The past year has seen a steady increase in the amount of newsjacking taking place online. So what is newsjacking? If you’re unfamiliar with the term, don’t worry, it doesn’t involve kidnapping Huw Edwards or stealing Krishnan Guru-Murphy’s motor Grand Theft Auto-style.
Newsjacking is the latest content marketing trend and involves leveraging current news stories to generate publicity and website hits for your own business. To quote David Meerman Scott, author of the book ‘Newsjacking’, it is, “the process by which you inject your ideas or angles into breaking news, in real time, in order to generate media coverage for yourself or your business.”
Newsjacking usually takes the form of blogs, social media posts, press releases etc that:
- Comment on news developments related to your industry from an expert perspective
- Put a unique spin on an otherwise unrelated news story
What is newsjacking good for?
The overall principle behind newsjacking is that each news story has an arc of interest, from the moment it breaks to the moment it becomes old hat. The art of newsjacking lies in getting your two pence worth in while it’s still fresh – preferably before the mainstream media have had a chance to get there grubby journalistic mitts on it, or at least before public interest in the story peaks.
If you can get your blog post or article online right at the very start of the arc there’s a chance that journalists on the hunt for more information may quote you as an ‘expert’ or even contact you for your thoughts. This in turn has the potential to not only generate extra hits to your site, it can also work wonders for your online image and mark you out as an authority in your industry.
There’s also the SEO factor to consider. If you can create valid, informative and engaging content on a current news topic, other blogs and independent online news sources may link to you. This in turn can result in search engines such as Google seeing your site as valuable and authoritative, thus propelling you up the search results pages.
Words of caution
Newsjacking doesn’t always work. In fact if you’re not careful it can go quite spectacularly wrong. While some subjects may be ripe for the jacking, horning in on others can be met with displeasure and even disgust by netizens. A particularly stark example can be found in designer clothing brand Kenneth Cole’s assertion on Twitter during 2011’s Arab Spring that, “Millions are in uproar in #Cairo. Rumour is they heard our new spring collection is available online.”
This of course resulted in plenty of press coverage for the brand, none of it favourable.
How to use newsjacking techniques
1. Follow the news.
2. Pick a juicy story before interest peaks
3. Choose some relevant keywords to target
4. Do your research. Quickly.
5. Write something original, insightful and engaging.
That’s pretty much it. Of course if you’re too busy involved in the actual running of your company, you could hire a copywriter to handle your newsjacking endeavours for you.
You can find more ideas for marketing your business online on our Content Marketing page.