Newsjacking is one of the best ways to generate traffic for your website and social media profiles. It creates well ranked content which is searched for frequently and easily digested by your audience. The right content can encourage your audience to interact with your brand allowing you to expand your marketing reach.

Find out more about how to newsjack in this blog post.

 

What Is Newsjacking?

Newsjacking is a very powerful form of marketing where you take a popular news story or event and create marketing material which incorporates it. Newsjacking is not repeating the story but rather adding a twist on the news story to highlight your brand.

The reason why newsjacking works so well is that it uses search terms or hashtags which are in high demand. Classic examples are with sporting events. The 2014 World Cup has many newsjacking stories related to it including the Dutch airline KLM’s tweet bidding farewell to their national team’s opponents from the second round.

Another example would Oreo’s 2013 SuperBowl newsjack, when a power cut affected the game the brand posted the message: “You can still dunk in a blackout”.

These examples all got online exposure for their brands, although KLM’s was negative because it broke some of the basic rules of newsjacking.

Getting newsjacking right however can have some huge benefits for your brand. Oreo regularly newsjacks and its efforts are rewarded with thousands of interactions.

 

The Basic Rules Of Newsjacking

Newsjacking does have some specific rules which need to be followed for success. These rules seem common sense, yet there are times when big brands fail to adhere to them.

Rule One: Know Why Something Is Trending

Twitter and hashtags are the worst pitfall when it comes to newsjacking. Some of the biggest mistakes which have taken place in marketing are because the brand has not realised why the hashtag was trending in the first place. Celeb Boutique was one such company when they tweeted a message trying to capture the rush for the hashtag #aurora by highlighting their range of clothes with the same name.

They ignored the reason why the hashtag was trending. If the marketing team had looked at tweets for this hashtag they would have realised it was because of a mass shooting in the town Aurora at a movie premiere. Twitter users condemned the tweet and the brand had to launch a massive string of apologies via the medium.

It is very simple to find the reason why the tweet or even a search term is becoming very popular at the time. So before you create any content ensure that you know why something is trending.

Rule Two: Create Your Own Twist On The News

There is no point in just regurgitating the same old news story that everyone else is talking about. Instead you need to look at the news story and then add your own spin to the storyline. A good example of this would be DiGiorno Pizza during the live performance of the sound of music.

They posted about how they were disappointed with pizza not being on the Von Trapp’s list of favourite things. This got them huge attention and was retweeted many times.

Another good example would be how blogs responded to the news story of Amy’s Baking Company episode of Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares in America. The episode which showed for the first time the British chef walk away became an international phenomenon and within a few days there were literally dozens of blog posts giving their own analysis of the story.

Articles ranged from what businesses could learn from their social media escapades to how restaurateurs could learn from the episode. This created a wealth of online content and visitors from all over the world searched online to find out more information.

Rule Three: Be Timely

Newsjacking only works when you publish the content very quickly. With social media your post has to be online within a few minutes or at the latest a couple of hours (depending on what is happening). If you don’t do it this quickly you run the risk that the content is too late to take advantage of trending hashtags or comments which can change within a hour.

With a blog post you have slightly longer, but you should aim to have the post published within 24 hours at the latest. You want Google and other search engines to quickly rank your blog post and include it their search results page before the peak of interest is reached.

You’ll find that if your content goes out too late that it is pretty much useless and you will have wasted your time. Newsjacking is a responsive and proactive skill.

 

Tools To Help With Newsjacking

There are two great tools which can support your efforts with newsjacking. The first is Google Alerts. Setting up an instant notification of news stories which contain certain words will help you identify stories you can turn into content for visitor generation.

If you use Google Alerts be sure that you set the notification to immediate. You may get a lot of emails, but a quick skim of these stories every two to three hours will support your efforts to newsjack.

The other tool is Twitter’s trending topic which displays when you enter Twitter. Of course the problem with this is that you have to ensure you know what the hashtag or subject is referring to, otherwise you could make a costly mistake.

There are other tools out there which can help you with newsjacking, but these are the two basic ones which newcomers to this skill should concentrate on.

 

Conclusion

Newsjacking is a great method to generate huge amounts of interest for your brand. As long as you get the process right and know why you are relating your brand with the trending topic you can achieve success. Success will bring in an audience to your website and start customer relationships which will lead to new customers for your business.

 

Action Steps:

  • Set up a Google Alert for news stories in areas which you know you can newsjack about.
  • Look for a trending topic and create content to newsjack.

Jake Burdess

Director at Aflua
This post is by Jake Burdess, the founder of Aflua and HEROIC. Jake is an English designer who lives in New Zealand with his wife and three kids.

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