Monday 18 March, 2013
Newsjacking is a new term being thrown around in the online world. It sounds like something sinister and black hat, but it’s not at all. Rather, it’s a great way to curate content that’s relevant to your audience and useful for your SEO. What it means is sharing news stories and injecting your own ideas into them. It’s a new PR concept defined in David Meerman Scott’s eBook of the same title.
Newsjacking works like this. You monitor news websites in real-time and share an up-to-date story with your audience (this can be on your blog or website, or social media channels). Rather than simply sharing the story, you comment on it, ask a question, tie it in to your audience, or otherwise add something to it.
There’s a bonus for everyone involved. You get great content for your readers. You also get the momentum of the news stories you shared, which means more people will find your site through searches. You appear to be an expert in your niche. For your audience, they get relevant news stories presented to them from various sources in one place – from you.
What to Share
The ‘news’ you share can be anything. It doesn’t have to be a story from BBC. It could be a blog post, a video on YouTube, an entire Kindle book, an infographic, etc. What matters is that it’s relevant to your audience. No matter what you’re sharing, it has to be something they’re really into.
The way to find good content to share is to stay tuned. Find news channels, subscribe to feeds, and search the web to see what’s going on right now. A good way to do this is to set alerts based around specific keywords. As soon as something new appears online that’s related to those keywords, you can check it out and share.
The content you share doesn’t have to be exactly related to your niche. You just need to be able to make a connection. That’s the important part. For example, if your audience is made up of American expats, you shouldn’t only look for strictly expat-related news. A breaking story about new airlines offering cheap international flights would be a great story to share. Tell them how this will impact them, making it easier for them to visit home or travel elsewhere.
Sharing in Real-Time
In order to newsjack successfully, you need to be quick and on the ball. You not only have to find stories but also write about them quickly and accurately. You need to ‘translate’ it for your audience, explaining its relevance, and do it as soon as possible before they see the story elsewhere.
Injecting your own ideas and opinions is what gets you status as an expert. Use your writing to spark a discussion and you’ll engage your readers with the news you share.
There’s just one thing to keep in mind – in some cases, newsjacking around sensitive stories can appear sleazy. Lots of companies tried to capitalize on stories about Hurricane Sandy. One was Gap, which jacked the hashtag #sandy to get more search traffic. Keep in mind that a good number of your fans know exactly what you’re doing when you share stories. Keep it ethical.