Newsjacking: What Great Content Marketers and Donald Trump Have in Common

Published: February 16, 2016

(This article previously appeared on the Content4Demand blog.)

Technology has accelerated and shaken up the traditional news cycle. People from around the world weigh in on current events through Twitter. Breaking news is mined from Instagram posts, tweets and Snapchat videos. Cultural sensations are discovered on YouTube.

Hence the power of “newsjacking,” which author David Meerman Scott defines as “the art and science of injecting your ideas into a breaking news story, so you and your ideas get noticed.”

Newsjacking allows content marketers to add their brand into the real-time news mix, capture attention and even grow their business. It’s a great way to show your buyers you’re in tune with the issues that matter to them, and that you have valuable thoughts and opinions to boot. During a recent Twitter chat to promote his presentations at the 2016 Content2Conversion Conference, Scott shared some newsjacking tips and best practices that all content marketers can apply:

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Tip 1: When in doubt, take cues from the Donald. I’m only half joking here. Scott noted that Donald Trump is a great newsjacker. Not only is he always on Twitter, but he (and a dedicated team, no doubt) responds in real-time, and taps into the news to get ammo to ward off his political opponents. It apparently works: Trump just won New Hampshire in the primaries.

Tip 2: Get in the real-time mindset. The hardest part about leveraging newsjacking is remembering that you need to be quick and agile. As content marketers, we’re used to following detailed timelines and getting different teams and stakeholders involved. But when it comes to newsjacking, time is of the essence. You need to have the bandwidth to act in real-time.

Tip 3: Jack a story that aligns with your brand. It’s easy to get newsjack-happy, but the process is most effective when you’re selective. Leverage the stories that are most relevant to your target audience and industry.

Tip 4: Follow the news curve. Effective newsjacking means quickly injecting your thoughts, opinions and perspectives into the media stream before there’s too much noise. As Scott shows in the diagram below, each news story has a lifecycle. Content marketers need to keep a close eye on the news and industry happenings so they can be the first to hop on a story.

Tip 5: When in doubt, check Twitter and Google News. These are go-to channels for Scott when he needs some inspiration; add them (and a few others related to your industry) to your list of sources to check throughout the day.

Tip 6: Practice makes perfect…sort of. There is no silver bullet for successful newsjacking. It’s a new way of thinking, and it’s evolving just like content marketing is. Like any other strategy or tactic, newsjacking takes time and practice to figure out what works for you and your brand.

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