Have you ever felt like you were running dry on ideas for blog posts or social media pushes and seen a headline in a newspaper that made you go, “man, I could totally use this to produce some content for my law firm?”
In essence, this strategy is called “newsjacking.” It’s the practice of leveraging current events and commonly searched news stories to boost your own SEO standing and online presence. You can piggyback on popular stories to generate a blog post, launch a social media campaign, host a webinar, or create a lead generation offer.
If newsjacking is an entirely new concept for you, you’re in the right place. In this article, we’ll break down what newsjacking is and how to use it effectively.
Let’s get to it!
What is Newsjacking?
As briefly stated earlier, newsjacking refers to the strategy of capitalizing on popular or current news stories in order to supplement your sales and marketing efforts. The phrase gained traction after marketing strategist David Meerman Scott published his book Newsjacking: How to Inject Your Ideas into a Breaking News Story and Generate Tons of Media Coverage.
A new news story breaks every second. Marketers have savvied up to this fact and learned how to use it to their advantage. When used effectively, you can easily ride the coattails of breaking news stories to amplify your firm’s online presence.
Of course, there is a very limited timeframe in which this strategy is effective. For instance, you wouldn’t try to capitalize on a story that broke last month; it’s no longer heavily searched and its relevancy is degenerating by the hour. It’s critical to jump on the opportunity as soon as possible, so make sure you have the right marketing team that can handle tight deadlines!
Let’s get into how to successfully newsjack in order to make the most out of these fleeting opportunities.
1. Set Alerts
You have to know what news breaks as soon as it happens. Instead of spending days scanning Google, set up alerts for major news outlets that will let you stay ahead of organic and unique opportunities. RSS feeds are super beneficial in regards to newsjacking – use them! Work smarter, not harder.
Social media platforms such as Twitter are also a great way to stumble upon newsjacking opportunities. Keep track of your mentions and relevant hashtags while utilizing social listening to keep a finger on the pulse of all news related to your firm’s overall marketing goals.
2. Analyze Keyword Search Volume
Once you’ve identified a newsjacking opportunity, you need to understand how to better position your content. Before putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard), take the time to do some research around top keywords around the area of opportunity in order to make sure your voice isn’t lost amongst the static of your competitors. You automatically get some Google credit for writing about a trending news story, but bonus points for properly plugging in the right keywords.
The best way to do this is to (brace yourself) do some Google searches of your own. What do you plug into Google when you’re trying to find something? Whatever phrase you instinctively type into Google (i.e. “what was the verdict of XYZ court case”) is probably a highly ranking long-tail keyword.
3. Deliver a Fast (But Accurate) Turnaround
You already know that time is of the essence, but we can’t stress it enough.
You probably spend more time than you’re willing to admit trying to find the right stock photos and external links to include in your blog posts; in regards to newsjacking, you want to be the first to post about a given topic, so avoid wasting time on trivial “nice-to-have’s.” Keep your messaging succinct and to the point. The most important aspect about these pushes is striking while the iron is hot. As long as your content is reliable and has gotten the proper once-over by another set of eyes, you’re good to go. Although we love perfectionists, now isn’t the time!
4. Set Yourself Apart From the Rest
Obviously, you run the risk of parroting the exact same message your competitors put out surrounding the same current event. It’s important to glean information from what they’re saying (pro tip: you can probably identify some useful keywords by reading their articles as well) so that you can create your own unique story.
Include your own brand positioning, voice, and mission statement in your messaging to make it truly yours.
You can also identify holes in your competitor’s strategy (i.e. do you wish they developed a specific point a little bit more? Would their story be more effective if they cited more sources?) and strengthen your own story from there.
Newsjacking can be a great way to get your foot in the door. Although the window of opportunity is brief, it’s powerful. Make sure you’re using social listening and Google alerts to stay ahead of your competitors and differentiate yourself from the pack.
How will you apply these road-tested strategies?