Finding PR and Community on Reddit

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Back in March 2024, Parry Headrick, Founder of Crackle PR, LinkedIn evangelist and resident communications expert, announced his upcoming Reddit AMA (“Ask Me Anything”) on the LinkedIn platform. 

While PR pros may seek community through live events, LinkedIn groups and the like, what they may not know is that Reddit, one of the early community platforms, has quite the robust communicators community. 

Over 32,000 global members currently belong to the public relations subreddit (created 14 years ago on March 3, 2010), which can be found at r/publicrelations. The group hosts people from all career stages including recent graduates, those transitioning from journalism to PR and industry veterans.

Reddit showcases a great opportunity for learning what audiences think about topics, possibly even about your own brand or organization. It also allows users to establish themselves as thought leaders through their owned media (posts). 

PRNEWS spoke to Headrick about his Reddit AMA experience, as well as Alistair Berry, moderator for the r/publicrelations subreddit. 

PRNEWS: Can you briefly explain what a Reddit AMA is for those who may not know?

Headrick: An AMA is an opportunity for Reddit users in specific subreddits (subcommunities) to ask persons of interest questions they rarely get to ask in real life. For example, in a music group a popular singer might do an AMA. In an academic group a top professor might do an AMA, etc.  

PRNEWS: How did you decide to contact Parry for a Reddit AMA event? 

Berry: I've followed Parry for some time on LinkedIn, and I enjoy the…insights he shares [with] the industry. Taking the plunge to set up your own agency is something which is discussed in the subreddit, and he has that experience which I thought might be useful for many of our users. I also thought there was a chance his [LinkedIn] audience might be interested in [another] place to come and discuss PR.

PRNEWS: Have you hosted other AMA events with PR pros?

Berry: In 2022, we had Duncan Meisel, Director of Clean Creatives, discuss its campaign to encourage those working in PR and advertising to decline contracts with the fossil fuel industry.

In 2023, we had the team from Podchaser Pro, a podcast database tool, who came to answer questions about podcasts and booking guests.

We're always interested to hear from people who have something useful or interesting to share with the community. 

PRNEWS: How does the PR/comms community differ on Reddit from other social media platforms? What are they looking for/interested in?

Headrick: Brutal honesty is the hallmark of Reddit. People go to these groups for real talk/real advice from their peers, who are able to be honest because most operate under pseudonyms. 

Berry: A lot of the PR discussion spaces online are based around an individual, or a brand, or an organization—often the discussion there is really valuable, but it tends to be driven by whoever is 'in charge' of the space. /r/PublicRelations is very community-driven. Anyone with a Reddit account can share a post about almost anything they want to (we have some very basic rules to abide by to keep things on-topic and useful), and other community members can upvote things they find interesting, and downvote things they don't find interesting. If you're not seeing the kind of content you're interested in, you can create it and start a discussion around it. 

I find it valuable to read and talk about the challenges, successes and frustrations of other people in the industry—even when we don't have solutions, sometimes it's nice just to know other people have the same problems you do!

PRNEWS: Parry, what were some of the big takeaways from your AMA?

Headrick: PR pros are tired of peddling the myths riddling our industry. Tired of pretending that “who you know” in the media is the biggest determiner of PR success. Modern PR practitioners are hungry for truth tellers, and are done playing the game by the old rules: 40 hours per week in a cubicle, tracking time in 15-minute increments, acting like vendors instead of partners. 

PRNEWS: Did YOU learn anything from doing the AMA?

Headrick: It confirmed what I’m seeing on LinkedIn every day: that the PR industry is hungry for leaders who shoot from the hip, and they’re tired of the nonsense and misconceptions riddling our trade. 

PRNEWS: What types of organizations/brands could benefit from using Reddit? What would they use it for?

Headrick: Brands need to be extremely careful about using Reddit as part of their marketing/comms strategy. Why? Because Reddit smells BS a mile away. So you’ve got to understand that playing on Reddit comes with big risks of backlash if brands are overly self-promotional. The best way to use Reddit is to always add value to the conversations.

Nicole Schuman is Managing Editor at PRNEWS.