Two weeks, I created a post about Joe Chernov joining Hubspot. When I did, Jesse Noyes from Kapost wrote me an email that said: “Nice newsjack”. I literally had no idea what newsjacking was so I had to Google it. Not surprising Hubspot ranks first for the keyword “newsjack” and they have a great “how-to” post on the topic from Cory Eridon. Here is their definition of newsjacking:
Newsjacking refers to the practice of capitalizing on the popularity of a news story to amplify your sales and marketing success. The term was popularized due to David Meerman Scott’s book Newsjacking: How to Inject Your Ideas into a Breaking News Story and Generate Tons of Media Coverage . Basically, news is breaking every second in this crazy world of ours, and there’s a point at which marketers have a unique opportunity to ride the popularity wave of a breaking story to benefit their business in some way. Now, the popularity dies down pretty quickly — perhaps in hours, usually in days, if you’re lucky, in weeks — but the impact of seizing the story early to benefit your business is big … especially compared to the effort you had to put in to get in on the action.
To sum it up:
- News story breaks
- You post up content related to the story as soon as possible to capitalize.
And there you have the “newsjack”.
Newsjacking has been an incredible content strategy and traffic driver for me. For example, one of my top performing posts was: The Impact of the Salesforce Acquisition of Exact Target. An important thing to keep in mind is that I work in b2b, so I don’t newsjack Miley Cyrus stories and such. The great thing about a good, solid b2b newsjack is the news gets out and for the first day or so there are really only press releases, trade publication stories, tweets, etc. Also, most of the posts are from competitor vendors whose CEO will write a PR-driven, highly glossed response designed to be a positioning exercise. BORING. B2B is ripe to get newsjacked. Now, the downside is there isn’t much news worth jacking. But that’s okay because you shouldn’t spend your content marketing resources only newsjacking anyway. An occasional newsjack makes sense.
In order to demonstrate my method I will take my most recent newsjack on the Joe Chernov story.
Choose a timely and hot topic
As I mentioned earlier, there aren’t a lot of b2b newsjacks available to you and frankly many aren’t worth writing about. You can take non-b2b topics and tie them to your business. For example, many bloggers will take the Miley Cyrus Twerking story and write a “10 Things B2B Marketers Can Learn from the Miley Cyrus Twerking”. I will have to ask for a ruling if that is true newsjacking, but you certainly see that quite a bit. I don’t traditionally do this type of post. I try to take hot b2b topics and turn them into content.
The Joe Chernov news hits my Facebook wall
My decision to run the story was based on a couple factors. First of all, Joe is a friend and I am happy for him. On the other hand, I have lots of friends who I could feature on the blog so there is more to it and that is the fact that Joe is b2b famous. He became a well-known thought leader in the b2b marketing space over the last couple years. I knew this story would draw lots of influential people to the blog and many of them would share. Quick note: Facebook was one of the biggest traffic drivers which is not common for my blog. This is good – because I featured Joe I was exposed on new channels to a new audience. The final factor was the fact that he was going to Hubspot. In other words, when Hubspot people share your post – you get visits. For example, Mike Volpe, CMO of Hubspot, has 54K followers. Lots of potential.
Your next step is to quickly create content that is differentiated. interesting, and shareable. That is not easy to do. My answer to that issue is to reach out to thought leaders for quick quotes. I ask them to send something they can write really quickly like 2-3 sentences. I also make sure they know they get full attribution. Once I decide on a story, I find 20-30 people who can help me achieve my goals. Then I just send them an email asking for their contributions. The thought leaders can spend five minutes providing their thoughts. What’s in it for them? In a couple minutes, they will be part of a highly shared piece of content with other thought leaders. WIN-WIN. I will typically get content back from contributors within a couple hours. This technique has become my claim to fame. Matt Heinz sent out an email the other day asking for contributions to a Dreamforce post he was writing. His first sentence: “I’m ripping a page right out of the Craig L Rosenberg Blog Post Crowsourcing Playbook for this quick request”. As a matter of fact, I am seeing this crowdsource technique used quite a bit for a variety of different content pieces.
I sent the email out to everyone I thought would be a great contributor. Carlos Hidalgo ,who is an extremely busy man, writes up an email and sends it back to me quickly. That’s the goal. Make it quick and easy for the contributors.
Aggregate and Publish
Once you have a critical mass of compelling comments, then you can publish. I believe in getting the story up as soon as there are 5-6 contributions. Once you post it up, other contributors will send in their answers to make sure they get the rush of traffic. I add contributions as they come in. Here is a link to the published newsjack so you can see the finished product. Below is an example of how I assemble the contributions:
You then alert the contributors that the post is up and they will help share to their networks.
This strategy is not just a lesson in how to newsjack, but can be used to create tips and best practices posts. Everyone wins. The results of a great crowdsourced newsjack are:
- Unique content
- Lots of different perspectives
- Thought leadership
- The ability to work quickly
- Good will from the contributors you showcase