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…


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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