Growth Tactic: “Newsjack” a Big Story to Get Seen First defined by marketing and PR expert David Meerman Scott in a 2011 book by the same name,7 “newsjacking” is a process by which a business can inject its own ideas or angles into breaking news. You do this by publishing an online press release or blog post commenting on the story; this content then shows up in Google searches alongside news coverage. As well as getting you seen by customers on search engines, newsjacking can generate media coverage or online buzz that attracts even more customers to find your business through your content. Never heard of newsjacking, or maybe you’re not sure how to get started doing it? It’s not as complicated as you might think it is. Here are three steps for creating big-time PR buzz through newsjacking: 1. Find the right news to jack: Not every piece of big breaking news is “jackable.” It’s critical to make sure that the topic is relevant to your business and customers in some tangible way, and that you can comment on it without sounding fake or spammy. So, how do you find those topics? Monitor keywords or phrases in Google News, follow certain Twitter hashtags, and track popular media outlets that cover your industry. If you see something that might apply to your business, go to step 2. 2. Act with a sense of urgency: In order to get your news release or blog post noticed when big news events occur, you’ve got to be one of the first businesses to pull the trigger. That doesn’t mean you should hastily rush to create a poorly composed blog post. It does mean that you can’t afford to be hesitant. To successfully newsjack a story, speed is vital. 3. Include the right keywords: If the news you’re trying to hijack involves a specific company, organization, or keyword, make sure to creatively reference them in your blog post or news release headline, and several times in the first few paragraphs. You want journalists or customers who are looking for more information on a specific piece of news to easily find your content. 7 David Meerman Scott, 2011; http://bit.ly/wHjLrx
15 Ideas to Grow with Digital Marketing
Newsjacking is a perfect example of modern PR. It incorporates some basic tenets of traditional public relations, but is more effective because of the speed and agility of digital media. If you’re able to successfully attach your business to a breaking news story, you can quickly create buzz, climb search rankings, and connect with new customers.
CASE STUDY: Making News in Search Rankings With a Seasoned PR Partner In early 2006, leading national rental management company ResortQuest recognized that it had a significant marketing problem. In an industry where prospective customers conducted much of their research for potential resort destinations by performing Google searches, ResortQuest lacked the search results it needed to be seen by those customers. Thankfully, John Ellis, ResortQuest’s online marketing manager, had a plan. The company began to use PRWeb, the Vocus online news release service that helps businesses create, distribute, and track online news releases to gain publicity and exposure on the Web. After some early testing and experimentation with the software, Ellis began creating and distributing link-rich press releases using PRWeb’s system. Before long, Ellis began seeing increased traffic to ResortQuest’s home page, while several of the company’s other landing pages were bubbling to the top of search results. Within six months, the company had several pages consistently listing in the top 10 of search engine results pages. Today, ResortQuest’s prospective customers have no trouble finding the company’s Web pages in search results. “Today, we are in the top five rankings with hundreds of quality keywords,” Ellis explains. “And it’s largely because of ResortQuest’s relationship with PRWeb and the quality of the press releases we’re able to create and distribute.” 11
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