Want to get free publicity for your company? Would you like to earn organic traffic to your site? An opportunity is waiting. It will take time. You will fail in some attempts, and succeed in others. The secret is newsjacking.
As a digital marketer, it is important for me to stay abreast of new trends and ideas for my clients at Futureforth. One way I do this is to listen to industry podcasts. Mitch Joel is a thought-leader in the space. His business, books, blog, and podcast are all proof that he truly is an expert.
On the five-hundred and thirteenth episode of his podcast, Six Pixels of Separation, Mitch interviewed David Meerman Scott. David is the author of several best-selling, marketing and advertising books. In 2011, he wrote Newsjacking: How to Inject your Ideas into a Breaking News Story and Generate Tons of Media Coverage.
He defines newsjacking as the art and science of injecting your ideas into a breaking news story so you and your ideas get noticed. An example of newsjacking is Trent Silver, who runs a company called Cash for Purses. Silver purchases and refurbishes second-hand purses and sells them on Ebay and to boutique stores. His biggest problem was sourcing used handbags.
Back in 2010, news broke that actress, Lindsay Lohen, had declared bankruptcy. Silver wrote a blog post offering to purchase Lohen's old bags, so she could make some money. He then sent his blog post to members of the media who loved it.
The media coverage exploded across publications like The Huffington Post, The Inquisitor, and People Magazine. Each publication linked back to Silver's blog post. He ended up getting 8,000 online inquiries, closed eighteen percent of them, and made $250,000 from newsjacking one story.
In a business-to-business example of newsjacking, Eloqua's former CEO Joe Payne found an opportunity when a competitor called Market to Lead was acquired by Oracle. There was no news about the story aside from a three-sentence announcement on their site. Paine knew he had a good opportunity to newsjack the story by writing a blog post entitled, "Oracle joins the party".
His blog post was about the marketing automation industry. He included plenty of quotable quotes and statistics. He did not say anything negative about his competition, he welcomed Oracle to the industry instead. The media instantly had a better source for information related to the acquisition.
Bloomberg Business Week, Fortune, and Forbes all mentioned and quoted Joe Payne. Payne then sent a link to the story to all of their customers and potential customers, resulting in one million dollars in new business. Nine months later his company was also acquired by Oracle for 850 Million.
How You Can Use Newsjacking
David Merman Scott suggests the best way to find stories to consider newsjacking is to visit Google.com/news several times a day to scan breaking news stories. Be sure to use the "Hide Private Results" option, so you see broad news stories that are not customized for your preferences.
Unless you have a direct tie to the story, avoid any news that has negative consequences. During the interview, David shared several terrible examples of brands trying to capitalize off a tragedy. Mitch also brought up some controversial aspects of newsjacking you should consider.
Always be aware of the story and how you can align with it. Use serendipity and happy accidents of stories that no one expects. Be creative in how you approach newsjacking.
You should also avoid newsjacking popular events like award shows, sports finals, and elections. The competition is too high for exposure during these times.
David warns listeners that most of the time newsjacking won't work. He compares it to venture capital investing. VCs invest in many companies to take a gamble, every so often they land on a winner like a Facebook, Airbnb, or Uber. You will find your newsjacked stories may be duds, but eventually, you could strike gold. David said you will be surprised by the story that works the best. Even if the story doesn't get popular, you still have some good content for your blog.
I recommend you tune into the full interview on the Six Pixels of Separation podcast. If you work in or have an interest in marketing, you should definitely be following Mitch Joel and David Meerman Scott.