It is tempting when you are desperately trying to generate some income to take the shotgun approach because you are afraid to focus on a single area. After all, you might make the wrong choice. But this is just 21st-Century Greek Sirens luring you onto the rocks. Pick a narrowly focused area that interests you and appears to have reasonable prospects. You want to be a big fish in a little pond. If you choose the wrong pond, you can re-focus, and much of what you learn meanwhile will be transferable.But don’t be blindly driven by market opportunities. As you get started generating content and start figuring out the newsjacking game, you will initially be talking primarily to yourself. If you aren’t all that interested in what you are talking about, (1) it will show in your content, and (2) you won’t be interested enough to sustain the effort. You have to engage yourself first before you can engage others.
If you try to create original content all the time, you will get writer’s block and burnout. In social media and content marketing, R&D stands for Rip off &Dupicate. Make use of content created by others, through content curation. There are a number of good tools now that facilitate content curation, helping you sift through all the noise and refine it down to focused information. Also re-use existing content by re-purposing it. You want your website to become a hub of focused information, so that people interested in your particular area find it easier to come to you than to do the sifting themselves.Whatever kind of content you are producing, it is very important to show yourself. The content shouldn’t be formal, dry, news-style reporting. Write in first person, using “I” and “you” and “we,” not third person. And don’t just report, add commentary. One way to show yourself distinctly (and also blow off some steam) is to do a occasional off-topic rant.
Lists in particular are reader magnets; they are the type of content most likely to go viral. See “13 Ways to create lists that rock your content marketing.” http://heidicohen.com/how-to-rock-your-content-marketing/Lists give cues to search engines. Some tips:Design countsBullets vs. numbersOdd numbers; include in headlineEnable sharing at individual-element levelUnfinished lists: Ask readers to completeImages are increasingly important as content—witness the success of Pinterest and Instagram. So make your lists a nice visual component, not just list-structured words. Make effective use of page design, color, fonts, emphasis (e.g. bolds and italics) and lists formats. And use an actual list element in the WordPress editor; it enables search bots to recognize your content as a list. Bullets vs. numbers: Use numbers if the list elements are ranked relative to one another, and use bullets if they are not. In numbered lists, search engines assume the list element numbered 1 is the most important one. When using numbered lists, include the number in your headline; studies show it helps draw readers in. Similarly, readers prefer the list to have an odd number of elements—with exceptions being natural milestone numbers such as 10, 12, and 100. Where appropriate, make your list an actual checklist, with open boxes for bullets. If possible, enable readers to share list elements individually; they might really like a particular element while disagreeing with other points. Make it easy to share points, and remind readers to do so. One way to encourage sharing is a contextually relevant call to action. One very effective device is to leave your list unfinished, and then invite readers to finish it in the comments section. This encourages engagement.Also consider resource-link lists. They are a variation on the regular list posts. Identify a problem, and then locate online resources for solving it. Instead of creating content, you are virtually aggregating it with links from your blog. Such resource-link lists tend to attract linkbacks from the bloggers who are being used as a resource.
Newsjacking is about joining the biggest/hottest/most-buzzed-about conversations—because it’s what people are already talking about. The momentum is already there; just ride it.The “newsjacking” term was coined a few years ago by social media guru David Meerman Scott, but it is a new term for an old concept. PR professionals have been leveraging news stories for decades, but they were hampered by the time it took to respond. Technology has added a real-time capability, turning newsjacking into a powerful form of real-time content marketing.
Done effectively, newsjacking can validate your brand as a thought leader in your industry, educate customers, and drive traffic to your site and increase interest in your brand. You can even establish your brand as a trusted source of information, and expand into brand journalism.
A lot of traditional news outlets are quite threatened by the newsjacking phenomenon. “Newsjacking and native advertising/brand journalism are turning the news into one big advertisement.” Their concern is understandable: Studies show that the public sees brands as a source of credible information.
Newsjacking involves catching the popularity wave of a hot news story. The idea is to get the spotlight on the story to illuminate your brand as well. By joining the social action generated by a news story, you are getting access to a larger-than-normal captive audience.
Since newsjacking must be done early and quickly, it requires fearlessness and agility on your part. You must be able to create content on the fly, and have the moxy to send it out immediately. There is no time to brainstorm, review, revise, or hold a meeting or two. You have to catch the news wave while it is still building.Avoid analysis-paralysis; don’t over-think things. Content today has a VERY short half-life, so perfectionism kills. Get on the learning curve & fail forward fast. JUST DO IT!.
How To Newsjack:Pay attention to breaking news; choose a few trusted news outlets, and some RSS feeds relevant to your industry. In particular, watch Twitter trends during major events.Be positive—which is easier when you newsjack positive stories. Brands HAVE newsjacked tragedy stories successfully, but it is a lot trickier and requires a lot of sensitivity.Don’t force a connection between a news event and your target audience. Stick to stories that interest your target audience.Identify the keywords being searched for related to the breaking news. Newsjacking leverages breaking news and the search demand on the corresponding keywords to gain visibility in the search rankings.Produce high-quality content relevant to your business incorporating the keywords you have identified. Find a unique angle that makes the news story relatable to your business, industry, or customers.Respond quickly; act faster than your competition to put your brands out in front. Don’t copycat or inadvertently replicate what others are already doing; you’ll just look foolish.Syndicate content quickly so that it can be found by other media outletsAs always, encourage discussion.
Most businesses won’t have difficulty finding breaking news that somehow relates to their business.Examples:A high profile fire in a historic building could be used by a construction company to highlight the importance of local codes and inspectionsA bank robbery could be used by a home security company to discuss the merits of a reliable security system.
PR professionals have been using newsjacking for years. What is new is the speed at which you can do it. Today's tools make the mechanics of newsjacking very easy. The hard part is making a valid connection between a news story and your brand, and ensuring that you add value for your target audience . You can do something light-hearted that makes people smile. Or you can take a more somber approach and be supportive.
Newsjacking is very serendipitous and even accidental. Poland Spring benefitted from a case of dry mouth Marco Rubio had when giving the opposing-party response to the State of the Union address. Rubio kept dodging out of the main camera shot to take slugs from a bottle of Poland Spring water, and the general public started tweeting about it and it went viral. But Poland Spring was too slow on the uptake to get full benefit from the event.
Most widely publicized newsjacking efforts have been in the B2C market, but newsjacking works quite well for B2B businesses, too. When Salesforce.com—a Goliath in the SaaS-based salesforce automation and customer relationship management field—announced it was entering a new market segment populated by a bunch of service-provider Davids, Kinvey (one of the Davids) newsjacked the announcement and got major coverage in TechCrunch. “Newsjacking involves more than issuing a timely blog post, product placement, or press release. It also requires actively engaging with journalists and other influencers who are discussing the topic you wish to judo to your advantage.”-- Joe Chernov, vice president of marketing at Kinvey
Drug store giant CVS got a lot of bad press because it took a “stick” approach to complying with the Affordable Health Care Act of 2010 and implemented a proactive employee health program. Employees who don’t engage in fitness activities , quit smoking, etc., have to pay penalty contributions to their health insurance premiums. Keas, a startup selling SaaS-based wellness programs to employers, pitched a story making a case for the carrot approach and placed it in Wired.com
Good examples:Oreo’s lightning-fast topical tweet response to the power outage during the 2013 Super Bowl.Diageo’s launch of Watermark Rum in Australia to raise money for the recovery effort following Victoria’s devastating floods in 2011.Boston Marathon sponsor Adidas and Boston Beer Company, which both announced they would donate profits from, respectively, a commemorative T-shirt and Samuel Adams Boston 26.2 brew to the attack’s victims.2013 Academy Awards: Charmin, Special K, U.S. Cellular, Oscar Meyer, Visa, AmEx, JCPenney, Lean Cuisine, to name a few. There were so many that they inspired their own hashtag: #OscarsRTM.
Can backfire:Food portal Epicurious made self-promoting tweets that played off the Boston marathon bombingClothing designer Kenneth Cole tried to link Arab protests in Cairo with excitement about his spring collectionNumerous attempts to newsjack Hurricane Sandy were in poor taste. One example was InStyle’s cosmetics promotion—5 beauty tips that will keep you occupied as you wait out the frightful weather. InStyle compounded the felony by playing off the very cheerful Christmas song, “Oh, the weather outside is frightful….”
Newsjacking is real-time content marketing, and in content marketing, the content comes first and the marketing second. Serve the reader’s desire for news, facts and opinion – but use that opportunity for a branded mention and maybe even a link. Then use appropriate social media for quick dissemination and viral spread. And remember, unlike traditional content marketing, newsjacking is fleeting and timing is critical. It is important to be a first responder on the social scene that materializes around the story.
Susan BreidenbachReno/Tahoe WordCampApril, 2013
Go narrow & deep Less competition Big fish in little pond More devoted following Cliché, but true: Follow your passion Must engage yourself first Must want to talk about topic
R&D = Rip off & Duplicate Curate important content Reuse & repurpose content Sift & refine Become a hub of focused information BUT: Show yourself Blogs are individuals talking Add commentary Occasional off-topic rant
How-to / tutorials News Definitions Lists Profiles Research reports Interviews Q&As Case studies Problem / solution Book reviews Product reviews
Newsjacking = Hijacking the news Playing off the cultural moment Joining the hottest conversations Real-time content marketing New term for old concept PR pros have been leveraging news for decades Technology enables real-time response
Newsjacking is the process of injecting yourideas or angles into breaking news, in real-time, to generate media coverage for yourbrand.
Educate customers Drive traffic to your site Increase interest in your brand Validate your brand as a thought leader Become trusted source of information
Traditional news outlets are threatened “Newsjacking and native advertising/brandjournalism are turning the news into one bigadvertisement” Studies validate their concern The public sees brands as a source of credibleinformation
Catch popularity wave of news story Spotlight will illuminate your brand, too Grab access to captive audience
Must be done early and quickly Requires fearlessness and agility Create content on the fly Send it out immediately Catch news wave while it is still building
Pay attention to breaking news Be positive (easier if newsjack positive stories) Don’t force connection Identify keywords related to the breaking news Produce relevant content incorporating keywords Respond quickly & faster than your competition Syndicate content to other media outlets As always, encourage discussion
Finding news stories shouldn’t be hard Examples: Construction company uses high-profile fire inhistoric building highlight importance of codecompliance Home security company uses bank robbery todiscuss merits of reliable security systems
“Todays tools enable you to create anythingfrom simple mashups to a whole websiteovernight. The challenge is to justify why abrand is jumping onto a topical wave, andensure that by doing so it adds value andstays relevant to its audience. It works if it isso playful it makes people smile, or is trulysupportive and adds real value.”--Grant Porter
Very serendipitous; even accidental Poland Spring & Rubio’s case of dry mouth Taking slugs from bottle with visible label Viewers started tweeting & it went viral But Poland Spring too slow on uptake
Kinvey newsjacked Salesforce.com news Goliath entering David’s market Got major coverage in TechCrunch “Newsjacking involves more than issuing atimely blog post. It also requires activelyengaging with journalists and otherinfluencers who are discussing the topic youwish to judo to your advantage.”-- Kinvey marketing VP
CVS stick approach to employee health Keas makes case for carrot approach Places story in Wired.com
Oreos tweet re power outage during 2013Super Bowl Diageo’s response to devastating floods Adidas & Boston Beer Co. re Boston Marathontrajedy Oscar-worthy newsjackings of 2013 AcademyAwards
Epicurious’ self-promoting tweets playing offBoston marathon bombing Kenneth Cole linked Cairo protests withexcitement about spring collection Numerous poor-taste attempts re HurricaneSandy
Newsjacking is real-time content marketing Content comes 1st , marketing 2nd Serve desire for news, facts & opinion Include branded mention & perhaps even link Use social for dissemination & viral spread Newsjacking is fleeting; timing is critical Be first on social scene emanating from story
Newsjacking: The Urgent Genius of Real-TimeMarketing, by Grant Hunter & Jon Burkhart Newsjacking: How to Inject your Ideas into aBreaking News Story and Generate Tons ofMedia Coverage, by David Meerman Scott
Susan Breidenbach(775) 722-5777www.linkedin.com/in/susanbreidenbach@WordsBySusan