla’s a little hard of hearing.

While I can’t answer that as an expert, I recently sat down with someone who can. Andrew Sorcini (aka MrBabyMan on social networks) is a virile viral guru. Wanna know how and why something skyrocketed to 10 million views? Andy’s your man. Here are some of the key lessons I learned.

Why Do We Share?
If you’re a business, getting mentioned on reddit can bring a tidal wave of publicity to your site. But to understand why things go viral, it’s important to know why people share content to begin with. People share on Reddit because it:
• Facilitates a social connection
• Gets a dialogue started
• Satisfies our need to gossip
• Lets us express our personality
• Builds one’s curation reputation

no gossip

No Gossiping! Unless you’re on Facebook.

Learning why we all feel compelled to pass things along is the vital first step in how to make something sizzle on Reddit. Consider the human psyche, then roll up your sleeves and focus on…

What Do We Share?
I know what you’re thinking: cat videos. But no, there’s much more to it than that. Sorcini says there are a few key formulas and formats that always seem to get shared the most. They include:
• Lists
• Images (Funny, Sensational, WTF?!)
• David vs. Goliath
• “Outrage Porn”


8.5 million views.

Sorcini says when those lists and images contain content that is informative, unique, funny, and/or relatable, that is when the magic starts to happen.

Prep Your Content for Success
Even if you have a killer piece of content that’s informative and funny and in convenient list form, Sorcini says there are still more steps you should take to optimize it for success:
• Headlines: these are crucial (even if sometimes they’re misleading– Shh!)
• Keep articles down to 1-3 pages
• Text post? Add images!

captain awesome

Admit it, you’d click it.

Of course doing all of these things still doesn’t guarantee your content will splash onto Reddit’s front page. You’d be wise to also spend some time learning the site and getting involved with the community, this way you have a hand up on on the viral competition.

Lastly, Sorcini says don’t forget to share your content on social media and encourage sharing as well. Strike big while the iron is hot and don’t be afraid to tailgate on a trend— you just might set the next one.