So we have talked before about Newsjacking, and I had promised to go into more detail. We first brought it up when I reviewed Newsify and how bloggers can use that tool to monitor RSS Feeds. And then just recently we mentioned it as a great way to earn co-citations for improved SEO. Newsjacking is when you have an opportunity to blog about a current news event and add your own perspective. If you have an opportunity to work this technique into your content marketing strategy, it can be extremely effective at creating traffic and interest in your brand, as well as giving you another option for your writing. To be successful at newsjacking though, there are a number of aspects that you’ll need to prepare and consider.
Timing is everything. If you wait too long to post your story, it’s likely that the window of interest will have passed. The following graphic from David Meerman Scott suggests a bell curve for the life of a news story. As you can see, interest peaks at a mid-point in time and ideally, your blog post will be inserted well before that point.
Earlier this month, I noticed that my Facebook timeline had changed a little bit. I saw that a couple of other journalists had mentioned it, but the story had not yet been picked up by the major news outlets in my industry. I wrote a story about how Facebook was experimenting with some changes, and talked about how business pages did not appear to be changing at all initially. Within a short amount of time, the story took off. As other outlets picked it up and more people became interested, our site traffic and views for that story increased 5000%.
To be successful at Newsjacking repeatedly, you have to be flexible. That means that you have to be willing and able to stop what you’re doing when you see a story breaking and write about it.
One of the ways that I stay flexible is that I use Evernote for much of my writing, and always have my iPhone and iPad if I’m not at my desk. This way, I can write on my iPad and then when I have time, go back to my MacBook and call up the new blog post from the Evernote cloud and post it to my website.
If you’re using a messaging or editorial calendar to schedule your blog posts, you’ll also need to willing to hold off on posting an article you’ve written in place of a breaking story you want to talk about.
Sometimes it will be enough to merely share the details of the news event. It may be that you will be doing your readers and followers a great service by educating them. However, most of the time, you need to take it a step further and bring in your own perspective. How does this story relate to your business, industry or customers?
Take the time to add your own opinion or angle to every story. Tell your readers and clients exactly why they should care about the story and what it means to them. This step in the newsjacking process cannot be stressed enough! Not only is it necessary in order for your post to stand out from any other news outlet, this is your opportunity to shine. By relating the story to your readers, you’re providing immense value that they cannot get elsewhere.
News stories aren’t going to go out of their way to get your attention. You need to be on the lookout for news opportunities, and that means having systems and tools in place to monitor sources you’ve identified, keywords and trending phrases.
I took the time to identify and subscribe to the RSS Feeds for all the major players in my industry: Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and others. Any time one of those companies publishes an announcement or update to their blog, I’ll see it. I also subscribed to feeds from news sources like Mashable, Social Media Today, Business2Community and others. I used Google Reader to subscribe to all those feeds, and then installed Newsify on my iPhone and iPad to be able to easily monitor them no matter where I’m at.
Now, the frequency that you monitor your news sources will depend on how often you want to be able to write about breaking news, and how soon you want to break into the story. If, like me, you want to break in within hours and are prepared to write about at least one story a day, you will want to monitor your feeds throughout the day. If, however, you’re just posting one blog post a week, and just want to keep an eye out for potential writing material for that week, checking your feeds once or twice a day should suffice.
Once you’ve written your story, of course you’re going to need to share it. Like any blog post, you will of course share it to your main social networks. Be sure to add some commentary and ask questions in the post itself, to get readers interested and responding. Be sure to do the same for any appropriate LinkedIn Groups or Google+ Communities.
Additionally, since this is a news story, you’re going to want to take advantage of some of the popular news sharing sites like Reddit, Slashdot or Newsvine. Depending on the nature of the story, you may also want to consider submitting it to specific newspapers or trade magazines for syndication.
Lastly, take the time to prep your website so that it is compatible and attractive to Google News. This means having an XML Sitemap configured to automatically update and submit itself to Google daily, as well as having a URL format that Google prefers. When you create a new story, the URL should look like .com/news/- where date is in the format MMDDYYYY.
If you put these systems into place, and make sure to stay flexible and relate your posts to the news, you can begin to successfully newsjack stories. Each time you share a great story with your readers and potential clients, you help establish yourself as a trusted source of information. Your readers will begin to appreciate your efforts to educate them, and as a result, see you as an expert and thought leader in your industry.
What industry are your writing for now, and have you thought about where you might find sources for breaking news stories that you can newsjack?
Image courtesy of MacBeales, Flickr.