Newsjacking has become a popular trend in the online world. While ‘jacking’ has negative connotations, the term isn’t a black-hat practice. If you’re new to this concept and want to learn more about it, this article will give you a run down of the pros and cons of newsjacking and what you need to know before you decide to pursue this sort of content.
What is newsjacking?
Newsjacking is the practice of capitalizing on the popularity of a current news story to help boost your sales and marketing success. In this global, 24/7 news cycle, stories are constantly breaking. Those who practice newsjacking essentially ride the wave of virality to benefit their own business. If done properly, on the high of the wave, you can generate media coverage for your brand before the story’s relevance dissipates.
The key to successful newsjacking is being quick—really quick. Many marketers overthink the details of the news story, which can cause them to lose their window to gain traction.
So, is newsjacking really worth it?
Advantages of newsjacking
Improves brand recognition
One of the most significant benefits of newsjacking is the way in which it improves brand reputation and recognition. When you leverage off a viral news story, the public will see that you’re abreast of trends and current events. The best newsjackers will not only contribute to the public conversation, but they also associate themselves with the story. This can improve your brand reputation greatly over time, which can help to increase sales.
Introduces you to new audiences
If you feel as though your business isn’t attracting a large enough market, newsjacking is a fantastic way to introduce it to new audiences. By connecting your brand with a current story, you’re likely to attract new leads.
Drives targeted traffic
Well-executed newsjacking will drive targeted traffic to your website. Those engaging with viral news stories are warm leads; so, by associating your brand with a popular story, you can tap into an audience that already has a positive impression of your company.
Newsjacking is a cost effective marketing tactic. In riding the breaking news wave and the popularity behind it, this can provide you with lower spending costs while getting your business exposure—a great long-term measure.
Disadvantages of newsjacking
Requires quick action
A major downside of newsjacking is it requires quick action in order to be successful. Without efficiency, you run the risk of missing the boat and actually hurting your brand by demonstrating that you’re slow to pick up trends.
You must pick your topics wisely
Not all news stories will be relevant to your business or smart to associate with. For example, it’s best to tread carefully before posting about politics, natural disasters, deaths or controversial events. Topics like these can be problematic for newsjacking as your brand may be seen as cashing in on a tragedy or affiliating with an unpopular cause.
Steps for successful newsjacking
There are several key steps to take in order to reap the benefits of newsjacking. While it may seem intimidating for new marketers, it’s actually quite a simple process. The key is thinking and acting fast.
1. Set up news alerts
Newsjacking requires awareness of breaking news stories as they unfold. Many people search the internet manually, but the easiest solution is to set up news alerts. An RSS feed including content from different news outlets and publications will provide alerts about stories from a wide range of industries. Don’t forget to leverage social media platforms such as Twitter for additional newsjacking opportunities.
2. Read up on your topic
The next thing to do is find the primary source of the news story you plan to leverage. Then, read newsjacked content written by others on the topic. This may seem counter intuitive when you’re in a time crunch, but it’s crucial for achieving originality. Releasing a story that fails to credit the original source or adopts the same angle as others would make you look foolish. So, always do your due diligence.
3. Write quickly but accurately
Now that you’ve found a news story and completed your research, you can work on writing your content. Of course, speed is an important factor, but you shouldn’t sacrifice quality. Many make the mistake of skipping the editing process to ensure they publish while a topic is newsworthy and in turn, send out work riddled with inaccuracies. Instead, write fast but accurately and always fact-check your claims. Before you hit publish, have someone else proofread for errors.
4. SEO-optimize the content
Once you’ve found a relevant story, it’s time to get creative. However, before you publish anything, it’s a good idea to do keyword research around search volumes of phrases you wish to target. Inserting keywords into your title and body text (naturally, of course), along with adhering to other SEO best practises—like ensuring your content is informative, easy to read and accurate—will help your work to stand out. Remember, a lot of marketers are likely to jump on the same newsjacking bandwagon with you; going the extra mile will give your work a head start.
5. Make Yourself Different From Others
When newsjacking, it’s a good idea to create a unique angle on the chosen subject. Bringing something new to the discussion will make your piece enticing to read, and show audiences that you have interesting insights to share. Additionally, think about what makes your take interesting compared to others already out there. Analysing your ideas objectively will help you boost your marketing efforts and improve your overall popularity.
6. Get The Word Out
Last but not least, you need to promote your content. Covering a popular news story should naturally garner organic traffic, but this alone may not give you the visitors numbers you’re seeking. To newsjack effectively, you have to spread the word. Sharing your published content across social media will help you gain traction as you’re putting it in front of different audiences. Then, begin fostering relationships with journalists and partners who can promote your work, provide insights, and become reputable sources for future pieces.
Newsjacking is a great way to boost both your SEO and your brand awareness. By taking the time to really engage with current events, you can reach new audiences and show the world you’re a leader in your field, not simply a follower.
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