My staff jokes that I don’t take vacation because, to me, vacation is any place where I am left alone with a wifi connection. Like many people I spend the bulk of my days in front of a digital device, and its rarely a TV. The latest trends in news consumption show digital media on the rise as a primary news source.
Over 50% of Americans own a tablet or smartphone and more than 60% of them use these devices to read news. All of this activity has created the ability to track what news is being discussed the most – called “trending stories.” As Brian Solis puts it, “news no longer breaks, it tweets.”
The most common use of the term and the activity revolves around trending stories, but that is not the only way to Newsjack.
Something is Happening
When a topic trends it gets a lot of attention for a short period of time, and marketers use this wave to give a boost to their brand. Since most content is found on the web through searching, using trending keywords and other people’s news to attract attention can bring in traffic. This is probably the most common use of the term. It focuses on doing constant monitoring for events that break in the news that are relevant to your expertise. To do it well requires the ability to add something of value to the discussion and link the subject to your offerings. Just grabbing headlines for attention may not be appreciated by your audience. You need to be quick to use this approach. An article about an event that happened weeks ago will not get any boost from this method. This process can be used on general news – like how your organization helps in disasters like this one or it can be integrated into industry, specific news like a government ruling on your cause. Newsjacking trending topics requires vigilance. Often the subjects that trend are around unexpected events like disasters deaths and political activity. First think about how well aligning with what may be negative news works for your goals.
Something is Coming
Your industry – or your staffing – may not make grabbing today’s headline and turning into an article right now a viable strategy. But there is other news – like things that will be trending. In researching for an article for a client, we found a piece on a high tech diving suit that looked remarkably like the Iron Man 3 costume. The technology was interesting, but not breaking news so we researched and wrote the article and saved it until the movie came out. The key was that the kind of person wanting to see that movie might be a great prospect for the program. Its important when aligning with news that you stay on message and and attract the right attention. Its easy to write a great article that gets lots of shares and think you did a great job, but no one takes action.
You don’t always need to grab national trends, the time following a regional, issue-based, or subject matter event in your industry can capture significant attention. This works especially well after a confrence. Many people will like write a “what I learned at the industry conference” post on the plane home and attract people who are still focused on the event. And it doesn’t always need to be an event. You can use a popular article, site or blogger to boost your post. While technically not “news” jacking, I guess you could call that “content” jacking. If you read an article or post that has a lot of popularity, you can quote the title or a piece of it that has your keywords in your article and link to the author. Always, always link back to the source.
To get ideas for how this works, search on the phrase you would use if you were searching for information on a recent news item, an industry topic or anything else you want to write about. You may find recent news you had not heard of that you can integrate into your story. Or just search Kim Kardashian and you’ll get the idea.