Written By: Tom Ogg, Co-Owner – Travel Professional NEWS
Digital marketing involves a number of different strategies. We have already explored marketing using memes and infographics, so let’s explore using newsjacking to build your client database, improve SEO, build your social media following and generally get your business more exposure.
Newsjacking is defined as the practice of leveraging trending and popular news stories to increase media milage. The term itself was popularized in the book “Newsjacking: How to Inject Your Ideas into a Breaking News Story and Generate Tons of Media Coverage” by Marketing and PR Expert and bestselling author David Meerman Scott. Basically, you can find a breaking travel story or news item and then make it yours by adding opinion, experience, knowledge or concept to it.
Newsjacking is especially effective in social media to drive traffic to your business page or website. It elevates your overall brand before the readers of the newsjacked content and depending on the overall popularity of the story or news item, can develop a great number of new followers. Newsjacking works especially well when your niche is well defined and you produce news content that is of interest to travelers in your niche.
Understanding the News Cycle
News can come from just about any place. Generally when news first breaks it is followed by solid engagement until the interest peaks and then starts to fade before becoming “Yesterday’s News”. The very best time to newsjack content is right after it breaks so that your content may be included when readers search for it using relevant keywords or hashtags. This is the real power of newsjacking.
Tom uses newsjacking in the Travel Professional Community all the time. As an example, when the CDC changed their recommendation about cruising he was able to pick it up and then put a thread in the community about it. He sent a message broadcast to community members who had not heard about this change who responded overwhelmingly. He gained the advantage because the CDC changed their stance on cruising on a Sunday afternoon and Tom picked it up long before anyone in the trades did. In fact, just about anytime breaking news is released in the cruise industry, Tom will post it in the community forum to stimulate activity on behalf of agents.
In this example the newsjacked content was used to both educate and stimulate conversation in a social media forum. But, to turn a newsjacking into a business developing powerhouse, one needs to turn a news piece into a special opportunity. As an example, Currently Hawaii has a 14-day quarantine for all visitors and is extending it past its original June 30th termination date. Let’s say someone specializes in Hawaii, if they picked up on this before it appears in the main media it could be used to both inform people of the change and also make suggestions about where to go and what to do when it is finally lifted. Then when the announcement is made and the restriction is lifted one could news jack the story and send it out with pictures and prices of “Opening Specials” which will convert solid business.
You can easily see how newsjacking can drive business.
Do’s and Don’ts When Newsjacking
Be Positive: So much of today’s news dwells on the negative. But, if you always make a positive spin on content that you are newsjacking, your readers will come to look forward to your next post.
Be Creative: Be sure to use photos, memes and infographics to spice up the news, especially if the original news content does not. You can easily tag these items with the keywords you are using to intercept searches for the news content.
Be Timely: Remember that you want to jump on “Breaking Now” news stories long before the curve spikes. You want your content created and tagged with the keywords that someone looking for more information on the news would use to find it. Creating a news story that has already peaked will not work simply because no one is searching for more information on the news after it has peaked.
Research Before Hitting the Send Button: Once you have created your newsjacking content make sure that you search your keywords to ensure that you are not behind the curve with others who have already newsjacked the content. The whole idea is to come up on top of a keyword search for the news you are presenting.
Include Print Media in Your Distribution: Always include your local newspaper and other print media when you distribute your news. This is especially true when your news item deals with local developments such as airport updates, airport parking updates and other local travel news.
Have a Process in Place: When news breaks you should be ready to pounce on newsjacking it. Have your distribution in place and follow the exact same process each time you offer news. Build a network of influencers, reporters and others that may help spread your news.
Negative or Offensive News: Remember that your brand is benefitting from the additional exposure that you will receive from newsjacking. Always avoid anything controversial like politics, religion, crime or any other topic which is local, regional or national in scope that might offend a part of your readership.
Copy Content: Everything you see on the web, social media and blogs is copyrighted by the person that created the content. Never copy any content (text, photos, graphics or any other element) that is associated with the news that you are newsjacking. Instead, rewrite the textual content and recreate any images. This is actually a huge opportunity if the original news does not have a corresponding photos or graphics.
Newsjack Fake News: You see it all over social media. Facebook posts that are simply just lies, YouTube videos that promise one thing but deliver another, Tweets that are nothing but nonsense and so on. While a catchy title may romance people to want more information, sending fake news brands you and your organization as, well, fake.
Bait and Switch: Everyone knows that the more engaging a news title is, the more people will want to read it. But, always make sure that your news is relevant to the title you are using. If a reader is enticed to click by a title promising some exceptional news and then the content doesn’t perform, you have done more damage than good and readers will remember that in the future.
Newsjacking can be a very effective tool in growing your online presence and should definitely factor into your overall digital marketing plan.