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Have You Newsjacked Lately?


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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Ads That Follow You


Why are those ads following me? How do they know?

Alan Schoff

Alan Schoff

I saw a recent Facebook post by a middle-aged acquaintance’s tongue-in-cheek comment about the ads on the right side of his newsfeed.


“I used to get a daily men’s underwear ad, which was fine,” he stated. “Now I get, ‘Tired of adult diapers?’ What happened … and how did they know?”


One response was, “I find that ads I get are related to searches I’ve done in the last week. Just sayin’.”


Another was, “I was browsing for a new bathtub. Now I get ads from all the vendors I visited!”


And a third responder, who apparently spoke English as a primary language, commented, “I get Walmart ads in Spanish.”


Those ads that follow you as you browse the Web are a media placement technique called retargeting. While it’s nothing new, retargeting is getting more prevalent because the analytics used to follow our Web habits are getting better at identifying our interests, and the Return on Investment (ROI) is greater.


Retargeting garners higher response rates 

It will never be a perfect science. For example, location may be the reason an English speaker gets Spanish ads. A search about geriatrics may deliver retargeted ads about adult diapers, whether the viewer is a prospect or not. If you share a computer, someone else’s browsing may drive retargeted ads that don’t relate to you.


Who knows why we might browse certain sites that drop a cookie on our computer and then presume we are still interested in the subject matter after we move on? It’s a numbers game, but retargeted ads do have the numbers — with much higher click-through and engagement and conversion rates than ads simply placed on high-traffic or topic-relevant sites.


When does retargeting work?

Retargeting measures higher ROI than other digital ad placements because it puts your message in front of folks who are already familiar with your brand. After all, they have recently been on a Web page with your information. Impressions are still relevant, however you can achieve them.


Still, retargeting is no silver bullet for marketing success. It’s great for branding and conversion optimization, but it’s best to use a mix of tactics that work together, including inbound and outbound efforts.


Content marketing, Google AdWords and targeted display advertising on sites where your customers are likely to be found will help drive traffic. But retargeting can help improve your conversions. It’s an enhancement to your other digital efforts.


Creative makes your cliques click

The image and the message count in every medium. Since Web ads easily allow you to, it’s best to try out several different creative versions of your ad: altering headlines, images, copy and even the calls to action.


Test your different creative executions, then pick the best performing ad and let it run for a couple months. Then do it all over again with a new message and image. Rotating your retargeting ads is a best practice that calls fresh attention to your brand while your prospects browse different Web pages.


Tips for successful retargeting

For more insight into how retargeting works and how to make it work for you, here are 8 Best Practices for Running A Retargeting Campaign from the ReTargeter Blog. Also, here are four tips about the whys and hows of remarketing from Business News Daily:

  • Brand awareness: Stay in front of your audience with more passive messaging to help build credibility in your brand and to keep prospects coming back over time.
  • Recapture funnel bounces: Keep track of who has abandoned your online shopping cart in order to bring them back with enticing offers that capitalize on impulse.
  • Combine high intent and “whale” hunting: Start with more aggressive promotions and messaging, such as discounts and coupons. Then, over time, push more value-driven messaging, like customer service and differentiators.
  • Expand to Facebook: Consider buying ads via Facebook Exchange. This will allow you to retarget a potential or existing base through the news feed and side feed on Facebook.


When you’re ready to explore retargeting in your digital media mix, we’re ready here at Coles Marketing to help you organize and implement the best strategies for your business.


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