5 Things You Need to Know Before Hosting a Reddit AMA

Hosting a Reddit AMA is a fantastic way to reach thousands of people at once. You can find out what the public really thinks about you, your company or your product and receive honest suggestions and feedback in real time. I’m admittedly not a Reddit expert, but the BIGfish team recently met with a local Reddit moderator to learn more about AMAs and the Reddit community. Below I’ve listed some of the the must do’s and the cringeworthy do NOT do’s you need to know before taking the plunge into the world of Reddit.
1) Get familiar with Reddit.
If you’re not familiar with Reddit, it’s worth it to spend some time navigating pages, posting links and photos and replying to others’ posts. There’s nothing worse than when a person hosts an AMA and starts posting answers to the wrong questions. Read through past AMAs and see what kinds of questions were asked, what works well and what doesn’t, etc. It helps to be familiar with the platform, but if you’re not a seasoned Reddit pro, don’t pretend to be.
2) Prepare for the worst and answer every question.
Woody Harrelson’s AMA was one of the worst ever. When redditors asked personal questions or brought up his controversial past, he refused to answer or got defensive and angry. Remember: this is an “ask me anything.” The Reddit community is notorious for sniffing out exactly what it is you don’t want to talk about and exposing those points. Prepare in advance for tough questions and decide how you’ll answer them. Not answering a question, whether it’s pointed and difficult or silly and irrelevant, is like signaling for an attack.
3) Find a moderator board that’s helpful and responsive.
Check out the AMA schedules (on the right hand sidebar) of some subreddits to see how often they do AMAs, who hosts them and if anyone else is hosting one the day you’re shooting for. You’ll want to target subreddits with a solid subscriber base (you can see the number of users who subscribe to that specific subreddit in the right hand sidebar), but finding a subreddit with responsive moderators is more important.
Narrow your search to 5-10 relevant subreddits and message their moderator boards. Let them know who you are, why you want to do an AMA and when you would like to do it. If you find an awesome moderator who’s really into your AMA, it’s worth asking if they’ll make your AMA a sticky post so that it stays at the top of the feed all day.
4) Schedule and draft your AMA.
Ideally, you should schedule an AMA anywhere between a few weeks to a few months in advance.
Users from around the world might be jumping online at different times so it’s a good idea to make it an all-day event. Once you figure out where your AMA will be held, you’ll have to prove that you are, in fact, who you say you are. Celebrities often post  an image of themselves holding a piece of paper stating they’re hosting an AMA. Social media posts including your Reddit username, date and time of your AMA, also suffice (see samples of our Facebook and Twitter posts for BIGfish client FINsix).
Once you have this squared away, it’s time to draft the post title and description to be used during the AMA. Titles typically follow the formula “I’m XX, AMA,” (BIGfish client FINsix’s AMA post read: “I’m the CEO & co-founder of FINsix, the company that created the Dart – the world’s smallest laptop adapter. AMA!” Next, the description should give some brief details about who’s answering questions, why you’re hosting, link(s) to your proof, and any additional relevant background information. The description box is also where you should post updates during the AMA, like if you’re leaving your computer for a bit and won’t be answering questions for a few hours.
5) Spread the word.
In order to make sure people know you’re hosting an AMA and to encourage existing fans or customers to join in on the conversation, you’ll want to start promoting your AMA a few weeks in advance. I recommend promoting the AMA using organic posts on Facebook and Twitter, sending emails to friends, family and/or customers, social media ads and promoted posts on the Reddit homepage (so that users who visit but who don’t already have accounts will see it) as well as on relevant subreddits.
Always Remember:

  • Answer every question.
  • Honesty is always the best policy.
  • If you have something to hide, don’t host an AMA.
  • Never be too promotional.

Brigid Gorham

Businesswire vs. PRWeb: Which Service Should You Use?

Our clients often ask us about press release distribution services. Which one should they be using? Which is the best? What’s the difference? Our answer depends on what the client is looking to get out of a press release, their time and budget limitations and more. We’ve outlined the main criteria to help you determine which service to use for your next announcement.
Note that our estimates and experience are based on releases distributed nationally. While we’re discussing PRWeb and Businesswire, there are other, similar services available.

1. Desired Results: Businesswire vs. PRWeb

Businesswire: Press Coverage
Businesswire complies with SEC regulations, making it a reliable source for information and enabling public companies to use this service to make required announcements. As a result, members of the media subscribe to Businesswire to stay up to date on company news. With more than 92,000 subscribing journalists and a distribution that goes out to more than 89,000 media outlets, your release is very likely to be seen by a relevant reporter and syndicated in top outlets like the Wall Street Journal.

On the other hand, PRWeb only has 30,000 journalist subscribers and therefore is less likely to get you or your company in the news. However, PRWeb is “committed to staying current with search marketing best practices,” meaning their distributed releases garner lots of social shares and help drive traffic to your site, improving your SEO. Just make sure to pack your PRWeb release with keywords and links back to your website. We send out regular PRWeb releases with the goal of improving SEO for one of our clients and have seen positive results.

Bottom Line
If you’re making an important, newsworthy announcement that you want journalists to see and report on, use Businesswire. If you’re making a less important announcement but still want to put out a release or want to improve SEO, use PRWeb.

2. Release Requirements: Businesswire vs. PRWeb

Businesswire: Less words, more links
You’ll need to limit a Businesswire release to 400 words to avoid paying additional (and expensive) fees. That being said, you can add as many links as you would like.

PRWeb: More words, less links
On the other hand, PRWeb offers a flat rate for releases under 800 words, and frankly, your release shouldn’t be any longer. However, PRWeb only allows one link per 100 words in your release. Since PRWeb releases are often used to improve SEO, link limitations can be frustrating.

Bottom Line
As a rule of thumb, press releases should always be as concise as possible. That being said, PRWeb allows for more words for your dollar, but it limits the amount of links. Businesswire is more expensive per word of your release, but you can fill it with as many links as you want.

3. Timing

Businesswire: Immediate Release
With Businesswire, you can schedule a release to go out whenever you want, whether you schedule it weeks in advance, a day in advance, or for immediate release. Sometimes it’s hard to agree on the final draft of a press release until the minute it should go out, so this feature of Businesswire is definitely useful.

PRWeb: Schedule in Advance
PRWeb requires at least 24 hours to review and schedule your release before it’s sent out. If you want to schedule something for immediate release, it’ll cost you an extra $100. You want to make sure you have everything for a release finalized at least two days before it need to go out, which isn’t always possible.

Bottom Line
If you’re on tight timeline, Businesswire is your go-to source due to their responsiveness and efficiency, but if you’re announcement is less timely, PRWeb is definitely a more cost-effective solution.

4. Customer Service

After scheduling a release, a Businesswire representative will read it over and give you a call if they catch something misspelled or misplaced. Simply check the corresponding box while scheduling the release and Businesswire will call you to confirm before your release crosses the wire. They also have a customer service line you can call to ask questions or edit a release after you’ve scheduled it.

PRWeb: ✭✭✩✩
PRWeb is much more hands off when it comes to the review process. They send an email with the link to the release once it’s crossed the wire, but it’s unlikely you’ll speak with an associate. They do have a 24-hour news desk line to call and a “support portal” where you can live chat with a PRWeb representative.

Bottom Line
Businesswire representatives are more responsive and knowledgeable than those at PRWeb.

5. Cost

Businesswire: $$$$
Businesswire charges $760 for the first 400 words in your press release for a US Distribution. They then charge $195 for every additional 100 words and an additional $95 for amplified visibility, engagement, analytics and measurement, that’s automatically added in. Attaching your company’s logo is free, but adding an additional multimedia file will cost you $425 for the first file and another $225 for each additional. These prices increase annually so, as you might imagine, Businesswire releases get pricey very quickly.

There are five pricing options for PR Web, which range from $99 to $499. We usually use the $249 “Advanced” distribution.

PRWeb-price business wire pricing
This is a flat rate for releases under 800 words and also includes attachments like photos, documents or presentations.

Bottom Line: Businesswire is much more expensive than PRWeb, but you also get much more in return, like the personal help and expertise of professionals who work behind the scenes. But if you’re working on a tight budget then PRWeb is your best bet.

6. Analytics

Businesswire: Fast & detailed
A Businesswire analytics report is available the day your press release goes out. It provides detailed information on which outlets picked up your release, links to the article, and how many impressions that site gets per month. It combines all information in a clean “NewsTrak” report PDF complete with links and logos, total views, link clicks and more. We typically extract and share the press coverage and links pages with our clients.

PRWeb: Slow & confusing
It usually takes about a week for PRWeb to deliver an analytics report. You have to click around quite a bit to find what you’re looking for and the report is overall less useful than Businesswire’s.

Bottom Line
Businesswire’s NewsTrak analytics report is cleaner, more intuitive and more interactive than PRWeb’s report.
There are many factors to consider when it comes to choosing a press release distribution service. The best advice I can offer is: if you’re making an important announcement, it’s worth the money to use Businesswire. If you’re looking to improve SEO, then putting out releases on PRWeb regularly is a relatively inexpensive way of driving traffic and keeping consumers updated.
Brigid Gorham

Thank You, Interns!

We were lucky enough to have our two interns Hannah and Dana stay on with us through both fall and spring semesters. Since starting at BIGfish in September, they’ve helped us execute countless projects by writing press releases, pitches, blog and social media posts and helping us plan events. We will certainly miss having Hannah and Dana in the office and we wish them the best!
Read on to find out what they’ve learned during their time at BIGfish, what they’re most proud of, and what advice they have for future interns.
Dana Harvey
Dana Harvey
Hometown: Bayside, NY
College: Boston College, Class of 2014
Major: Political Science
What you’re most proud of from your time at BIGfish: I am most proud of my growth throughout my time at BIGfish. Being a Political Science major I did not come to BIGfish with a lot of communications experience, but I came with a love of writing and research paired with an eagerness to learn. The account team at BIGfish was very willing to train me and offer advice along the way. I found it very helpful to be able to write press releases, pitches, and blog posts, in addition to preparing media lists and assisting in the planning of events.
Benefits of extending your internship: In extending my internship I was able to monitor our clients and their industries over my winter break in order to enter the second semester with a fresh perspective. In addition, it was great being familiar with the BIGfish team and with our clients, which allowed me to jump right into my work.
Advice to future BIGfish interns: I would say that it is important to show your willingness and eagerness to learn. In a small agency there are always tasks to get done, so there are always opportunities to help out. In addition, don’t be shy when sharing your ideas with the account team. During brainstorming sessions it is really helpful to have new and innovative ideas for clients.
Where you’d like to be in 5 years: In five years I would like to be working at a PR agency.
Anything else? I am grateful to have been able to work and grow at BIGfish this school year. I found that the BIGfish account team was always willing to share their breadth of knowledge with me and to help me improve my PR skills. I can honestly say that I am walking away well prepared for my post-graduate career.
Hannah Duffy
Hometown: Washington, NJ
College: Boston College, Class of 2014
Major: Communication; Applied Psychology and Human Development
What you’re most proud of from your time at BIGfish: I’m proud of my growth and improvement while at BIGfish, specifically in my writing skills. My writing has become much sharper from the frequent writing of press releases, blog posts, pitches, tweets, articles, and more.
Benefits of extending your internship: When I returned to BIGfish for my second semester, I hit the ground running. I already knew the clients, office environment, and expectations, so I was able to learn and grow more quickly.
Advice to future BIGfish interns: Take initiative: Offering to help out with tasks that may not be assigned to you helps the team and helps you learn. Ask questions: Take advantage of the wealth of knowledge in this office. The team is extremely experienced and talented, so don’t be afraid to ask about their experiences. Get to know the clients: In my time here, I ended up feeling really invested in our clients. I found myself checking my email on my off days, checking to see how a Kickstarter campaign was going, or looking at what press hits came in. Explore each client to discover what kinds of industries interest you most.
Where you’d like to be in 5 years: Working at a PR agency in Boston.
Anything else? I feel lucky to have found such an educational, valuable, and fun internship. My experience at BIGfish has helped prepare me for the PR world that I’m excited to enter post-graduation!