How to Leverage Trending News to Give Your Business a Boost
To run a successful business, you’ll need to know how to get more traffic to your website, more traffic to your content, and also convert more people to sign up for your email list and buy your products or services. Plus, that traffic needs to be interested in what you have to offer. They should be clamoring for the information you provide. One way to get more targeted traffic is to capitalize on trending and current events so that your content is interesting, up-to-date and worth clicking on.
When you use trending news to help you fill out your content calendar, it will enhance SEO, improve brand recognition, build authority, and drive traffic to your site. More traffic means, if you do it right, more leads. More leads mean more prospects and more prospects mean more customers. In some circles, using trending news is referred to as “newsjacking.” The term newsjacking was coined by David Meerman Scott, an online marketing strategist and author of the book, “The New Rules of Marketing and PR.”
To implement newsjacking you’ll need to be able to act quickly based on the trends at the moment, while finding a way to fit this new content in with your regular content. You don’t want the content to seem like spam, clickbait or like you’re trying too hard. What you choose to write about or talk about (if you choose video as your format) should fit in seamlessly with the content you already have.
Remember, you don’t stop using other types of content just because you are now using trending news as subject matter for new content. After all, what’s trending today may not be trending tomorrow, so you have to do it fast for it to work. You have to keep generating other types of content, because this is also content that shows you are an important contributor to your niche – even the “go to” person in your niche. This is going to help attract more media and influencer attention.
All you have to do is spend a few minutes each day reading the news and evaluating trends, so that you can figure out which headline or happening is a good opportunity for you to capitalize on. What works will depend, of course, on your audience, your niche, and your offerings. But, with a little creativity you can take today’s hot headlines and make them into your cash cow.
Why It Works
Newsjacking works because it’s creating content from news of the day. It can also be from heated topics, funny information, or national dialogue. As long as you combine it with other content, preferably a lot of evergreen content, this will work to bring more traffic to your website and help you get a lot more views, and maybe even go viral – depending on how interesting, relatable, and relevant your blog post or article is. Because remember, this is as a good way to build authority as well.
Newsjacking creates a feeling of immediacy or urgency. This is something that you need to do when you’re trying to tap into your audience and make them hungry for more information. If you’re showing how you understand the industry and keep up to date on the news, it can result in a lot more traffic to your online real estate.
Why You Should Do It
When you look at other business, charities, news outlets and so forth, you know that they also use trending news to get more attention. Anytime big business is doing something, it’s important to take note and consider copying them and doing it yourself. When you keep abreast of current events and trending news in your industry, you show your audience that you are the go-to expert in that field. You automatically up your expert quotient.
The thing is, you must be super-quick and not give it a whole lot of thought at the time. You want to be clever and get the material to mesh with your business values and ideas, but you don’t want to get paralyzed with fear of doing it wrong either. The more you do it, the better you’ll get at it. And you should do it if you want to increase your credibility, get more traffic, and boost your business.
Choosing the Right Topic
Simply look over the headlines of the day; don’t spend a lot of time (maybe 10 or 15 minutes) to find out what’s happening in your industry and the community of your industry. This doesn’t mean it has to be front page news on CNN.
It can be simply news to your community and only important to your audience. For example, if there is some drama going on in the industry, you can capitalize on it by making an impromptu blog post about it. Or it can be a big news item that your audience would generally have read and know about.
For example, when Prince William and Kate had their baby, the NFL wrote a blog post about it called, “NFL royalty baby names for Prince William and Kate.” This is a great way to draw people into your blog, while offering more substance with available links and relating your story to your niche and audience.
Consider these points when looking for trending news.
- Set up alerts – To choose a good topic, remember to set up alerts via Google Alerts so that you’ll be first to get any news.
- Read message boards – Whether it’s Facebook groups or other message boards, read them on a regular basis so you can catch wind of any news that may be trending.
- Leverage social media – Use tools to help you monitor social media for trending news and topics that you can use as fodder for more content.
- Research keywords – After you’ve discovered some trending news you can use, it’s important to make sure that you check which keywords you want to use so that you’ll get that extra boost from SEO.
- Understand your topic – Once you’ve found the news you want to jack, try to do a little extra research in order to know more about the topic. Don’t spend too much time, though, because you need this content out today.
- Get it done – Due to the nature of trending news, you need to get this type of content created quickly, and published fast. You don’t have time to go through normal channels of content creation. Get it done; get it published.
It can feel like a lot of pressure leveraging trending news to give your business a boost, but once you get the hang of it it’ll actually become second nature. You’ll be innocently watching the nightly news and an idea will overtake you. Go with it. This is a great thing and will work wonders for your content marketing strategy, keeping it fresh, exciting, engaging and interesting.
Tips for Successful Newsjacking
If you want to be successful with newsjacking, it needs to be one of your content strategies. Believe it or not, you can have both planned newsjacking and off-the-cuff newsjacking content. Try these tips to be successful.
Find the Coincidences
Pay attention to the news that’s breaking right now, and keep your mind open to the possibilities. If you sell something that would help people who are having issues right now, you can match that need with what’s happening and produce content about it. It can be a video, a live Facebook event, or a blog post. But, you’ll need to be prepared to act immediately without much thought and match that news event to your audience’s needs.
Yes, you can plan ahead for “newsjacking” by paying attention to current events and what’s coming up. For example, if it’s baseball season or football season, you can find ways to incorporate your information with the season and the news regarding the season. For example, if you’re an author and your audience doesn’t like football, you can capitalize on the football season by offering your readers an alternative. If you’re a food blogger, you can blog about the right food to eat during that event.
It needs to be stressed again – you can’t wait around when it comes to using trending news to boost your business. You have to be ready to act right away. You want to set aside a budget for last-minute content creation if you’re not creating it, or set aside time to create it if you’re producing it yourself. You also want to have a budget for ads if you want to boost the post, for example. Because you can’t do this if you have to get someone else’s approval, small businesses are particularly well set up to do this type of last-minute content production.
Don’t look too hard to find the connection between the current event and your business. If it doesn’t pop out to you right away as you’re perusing the news, then it probably won’t resonate with your audience either. You don’t want to try to get attention about something just because it’s trending. That won’t work; it has to also be relevant in some way.
Obviously, if there is a disaster you don’t want to use that as fodder for newsjacking. Depending on your audience, it can also be dangerous to use politics or religion as any type of content-generating material because you may offend half your audience. You have to be careful depending on your niche. If you have doubts about the reaction, you may want to not do it.
Set Up Alerts
It’s important that you keep monitoring the news continuously so that you can catch these events. You can use Google Alerts to set up an alert for news within your industry, along with other keywords too. That way you can find out about things as they’re happening. But, nothing beats monitoring the news yourself manually every day for a few minutes at different times of the day.
Promote, Promote, Promote
This is the same step you should take for any type of content you produce and publish. You have to get the word out about it. Organic search, a good headline, and good content isn’t all there is to it. You also need to be sure to share, ask people to share, call out those you want to know about and more. Leave no stone unturned. This is where you email your contacts and let them know about your story.
Newsjacking can be a very lucrative way to generate more traffic and interest in your offerings, but it can also be risky. If you want to use this technique you’ll need to be able to act quickly, make the choice fast, and simply get it done. You can’t wait around for board approval, which can cause mistakes to be made too. So be careful, stay on message, and act in a considerate way.
Mistakes to Avoid When Using Newsjacking as a Content Marketing Strategy
While leveraging trending news is a wonderful content strategy to use, there are dangers. One slip-up can cause an avalanche of hate mail, boycotts and more. Be aware of what you’re doing and always keep the point of your business and the needs of your audience at the forefront of everything you do. Here are some mistakes to avoid.
- Being Insensitive – Some current events, and even holidays, have connotations outside of a good day to have a sale. Be careful about how you connect your business to certain events, because the blowback you can get can ruin your entire business.
- Not Acting Quickly – When you see a trending news item that works, don’t wait. Don’t sit on it overnight and check with others first. Create the content and get it out fast so that you can ride the trending wave.
- Being Irrelevant – You cannot, no matter how much you want to, smash a square peg into a round hole without a lot of gerrymandering. This can be a very bad tactic to take and even turn off your audience. Don’t try to make it work when it doesn’t work.
- Forcing Connection – If you’re reading through the news and nothing gels and you can’t figure out how to make a connection with the current events happening now and your business, don’t do it. It’s okay to pass on this idea once in a while. Forcing it will just be awkward and it won’t work anyway.
- Creating Link Bait – It might work for a little while, but eventually people will stop clicking on your titles if the content is not related to the title. You can create clickable titles that verge on link bait but that are relevant, so think hard about how you do this so you don’t make your audience mad and frustrated.
- Forgetting SEO – No matter what type of content you’re creating, it’s imperative that you remember the rules of SEO. Search engine optimization is always important in terms of titles, headers, and content.
- Dumping Your Values – You have to remember that a business has values that it wants to represent too. These values may or may not align with personal values. But as the business owner it is likely that they will. Be careful that your relationship between current events and your tie-in with your own content and business doesn’t upset those values.
- Not Building Relationships – One thing to do if you want to newsjack well is to build relationships with media outlets. That way, when you post something newsworthy, they might pick up your content and make it go viral. You should have a list handy so you can inform them of the new content.
Using newsjacking as part of your content strategy is a very effective and lucrative way to boost your business. This is because it actually boosts traffic, and can create a buzz of its own if you play your cards right. You can actually “go viral” with the right trending topic connected to your business. But, making these mistakes can ruin it all. In order to stay on track you might want to consider monitoring the news more often so you can find more relevant and useful connections.
Tools You Can Use for News Monitoring
Of course, today there is a lot of automation and ways to keep informed of trending topics that you may not know about. Using these tools can help you monitor the news on a regular basis without using too much time.
- Google Trends – This free online topic exploration service enables you to find out what stories are trending around any topic you desire. You can even find out what topics are trending in specific locations.
- Google Alerts – We’ve mentioned this already. Google Alerts enables you to set up an alert with certain search terms. At intervals you set, you can have the system email you the results of the search. It’s a good way to get information about your brand, but also about the industry as a whole.
- CustomScoop – This is a paid tool that provides all-in-one news along with social media monitoring. You can get all levels of monitoring with their system depending upon your budget. This is for serious six-figure companies that plan to use breaking news as a main strategy.
- Dialogix – This social media and news monitoring service is in Australia, but you can use it wherever you happen to be to monitor social and news for information that you can put to use for your business.
- Mention – You can start listening to what is being said about your company, your name, your business, and your industry through this cloud-based app. You can use this service to monitor news and social, as well as find influencers.
- Hootsuite – You can not only manage all your social media with Hootsuite, but you can also monitor activity on social media, including industry news and your own brand. It starts out as free but you’ll want to upgrade.
- TweetReach – You can use this free tool to search any term on Twitter with your connected account to get information that can help you identify trending news and topics for future content.
- com – This is a location-based media monitoring solution that works great for people who are focused on local businesses. You can get visual reports such as maps, collage view and more.
- Feedspy – This service allows you to search for extra information about a viral post. You can find out who shared it, who their friends are and more, such as finding out what their groups are. This can be very good information for finding trending topics for your industry.
- Quora – This question and answer site is full of information for a smart content marketer who wants to find trending information to turn into content.
As you can see, there are numerous tools that you can use to find breaking news, viral information, and then use it to capitalize on it and make it your own. You can try to come up with angles that turn real-time news into a traffic avalanche for you.
How to Inject Your Ideas or Angles into Breaking News in Real Time
It’s actually easy to find trending topics. But, you may be confused about how to interject your ideas into it to get attention in real time. Don’t overthink it. It’s not that hard. You have laid the foundation already; you just need to start thinking strategically. Hopefully, most of these tips you’ve already started due to other aspects of your content marketing strategy.
- Know Your Audience – This is the most important thing you can do for your entire business, but most especially when you want to create content based on real-time news. If you get too political or controversial with some audiences, they’ll be turned off and leave. With others, they’ll become even bigger fans.
- Don’t Try Too Hard – When you discover the idea of leveraging trending news, it’s easy to get too excited about it and force it. Don’t do that. You don’t want to appear to be grasping at straws to get more views.
- Think Visually – Sometimes, the trending news doesn’t need to be a long blog post, or even a webcast. You can also make memes, infographics and other types of visual information using the news. Canva.com is easy to use to make infographics, blog post graphics, and memes.
- Monitor News – Use the tools mentioned to keep monitoring the news so that you can discover happenings in your industry. Even if you don’t find something every single day that you can use, you’ll learn more about your industry and become the expert you want to be.
- Monitor Your Own Real Estate – Sometimes trending information and news can come straight from your own online real estate. Be sure to monitor your own posts for comments, shares and more to find out the information between the lines that you can exploit.
- Go Live – You don’t have to use written content to use current events to tie into your business. Instead, you can find out about the news, figure out a way to relate it to your business, and then go live with the information using Facebook Live, Blab.me or Periscope.com.
- Don’t Be Too Literal – There are ways to tie the trending news with your content marketing strategy without being too literal. For example, you can use a prominent death to make a point about something such as not waiting too long to work toward goals or go on a vacation etc… But it’s important to be careful that you’re not trampling on someone’s feelings in the process. For example, perhaps Prince’s death sparked something in you that you can relate to your business. But it’s not really about Prince. As long as you are kind and generous, the post will likely work.
- Consider Your Headlines – When using trending topics to create content, it can be tempting to create clickbait-style titles. Now, there is nothing wrong with the right type of clickbait, in spite of what you may have heard. After all, you want people to click through. But, the trick is, does the title describe what’s inside? If so, it’s perfect.
- Understand What Makes Content Good – Every piece of content you create needs to have a solid message, a hook to reel the viewer or reader in, and the right structure that keeps them entertained and informed. Plus, it needs to be interesting. You want the person reading it to feel your excitement about the topic, which will encourage them to act.
- Differentiate Yourself – You want some of your personality and the personality of your business to show through in the content you create. You want there to be no mistake about who created it when it’s consumed. Plus, it’s going to make it more interesting to read.
No matter what you do, you don’t want the new content you’re creating from trending topics to look like spam. You want it to provide value to your audience, while also helping you build your email lists and convert traffic to buyers. If you’re careful, you can do it and remain relevant while also building your authority quotient.
How to Gain the Attention of Journalists
One way to help your content go viral is to promote it to journalists. You can keep a media list as mentioned before, and let them know about your posts so that they can choose to promote them, use them or not. But, first you need to set yourself up so you’re worthy of journalists’ attention.
Set Up a Google Alert
Your first step to building a good list of journalists is to set up a Google Alert. When you set it up, follow your most direct competition and the biggest movers and shakers in your industry. This will help you understand the types of content that is working for them, so you can use that type for you.
Move the information that you gather from the alerts to a spreadsheet so you can keep track of it for use later. Collect the journalists’ names, who they write for, where they publish and if you can get it, an email address. As you develop your media list, you can then use that list to send information to them. Plus, you can tell them where you found them to make it more personal.
It’s imperative when you contact anyone – be it a journalist or a blogger – that you are very respectful, nice, and don’t annoy them. Instead, you want to focus on being a valuable contributor for them, so that they want to help you in your endeavors. They have a job to do, and they’re not going to do something that doesn’t help them in that job just to be nice to you. Always say please and thank you.
Make It Personal
When you contact someone from the media, try to put a personal spin on it. Tell them how you learned about them. Plus, by doing this you eliminate the idea of mass mailing a bunch of journalists in hopes that someone responds, because they won’t. Even if you’re super-personal and polite, they might not even read it. But you have more chance if you make it personal and give them a good reason why that benefits them.
Make It Simple for Them
Do the work for them. If you want them to forward on an article you wrote, or a meme, or know some additional information about a subject they write on, do the work for them. The truth is, most people are lazy. But, if you make it super-easy for them and do all the work except for the one thing you want them to do, then you’re more likely to get a positive answer.
Comment, Share, Like Their Work
In the meantime, you want to build relationships with the journalists by commenting on, sharing and liking their work. If you always comment, and say something intelligent, more than likely that journalist will become curious about you and check out your work. Plus, when you ask for a favor they may recognize you.
Grab Their Attention with Your Work
Consistently put out good content and good work. You can get a lot of attention by taking your content to the next level. By connecting your business to trending topics, by writing amazing content, creating awesome live events and more, you can get journalists’ attention – especially if you quote their work in your work.
Distribute Your Content across Several Platforms
Outside of publishing content on your own online real estate, consider spreading around your work by guest blogging, being interviewed, getting quoted by others, and publishing in your name on popular websites and blogs. When you get a name for yourself as an expert in your niche, journalists are a lot happier to talk to you and do favors for you.
When you have created any type of content or idea out of someone else’s idea because they sparked your creativity, tell them about it. Write them a quick note, and tell them how much you loved their blog post or work, tell them about yours, and ask for feedback.
Don’t Discount Running a Paid Advertisement
A really good way to get anyone’s attention is to run an advertisement. Facebook is an easy place to run ads. You can do promoted posts, or you can run a special advertisement. The trick here is how you target your advertisement. Ensure that you get the right groups and the right people listed in the targeting section of Facebook Ads.
“Create it and they’ll come” is outdated and probably never actually worked. If you really want attention from anyone, including a journalist, you have to work for it. You have to not just write it, publish it and share it to your social media accounts; you also have to work a little bit harder to make it big. You can do it if you set your mind to it. Using trending news will give you that leg-up that you may not have thought of before.
Whether you’re new to content marketing or not, the fact is that newsjacking works. Levering trending news to boost traffic, get more leads, turn those leads into buyers, and thus adding to your bottom line is a marketing trick as old as marketing itself. But, today it’s just easier due to the ease at which you can collect information and monitor the news.
Set Up Alerts
If you want to add this strategy to your content marketing, you can get started very simply by starting with setting up Google Alerts so you can study your audience, your competition, industry news and even the regular news of the day. Becoming aware of what is happening in the world and connecting it to your business with the content you produce will create amazing results for you.
Start Building a Media List
When you find influencers in your niche, take note and add them to a database so that you can contact them and reach out to them. Follow them on social media, comment on their articles and other content, and mention them in your work too. This is going to help you build a relationship with them so that you can get your content promoted too.
Analyze the Content You Have
Using your most direct competition as a guide, match the content you have with theirs. Also, match your content with your offerings to ensure that you’re covering all your bases. Figure out where you might have holes. Determine how you’ll use newsjacking to fill those holes in the content you have, and make the content you have stand out more. If you’re going to get more traffic, you want to update, optimize and improve the content you have.
Improve Your Calls to Action
Having a lot of traffic will not do any good if you’re doing a poor job at capturing and converting the traffic you already get. Double check your website, your email marketing messages and everywhere to make sure that you’re using your CTAs to their utmost. Test different methods and the higher traffic will pay off. A few tweaks to your sales pages, to your calls to action, and your email newsletter sign-up can make a huge difference.
Try Starting with a Yearly Event
Instead of starting with a late breaking news announcement with your newsjacking endeavors, take a look at upcoming holidays and festivities. Can you interject your business into these events? You can likely find a way if you give it some thought. This will give you more time to come up with a story than if you used today’s breaking news as your first foray into newsjacking.
Study Your Niche Deeply
You’ll need to get to know your niche and topic even more so that you can understand subtle references and even jokes. If you can connect current events in a subtle way to your audience, products, services and business that others don’t get (only your audience gets), that’s the best way to go. Use social media, groups, local meet-ups, and other live events in addition to other research methods to get the information you need.
Just Do It
One of the most famous ads in advertising and marketing history is Nike’s “Just Do It” campaign. Take that advice to heart and get started today so that you can get more traffic, boost your email list, and make more money.
You can be successful leveraging trending news to give your business a boost. Newsjacking has been around for a long time because it works. Despite the sound of the term, there is nothing wrong with doing it, and it can help bring in new visitors within your target audience by making your content more interesting, informative, entertaining and engaging.
Newsjacking can increase backlinks because more people will be interested in sharing your story. Plus, you’ll get more engagement in the form of comments since it’s a breaking news story that holds people’s interest. In addition, if you’re bored with your content, so are likely other people and this method can bring a lot of new life to your content.
Journalists and other influencers will start seeing your information as newsworthy, follow your blog, and share your information. Outside of evergreen content, timely content is very important to helping keep the interest of your audience and gain new audience members to boot. It’s good for SEO, for your content, and your business overall.