How to Jack Content Like a Pro

Published by Designzillas on September 7, 2014


You don’t have to be a hard-hitting journalist in order to write an article about a popular news story. Is there something that everyone in your industry just can’t stop talking about? Or maybe there’s something outside of your industry that is being covered by every major media source. Whether the news hits close to home or is in unfamiliar territory, you still have an opportunity to newsjack the hell out of a piece of content.

You don’t have to be a hard-hitting journalist in order to write an article about a popular news story. Is there something that everyone in your industry just can’t stop talking about? Or maybe there’s something outside of your industry that is being covered by every major media source. Whether the news hits close to home or is in unfamiliar territory, you still have an opportunity to newsjack the hell out of a piece of content.

Before you decide to newsjack though, there are proper ways to do it. You don’t want to be the foolish company that simply rehashes an article that everyone and their mother is writing about, or worse, the company that completely rips off someone else’s content and plagiarizes.

Come, let us teach you the ways of the successful newsjack…

What the Heck is Newsjacking?

No, it’s not something happening in dark alleys at 3 AM. Newsjacking, according to David Meerman Scott (the man who coined the term), is “the process by which you inject your ideas or angles into breaking news, in real-time, in order to generate media coverage for yourself or your business.” Basically, you’re taking popular news, researching it, putting your own spin on it, and writing about it for your followers and users.

Now, this isn’t just happening in the tech-o-sphere; virtually anyone, in any industry, at any business can newsjack. We’re looking at you bond salesman — and even you, connoisseur of fine wines. That’s right. You, too, can capitalize on all the hot buzz going on throughout the pages of your favorite news sites.

Why Do It?

When it comes to newsjacking, the tricky thing for some might be how fast you have to do it. As quickly as a trending story comes, it fades away. You need to catch it fast, formulate your unique thoughts, and get it out there for your users to digest. Proper newsjacking can do wonders for your SEO and of course, your brand’s reputation as always being in the know. Just think about it: you’ve been hearing snippets about this new development all over the place. When you finally go and Google it, wouldn’t you want your website’s article to be the first one on the SERPs?

Here’s How

Step 1. Read the news.

That’s right, you’ve got to do some reading. You can either surf your regular news websites, or you can maximize on your time and become an RSS master. Use a website like Feedly, Flipboard, or Inoreader. These collect the RSS feeds of any website you wish and display all the top posts in one, easy to digest place. That way, you don’t have to go searching all over a bunch of different sites for information — it’ll all be right there before your eyes.

It may also be beneficial to set up some Google Alerts for specific topics. Monitor Twitter trends and hashtags and follow what people are talking about on Facebook. You’ve got to be on top of the news like white on rice.

Step 2. Find out how people are searching.

Once you’ve figured out what you want to write about, do a little research into how people are searching for the term. You can do this on Google AdWords or Google Trends. With Google AdWords, you can type in a variety of different phrases that are associated with your term and see the percentage of searches that people are actually typing into the bar. This’ll save you a lot of grief by not optimizing your post around a phrase that no one cares about.

Google Trends is a neat tool that lets you know what everyone is looking for at the moment. You can also type in a word or phrase and see when throughout history people have searched for it. Right now, for instance, the terms “Hayden Panettiere, “Taylor Swift,” and “Kind Campaign” are getting a lot of search traffic, supposedly because of the Emmy and Video Music Awards that aired this past weekend.

This kind of information can help you craft the perfect post optimized around words that people are actually searching for.

Step 3. Check out the original source, and then some.

Take some time to find the original source of the news. See how they reported on it. Get the basic facts. Then see how some other reputable sources have presented the information and how they’ve put their own spins on it. This way, you can fact check information, understand what are set-in-stone facts and what are mere opinions, and save yourself the embarrassment of looking like you have no idea what the heck you’re talking about.

After you’ve researched the information, add your own unique spin to it. Go ahead and maximize on Breaking Bad cleaning up at the Emmy’s last night, even if you’re a retirement planning firm. Relate it to saving up some cash, setting up the perfect 401k, or determining what career paths to avoid.

Step 4. Write it fast!

Get your thoughts down on paper in a cohesive manner. Usually, when posting any article, you should check it once, check it twice, then have 30 other people check it to make sure that your facts are straight and your information is viable. But with a newsjack article, make sure your facts are straight, hand it to a coworkers, and post it, baby! You’ll have plenty of time later to fix any erroneous grammar mistakes or goofs. The important thing is getting it out there before anyone else.

Step 5. Utilize your outlets.

Don’t just rely on organic search. Your article may be a work of art, a precious gemstone, a golden masterpiece akin to the Mona Lisa…but that does not mean that it will become a hit on the SERPs without a little push. Promote it on Twitter. Use hashtags. Post it to Facebook. Send it to local news outlets or prominent bloggers who might be interested in the point of view. Get it out there for people to read! Your article should be read by people, not left to sit in the dust.

Last but not least, do not rely on newsjacking all the time. It’s a great method when something that is actually worthy to write about comes up, but it may come off as lazy if this is the sole method you use to write blog posts and articles. Mix it up with some how-to’s, some infographics, some “best of” lists, and some opinion pieces. Keep your content fresh and exciting and pretty soon, people will be newsjacking you.

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