Newsjacking has been a hot topic of conversation in the office recently – We’ve seen a few good examples of it, as well as a couple bad ones. In this article you’ll get a better understanding of newsjacking. What it is, an example of newsjacking gone wrong, and you will get a few tips on how you can use the tactic to maximize your social media efforts.
According to Hubspot, newsjacking is the “practice of capitalizing on the popularity of a news story to amplify your sales and marketing success.” Ideally newsjacking means that you create an article, YouTube video or blog post that steals the spotlight from a breaking news story to redirects web traffic to whatever your company has to say about it.
When newsjacking is done well, it could increase your website or blog traffic. If done poorly though, your company could look like an ambulance chaser or worse.
Whether unintentional or not, newsjacking is not without risks.
Earlier this week, my boss sent me a newsjacking example that he saw. One of the websites he follows www.thedominoproject.com sent out a newsletter that included their most recent blog post. In it the author expressed how the death of a famous person reminded him of a book he was reading. A book he highly encouraged others to read.
Whether it was intentional newsjacking or not, his timely article caused much backlash from readers who accused him of being an ambulance chaser or “shilling at a funeral”. It seemed his endorsement was an attempt to sell the book instead of simply mussing about what he was reading.
The next day he posted an apology out of respect for the deceased, however the damage may have already been done.
To be successful at newsjacking you will need fast footwork and an intelligent response. Being “in the know” about your local community or industry is also helpful. Do you know of an impending news story? If so, you need to be ready to post something the moment it hits the wire.
It’s not easy to predict the news though unless you are online 24/7. Instead watching trends may be helpful. Follow others on Twitter, paying special attention to relevant hashtags. Check out current Google trends. Watching your industry for press releases is also helpful.
If you find relevant stories that has already hit, which is the case most of the time, some things you can do to quickly create an article, blog post or YouTube commentary are:
- Find your story “angle” that provides new insights and thoughts. include appropriate supporting documents, images or company data. to strengthen your messaging.
- Find a local angle. An industry expert or industry leader is a great person to comment or quote in the piece.
- Find persons that are directly tied to the news story. Quote their response.
- Find a solution to the news story. Do you have a product or service that could be gently introduced to your newsjacked piece – But ONLY if appropriate.
That last bullet is one to address with caution though. If a newsjacked piece is well written, it can do wonders for you. However if the article seems like a sales pitch, then always ere on the side of caution. It is much better to appear as a “local authority” or as a prime expert in your field.
Increased web traffic and getting the phones ringing are possible outcomes of newsjacking done right. Presenting your perspective into a breaking news story might just earn your company, brand, or products and services the coverage and attention you need the most, making it a powerful tool to have in your social media arsenal!