Newsjacking: How to Make This Content Marketing Tool Work For Your Business

When news of the royal baby broke a couple years ago, social media exploded. Twitter activity around the topic peaked at 25,300 tweets per minute, and Facebook reported 1 million mentions within the first hour. There was plenty of related activity on Pinterest and Tumblr as well.

As soon as stories start to trend on social media, they can build quickly and blow up in a furious crescendo. Wouldn’t you like to ride that wave with your marketing messages?

That’s where newsjacking comes in.

A newsjack involves adding your own perspective to a breaking news story that logically links your brand to the trending topic. By contributing to the conversation at the right time, marketers are able to become “active participants” and add their ideas to the story, providing readers with additional information and at the same time raising their business’s profile, according to marketing strategist and author David Meerman Scott.

Plenty of brands were ready to jump on the royal baby wave with customized messages. One of the best came from Pampers, which sent out a clever tweet along with launching their “world’s biggest baby blanket” project.

Here are some things to keep in mind so that you’ll be prepared to capitalize on the next big story that works for your business.

1. Be ready

Timeliness is everything. In the 24-hour news cycle, stories peak and fade with alarming velocity. You want to make sure that you catch the trend on the upswing rather than three days later when everyone has grown tired of the topic. Get permission ahead of time from the relevant departments in your organization (legal, marketing, public relations) so that you can react quickly. Stories don’t necessarily break during the workday when everyone is available for a meeting.

2. Be particular

Choose your topic carefully. Your business should have a unique perspective on or interesting information to add to the conversation. You want to shed new light, bring out a different angle, propel the story forward or add some humor or heart to the discussion. Find a natural connection to your business, something that’s a logical fit, and that you can add to in a positive way. Avoid tragic stories.

3. Be accurate

Make sure that you get the whole story. Even though you need to react quickly, take the time to verify that the information is correct and includes all relevant details. You don’t want your brand associated with an erroneous story, even if it is perfectly timed.

Now when that next big, fun and attention-getting news event, comes along, you’ll be ready. Just newsjack it and go!

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