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The News Chair

Have You Newsjacked Lately?

BreakingNews

When was the last time you flipped through a newspaper, turned on TV news or scrolled through Twitter and found breaking news? It’s happening every day — a crime, an accident, severe weather, a political battle.

 

Tiffany Whisner

Tiffany Whisner

But how can you turn breaking news into a marketing opportunity for your organization? It’s called newsjacking.

 

Ride the popularity news wave

HubSpot’s Corey Eridon said, “Newsjacking refers to the practice of capitalizing on the popularity of a news story to amplify your sales and marketing success.”

 

Newsjacking was made popular by David Meerman Scott with his book, “Newsjacking: How to Inject Your Ideas into a Breaking News Story and Generate Tons of Media Coverage.” He offers tips on how to take advantage of breaking news and use it to generate media attention for your business.

 

But you have to take action at the right time. There’s a point in the life of the news story between the news breaking and the scramble of journalists for additional information. This is the time to newsjack.

 

In most cases, breaking news becomes old news pretty quick, and the interest in that story dies down. To take advantage of newsjacking, don’t get wrapped up in the details of the marketing campaign or ruminate on the exact angle of a blog post. Just go for it.

 

Not-so-new concept breaks ground

Newsjacking isn’t a completely cutting-edge concept. Public relations professionals have been using it for years. However, it’s getting more attention as brand and content marketing is advancing to the forefront of the industry.

 

Why should you newsjack? Mark Sherbin of the Content Marketing Institute said benefits include:

  • Boosting SEO
  • Drawing in readers with ultra-timely commentary
  • Sharing a new angle for branded content ideas
  • Leading your market in thought leadership

 

Newsjacking also “improves your brand’s reputation and drives highly-targeted traffic that can turn into leads and even sales,” Eridon said. But it’s a very delicate practice as well.

 

Countless brands that tried to make the best of Hurricane Sandy is one prime example, as are Kenneth Cole’s infamous Egyptian revolution and Syrian conflict tweets, which exploited a massive social movement and a source of considerable human suffering as opportunities to push products,” said Content Marketing Institute’s Britt Klontz in her article.

 

It’s a fine line between brilliance and breakdown.

 

Get newsjacking right

The key to newsjacking is thinking and acting fast. HubSpot’s Eridon shared some steps to move through the process:

  1. Set up alerts. Constantly monitor the news. Set up alerts for both natural and out-of-the-box opportunities.
  2. Check keyword search volume. Once you find a story to newsjack, create content around it. Also, research the search volume around variations of the keyword phrase you’d like to target.
  3. Read about your topic. Find the primary source of the news story and what others have written. It allows you to maintain originality and credibility.
  4. Write quickly but accurately. Get to writing, and do it fast! You want to be the first to respond to the news story … but make sure your content is accurate.
  5. Differentiate yourself. Ask yourself — what makes this story interesting to my audience? Give a reason for people to reference your content above the rest!

 

And Ragan’s Elizabeth Breese offered some additional technical tips about taking newsjacking success to the next level:

  1. Maintain targeted media lists. Build a dedicated list of journalists who will welcome your organization’s angle on a breaking news story.
  2. Pitch, don’t spam. Don’t spam every journalist covering the breaking news story. Reach out with a personalized message.
  3. Offer substance. Let media contacts know what additional information your business or client can provide.
  4. Don’t forget to share. When the story has been published or aired, treat it like your own. Share and promote it over your company’s social channels.

 

Newsjacking can be risky, but when done right, it can be very rewarding for your business.

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