Content Marketing

Newsjacking: How to Leverage the News for Brand Marketing

David Meerman Scott, marketing strategist and author of Newsjacking: How to Inject Your Ideas into a Breaking News Story and Generate Tons of Media Coverage, describes newsjacking as the process by which you inject your ideas into a breaking news story, in order to generate attention for yourself or your business.

More and more, smart brands are engaging in this type of brand journalism, creating a steady flow of content that becomes a central part of their website and online presence.

"On the web, you are what you publish" noted Scott as part of a Salesforce Marketing Cloud webinar where he offered advice for companies looking to leverage breaking news stories and major cultural events to gain attention for their brand, and drive more business.

Here are four more key takeaways for marketers from this terrific presentation.

Be the second paragraph of the story
Scott says the key is to jump on events as the news is breaking, but prior to when journalists begin writing their stories looking at those events.

“Reporters are always looking for the second paragraph of the story,” notes Scott. The first paragraph introduces readers to the story in question. The second paragraph, however, is where the most notable quotes and reactions to the news/event will be found. That’s where you want to find yourself. Those brands moving quickly to produce content around the news that adds a unique perspective or thought leadership to the discussion have the best chance of being featured in this all important paragraph.

Real-time for real results
Social media makes a fine tool, but according to Scott, “real-time is a mindset.” It’s a mindset of speed and agility. When the time is right, brand marketers need to be ready to move on breaking events. Newsjacking is all about moving from a model of marketing on your time to marketing when the time is right, and that won’t be up to you to decide.

Think beyond the front page
Scott notes two distinct variations of newsjacking. The first involves planning content around major events that are known in advance. He notes the recent arrival of the Royal Baby as an event that had several months notice, with several media outlets and brands covering the historic event.

Newsjacking, however, is much more than those stories you anticipate. The more interesting approach is jumping on stories you had no idea were coming.  Scott offers four ways to spot interesting news stories that may not have the eyes of the entire world, where competition for readers’ eyeballs may be lower and thus ideal for your brand to comment on.

To think beyond the front page, Scott advises to follow:

  1. International stories
  2. Local stories
  3. Industry-specific stories
  4. Notable bloggers and reporters

Cast a wide net. Keep an eye on not only top stories, but stories from your local area (these could often be of interest to your prospects), business news, and take a regular scan of your Twitter feed.

Tread carefully around negative news
If you’re planning on a newsjacking attempt around a negative story, Scott cautions to be absolutely certain your brand is contributing something honest, thoughtful, and helpful. Also, your organization had better have a legitimate reason to produce marketing content around the news. Unless the story clearly ties into your brand and your business, Scott says you may be best advised to let that story lie.

A blog post isn’t enough to cover all of the great ideas offered by David Meerman Scott on his favorite topic. To see more of Scott’s thoughts on the subject, including several real world examples featuring well-known brands, be sure to check out the webinar in its entirety.

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