What is Newsjacking?

Add news to your evergreen portal by newsjacking more effectively

Breaking News!

Did I get your attention? If so, you may intrinsically be drawn to the concept of newsjacking, even if you aren’t quite sure what newsjacking is.

So what is newsjacking? Newsjacking is the process of driving traffic to your website through the use of breaking news that happens somewhere, in some industry. It doesn’t necessarily have to involve the industry you work in directly, but publishers and brands who use newsjacking as a way to create content need to find true alignment between the news and your industry to reap the benefits.

This is of course, evergreen content aside, which is our preferred type of content because it never expires or gets old, and should never be replaced by newsjacking.

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Still, the term newsjacking has garnered some attention in the world of content marketing. David Meerman Scott is credited with popularizing the term in his book Newsjacking: How to Inject Your Ideas into a Breaking News Story and Generate Tons of Media Coverage.

Breaking news is constantly happening, and it’s quickly shared all across the reaches of the Internet. Sometimes news stories die down rather quickly, and other times, when the news is major, it will linger around for weeks. When news breaks, there’s an opportunity for savvy marketers to capitalize on the connections between the breaking news and their services or products. And they do.

How publishers can take advantage of newsjacking

Here at Mequoda, we’re advocates for newsjacking, but only if you’re able to add value to the content that’s being shared.

What equates to added value in newsjacking?

First, add your response to the breaking news. Sure, you could write something like, What Oprah’s New Haircut Can Teach You About Waste Water Management, but we prefer the version of newsjacking that actually talks about the news. On Mequoda Daily, you’ll see that we write one news post every day. You wouldn’t know this from looking, but our process involves subcribing to all of the industry newsletters, like MPA, Folio, Digiday and others, and picking a news story (or related stories) we find interesting.

Then we report their news and talk about how it applies to the publishers we tend to work with, or how it could help them. We pull in quotes, but we also write a significant amount of original content for each piece too, resulting in 500+ words worth of content.

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Second, make the content valuable to you in the long term. Because in the short term, its time as a news story is going to run out. Connect the story with more of your content by linking to at least three other articles on your site within the piece. Take the reader on a journey of the topic, far beyond the original news piece, and guide them through hyperlinks to related content.

Third, look for a keyword that you can optimize the newsjacked piece for. This way, once the media storm has died down, you can still generate traffic through the article you’ve written with the help of good search engine optimization. In these cases, you may use proper nouns in keywords. If, over time, they turn into blockbuster posts, you may even go back in and update them if the title can work as evergreen content.

Getting the most out of newsjacking

Like all forms of digital media, there are promotional strategies that work better than others.

We’ve seen our newsjacking stories pull the most traffic through social media because they’re focused on newsworthy content. These pieces get the most amount of shares for us, especially when we are able to @ a person or organization in the related tweets.

As for the length of newsjacking pieces, we recommend using at least 500 words if the piece involves evergreen content. Having 500 words in the article sets you up for proper SEO length, allowing your content to hang around in search engines longer. If your piece doesn’t or can’t include evergreen content and you don’t think an impact from SEO is possible, then you should still aim for an article that’s at least 300 words in length. It must also include your three links and your opinion to have value to the rest of your site.

When to newsjack

According to Hubspot, which takes into account Scott’s strategy, the best time to get involved in newsjacking is between when the news breaks and when journalists are scrambling for additional information. This is before public excitement grows too much, and before the peak of the story. This is when people are still learning about the scenario, and with your help, your target audience might get the initial scoop from you.

Is newsjacking one of your internal practices? Will newsjacking become an internal practice in the future? We’d love to hear about your experiences with newsjacking in the comment section below.


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