Newsjacking vs. New-Jacking: Be First With Content and Dominate Your Niche

by Marcus Sheridan

“Marcus, don’t get me wrong, Newsjacking is good, but with my company we see the key as “New-Jacking.” Yep, if it’s new in our industry, we talk about it. I want to own the keyword. I want to be the first.”

Powerful words indeed—said during a conversation I had with one of my clients as the phrase “Newsjacking” came up at a conference we were attending. But before I delve further, allow me to explain…

NewsJacking

David Meerman Scott, an incredibly successful author and speaker who I personally like and respect a great amount recently published the book Newsjacking, a phrase he defines as:

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.

Seems like a pretty swell idea, right?

Yes, it absolutely is, but like everything else in this age of new media, many businesses in my opinion are missing the mark, big time.

For example, how many “10 Things the Olympics Teach Us About Social Media” articles did you drudge through while the games were going on in London a few months back?

And now that the Olympics are over,  have you noticed everyone wants to look for silly ways to integrate Big Bird, Politics, and Campaign Mocking into their marketing efforts?

Sure, it might be cute.

And yes, sometimes it’s funny.

Heck, it may even equate to links, pings, mentions, and all those other “chatter” equivalents.

But does it really produce qualified traffic, leads, and sales?

Furthermore, let me ask you this question:

If your company finds a witty way to inject itself into the “news” and somehow gets an extra 10,000 “mentions” online or in the airwaves, but didn’t get a single customer/client from the event, did any of it really matter?  Or is it simply a case of a tree falling in the woods but no one heard it?

As we’re all finding out, social “mentions” don’t exactly pay the bills.

Yes, they make us feel excited for a day or two but when the dust settles we fall back to earth with the same realization and question we had before—How can I generate more sales?? (Note** I say this out of experience as it’s happened to me so many times over the past 40 months that I’ve grown to have a different view of what “striking it big” really means online.)

Again, I’m not saying this is always the case with Newsjacking. When done right, the way David discusses in his book, it can work very well. But as with everything else in marketing, our goals and metrics of success cannot be overlooked.

Cutting Edge Content: New-Jacking

This is exactly what my friend Steve Sheinkopf was alluding to at the beginning of this post when he told me his thoughts on “New-Jacking.”

And what is “New-Jacking?”

Let’s look for a second at how Steve does it.

In his case, Steve is the owner of Yale Appliance, the largest kitchen appliance company in the northeast (Mass., Conn., etc.). Because he sells so many appliances from different manufacturers, Steve is constantly receiving new products to his store, which then allows him to immediately discuss these products.

For example, because Steve’s staff has been trained to listen to customer questions as potential blog articles, he is continually hearing said customers ask for information on new products, and especially gets many questions from them wanting to know how one product compares to another.

Instead of allowing magazines, review sites, or even manufacturers to lead the charge when it comes to this information, Steve is on a constant quest to review and compare these products on his blog practically before they even hit the shelves. And because he does this, and does it so well, his blog and business have exploded. In fact, he recently sent me an email/testimonial discussing our content strategy using “New-jacking” and here’s part of what it said:

…The results speak for themselves. In December of 2011, we had 18,000 visitors to our website through organic search. In September of 2012, we had 48,000 visitors from organic search using Marcus’s business blogging techniques with an average post of 1000 views (and climbing)… We blog 5 to 6 days a week and own the top three slots on Google for approximately 141 keywords. Our business in a highly competitive market is up about 15%.   We have also reduced marketing costs by approximately $500,000.

How about them content marketing apples? Real returns, real results.

A master of product comparison, the folks at Yale Appliance stay on the cutting edge with their content marketing and blogging efforts.

Basically, Steve took my advice on review/comparison/vs. style articles and ran with it. But what made it so special was the fact that he not only produced loads of articles, he made sure he was one of the first to write about any product, which meant from an SEO standpoint he was first on top of the “keyword mountain,” which is why he now ranks so high for so many phrases.

Can you imagine owning the first 4 spots in search results in Google for a major keyword phrase? For Steve, this has become commonplace.

And as many know, once you’re on top of a keyword mountain it can be tough for others to knock you off.

Niche Domination

In a time when online sales are killing retailers Yale Appliance is crushing it because they listen better than anyone in their industry and are willing to address consumer questions about cutting-edge and new products as soon as they hit the shelves.

This is New-Jacking (or whatever you want to call it as this is just the name Steve used to describe it) and this is why niche domination is so possible in the world of content marketing. With so many Goliaths out there, the Davids of the world are able to think fast, move fast, and not be impeded by red-tape that destroys all progress.

Let me give you another example of New-Jacking from my swimming pool company.

Every year in the fiberglass pool industry the manufacturers of pools come out with new models. In the past, even though I competed against these products as a builder I still wrote articles discussing all the new models I liked, what I was impressed with, and even handed out awards to these manufacturers. (No, I’m not kidding, just see below.)

And what were the results of articles like this one? Well, not only does it rank for the following phrases, but it also generated loads of high-quality inbound links coming in directly from my competition. Pretty crazy, huh?? :-)

As shown in my HubSpot analytics, this one article was a virtual home-run.

Be the First

My point with this article is simple. Yes, Newsjacking is a newer twist in this wild digital age we’re all a part of. And yes, there may be times when, if done right, Newsjacking can produce traffic, leads, and sales.

But before you go out and start looking to integrate Big Bird and the Olympics into your web content, why not be the first to write about the products, trends, and news within YOUR industry? Why not keep your ear to the ground and hear every question consumers are asking and be the first one to put your thoughts on a digital screen?

If you do this, and are relentless in your efforts, I can promise you that you’ll not only build your brand and garner sales, but you’ll also become a powerful force within your niche for years to come.

Your Turn

OK, two part question folks. What’s your take on newsjacking for small and large businesses when it comes to generating leads and sales? Also, why do so few companies take advantage of “New-Jacking” within their industry?

Jump in folks, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

Elena Anne October 10, 2012 at

I think that if a big news story is relevant to what you do or write about, and you have a genuinely unique take on it or something really valuable to add to the conversation, then newsjacking is a good idea. However, it’s always preferable to break the story and be in the lead when it comes to getting new information out there. Not too long ago, nobody could have hoped to scoop a major news outlet on a story or beat a major publication out on a product review but the internet makes it possible. Thanks for the good information!

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Marcus Sheridan October 10, 2012 at

That’s a very important part of this conversation Elena– Relevancy. Often times, the topic is so *not* relevant it can almost be distracting. Other times it makes perfect sense. I guess like everything else it varies ;-)

Appreciate you stopping by!

Marcus

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Eric Pratum October 10, 2012 at

It’s worth pointing out that you’re seeing some pretty big personalization in your search results because you’re probably logged in (so Google knows who you are and what your interests are), you’ve googled his company before and then clicked a search result to go to the page, and you’re really not that far from them geographically, so you’re getting both personalization and localization. If you’re logged into Google+, you’ll also be getting some Search Plus Your World skewing.

Either way, good on Yale for jumping on information that consumers want.

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Marcus Sheridan October 11, 2012 at

Yep, very good point Eric, thanks for bringing that up. That being said, Steve ranks for a boat-load of critical phrases and is clearly winning the “listening to customers” and “timelines” battles in his industry.

Hope you’re well my friend,

Marcus

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Eric Pratum October 12, 2012 at

Thanks, buddy.

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Ryan Hanley October 10, 2012 at

Wow… I love real statistics… Those are Gangster results.

I like the concept of New-Jacking but what I really took from this article was listen to your clients and BE ACTIVE…

Listen to what your clients are asking about and provide the solution for them.

Great stuff dude.

Hanley

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Marcus Sheridan October 11, 2012 at

Yep, real is where it’s at brother.

thanks so much for droppin in big guy,

Marcus

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wajahath ali October 10, 2012 at

Great post Marcus

So, the word to remember is Jacking ;)

I love the ideas and How the appliance retailer is applying it and reaping benefits.

Would definitely implement and recommend this to others.

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Marcus Sheridan October 11, 2012 at

Yep, Jacking it is Wajath ;-)

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Krista Kotrla October 11, 2012 at

LOVE IT. Way to go, Steve and Marcus with the “new-jacking” concept. Super simple yet brings BIG results. Gotta love that.

It’s just awesome to see these examples of small businesses rocking content marketing the right way and becoming the voice of an industry. Very inspiring!

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Marcus Sheridan October 11, 2012 at

Thanks KK. Yep, Steve is kind of a star at this point ;-)

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Davina K. Brewer October 11, 2012 at

Building on trends and timely events isn’t new – that’s good old-fashioned PR. I’m always trying to localize or nationalize a story. It’s just this jumping on ANY trend in real-time for the sake of hits and clicks, that’s the new part – because of new media, social, because of web and search. I agree Marcus, I question why in the world some companies jump onto certain topics, wonder what it does for them when it’s not their stakeholders? I suspect it’s little more than name ‘awareness’ and a jump in clicks and SEO. (I’ve also written advice for newsjackers, mistakes to avoid b/c all to often what we see are brands getting it wrong.)

NEWjacking – that does make sense. It’s much like other blogging and social programs I think are better suited when it’s products you’re promoting. Specific items, features, brands, names – all very searchable. Love your example. That looks like a 300% increase in as you say TARGETED, qualified traffic, at less money, that actually increased sales. That’s well done. And it’s only b/c they (not some autobot) are doing it; they’re putting in the work, time to stay ahead of trend and create NEWjacked content that targets their market. FWIW.

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Marcus Sheridan October 11, 2012 at

You make a great point Davina. Yes, in many ways, this is PR is the modern, digital twist.

Your point about “name awareness” is the great mystery here. How does one value that? Kind of like “impressions” online. Like, what the heck, you know??

Anyway, the conversation is just starting ;-)

You rock,

Marcus

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David Meerman Scott October 11, 2012 at

Marcus, this is an excellent analysis that adds some great information to the ideas I started talking about some time ago. Thanks for the mention.

You’re certainly onto something here. If there are hundreds of people trying to leverage a huge national or international story (such as Romney’s Big Bird comment), it is tough to break through. But as you point out, taking a position on an important news story in your market, industry or geography is newsjacking at its best.

What’s changed to make newsjacking possible is that Google now indexes in real-time. That allow a timely blog post to be seen by journalists as they search for more information on a topic. Real-time is the key here. Yet nearly all PR & marketing people are in campaign mode rather than real-time mode, so those like us who understand newsjacking have an advantage.

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Marcus Sheridan October 11, 2012 at

David, what a pleasure to have you stop by bud and I hope you’re doing well. But judging from you energy onstage at INbound 12, I guess things are great as ever :-)

Love your point about Google and real-time man. And heck, I think we’re just at the tip of the iceberg when it comes to how all that will develop in the coming years.

Thanks for all you do,

Marcus

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Kim Peek October 11, 2012 at

Great post! One of our most popular articles is about sales lessons that can be learned from Justin Bieber. We get a lot of traffic from people wanting to know how fast he sold out Madison Square Garden. The article is a great read, but obviously irrelevant to teen girls who have arrived at our site because they luv the Bieb. That is probably always worthless traffic to us.

However, if you are jumping on something newsworthy, and you have valuable insight that ties back to your core audience, I think newsjacking can be a great tool. As with everything, it’s about relevancy and quality of content.

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Marcus Sheridan October 11, 2012 at

Yep, you’re right Kim. It’s about relevancy and moving a prospect along. If content does that, then awesome.

Thanks so much for stopping by,

Marcus

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Cristian Shirilla October 11, 2012 at

Marc,

Really enjoy reading your articles. I usually don’t chime in on things, but this one…this idea of “new-jacking” seemed so simple once I finished.

Sounds like you will always generate more leads and sales if you write about your own products and industry. Consumers search, using keywords, for the products they want. So jumping on the latest media bandwagon probably will result in your company being discovered by someone looking for more of the story…not your product.

Speaking from personal experiences and through observation of others I find that consumers identify a need (for a product or service) THEN hop online to find it. Our job is to pique a consumer’s interest about something they’ve already decided they want or need. As opposed to convincing them they need your product when they were looking for something totally different.

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Marcus Sheridan October 11, 2012 at

Cristian, do you realize you’re probably the one person in the Northern Neck that actually reads my blog on occasion?? You’re a good man ;-)

And your point here is a very valid one. Once the consumer is in market, the race is on…and the question is whether or not we’ll be the ones willing to think, act, and talk just like them.

Thanks for everything bud,

Marcus

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Don Stanley October 11, 2012 at

My favorite line on TSL so far “how ’bout them content marketing apples”

Reminds me of one of my favorite mantras, “Focus on results and accomplishments, not activity”.

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Marcus Sheridan October 11, 2012 at

You should have heard me say it out loud as I was writing it! ;-)

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Don Stanley October 12, 2012 at

When I read it, I could actually hear you saying it ;-) Much more impactful that way. Keep on getting after it!

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Wade October 11, 2012 at

Newsjacking is a term that I’m not familiar with. I guess I always knew that if you were the first to break a story or be the first one to share new info was good & I always try to do this.

While reading this article, you have made me realize that there is a great story for newbies to read. If you are wanting to be a spectacular blogger like yourself, then a higher quality of blogging is needed. Too many times I come across blogs that are writing about the same stuff all the time. If we want to be like Marcus Sheridan, then we need a higher quality blog. You always bring out the good stuff.

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Marcus Sheridan October 11, 2012 at

Wade, you’re incredibly kind to say that, and I’d be lying if I said hard work wasn’t a big part of this. Whether it’s the networking side or time spent on a post to make it great, there are no shortcuts in this game, no matter how many eBooks one reads ;-)

Thanks for coming by bud,

Marcus

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Rob October 12, 2012 at

Great posts and comments here. I am so “New” to this.

Marcus, what are High Value Inbound Links, and how did you get them?

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Marcus Sheridan October 13, 2012 at

High value stems from sites with a higher PR rank Rob. So one link from a high PR page is better than 20 from junk sites.

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Steve Sheinkopf October 18, 2012 at

Hey,

The NewJacking thing especially with versus posts is a can’t miss for high ranking. Eric, you wrote about personalization. You don’t know me. Google Viking D3 reviews and see what is on page 1…(As a FYI, D3 is a new and popular line from Viking Range)

Try it….and then blog about new relevant topics in your industry. Write a bunch of articles in the first month or so and you will own that term

S

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Brave Frontier Cheat April 19, 2014 at

Hi there, yeah this piece of writing is actually pleasant and
I have learned lot of things from it concerning blogging.
thanks.

Reply

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