Newsjacking is one of the most effective ways to get your brand noticed quickly. It usually doesn’t cost much to execute and can engage your consumers like no other content.
What is Newsjacking?
Simply put, newsjacking is the art of taking a breaking news item and leveraging it to promote your brand. The idea is that every news story has a finite life cycle: if you can insert your own ideas or opinions into a story in its earliest stages, then you’ll attract more attention from your consumer base.
However, wait too long to publish your news-related content, and it will lose its power. After all, your average person has a relatively short attention span when it comes to news. When new news becomes old news, it might as well be dead news.
How Does Newsjacking Work?
Okay, so now that we’ve formed an idea of what newsjacking is all about, we need to know how it works. There are 3 basic phases in the newsjacking process:
1. Identify a Good Story to Newsjack
First of all, you’ll need to list out your sources of information, and prioritize them by value. For news from the global community at large, there are several outlets from which to choose. Definitely monitor Facebook and Twitter feeds for stories with newsjacking potential. If you’re focused on the professional community in particular, then keep track of breaking news items from LinkedIn and other social media platforms geared to the business market. Finally, use Google Trends and Google Alerts to monitoring trending stories and keywords.
Granted, sometimes you just need to be in the right place at the right time in order to successfully newsjack a story. Still, keeping a pulse on your consumers’ interests with the help of the above-mentioned tools can help you to land on that perfect news item and take advantage.
2. Create and Post Content with Your Own Spin (Quickly)
It’s important to put out a newsjacked piece of content very quickly. Ideally, you want to get your thoughts out there as public interest is still growing, but before it reaches peak levels. This requires you to have a “newsjacking infrastructure” already in place.
For instance, if you are a small business owner, then you may have a certain amount of flexibility in your schedule. You can set aside some time to write a blog that outlines the facts of a story, and then append your own thoughts to the story. Or, you could designate one of your employees that are good with words to compose the blog post in your place.
In the rush to publish your content, however, do not fall prey to inaccuracy. Do your research, and ensure that the facts are well-established. Any gain in publicity from a hastily-published piece of content will be outweighed by loss of credibility if your facts are not in order.
3. Amplify Your Content Via Social Media
Instead of using social media as the default platform for newsjacking, use your presence to amplify more in-depth content. Direct your fans and followers to longer-form articles that are focused on the story in question. You can still display some wit and humour in a tweet, but don’t limit your newsjacking efforts to 280 characters or less.
Some Things to Avoid
As with most things marketing, newsjacking comes with some guidelines that must be observed. Here are some definite don’ts that should be avoided at all costs:
- Don’t turn a news story into a promotion for your product. The purpose of newsjacking is to generate publicity and brand awareness, not to pitch a sale to your consumers.
- Don’t try to newsjack tragedies. It will almost always be considered poor taste, and your company’s reputation will take a hit. (See AT&T’s much-reviled #neverforget moment in 2013.)
- Don’t stretch the connection between your company and the story beyond believability. Maybe there’s a professional lumberjacks’ convention coming to your town; but if you run an accounting business, two words probably apply: who cares?
What are the Benefits of Newsjacking?
There are several, but we’ll mention 4 key advantages that newsjacking can offer as part of your content marketing strategy:
- An SEO boost. If your consumers are searching for info on a particular story, then some of them are bound to end up on your site, reading your take on the whole thing (provided you are fast enough).
- Increased brand awareness. New prospects may stumble across your business by accident, as they explore articles related to a breaking news item.
- High engagement. Who isn’t interested in a good story? You’ll be able to engage your consumer base like never before by framing content within an interesting, entertaining context.
- Low costs. Newsjacking, when done right, should be just about the most cost-effective content marketing technique out there. You don’t need to be perfect; you just need to be fast.