You might not be familiar with the term newsjacking but you’ve seen it in in action. It’s predominantly popular on Twitter and Facebook. David Meerman Scott coined the term in his book, Newsjacking: How to Inject Your Ideas into a Breaking News Story and Generate Tons of Media Coverage. When used strategically, newsjacking can rapidly gain fresh interest, traffic and buzz around your brand.
But before I get into newsjacking for coaches, let’s take a look at how it’s defined. Initially, David described newsjacking 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.” However, in a recent interview with John P. David in the Huffington Post, David admitted, “When I first invented newsjacking, I focused on the idea of getting your ideas into news stories. My main consideration was to teach the technique of getting you quoted in the stories being written by mainstream media reporters at newspapers, magazines, and in broadcast stories on radio and television. But as I’ve spoken with hundreds of people who have successfully implemented my ideas, I’ve realized that many of them were generating sales leads, adding new customers, selling products and services, and growing their business — all from newsjacking!”
So while newsjacking can still gain media attention (which can be very beneficial for life, career and relationship coaches looking for radio and television interviews or speaking engagements), it is clearly being used to generate leads and grow client base. For the purpose of this article, I am going to focus on the definition provided by the Content Marketing Institute that puts it this way, “Newsjacking is the process of injecting your brand into the day’s news, creating a twist that grabs eyes when they’re open widest.”
For a sweet example (pun intended) of a newsjack done well, check out this one from Oreo that was originally posted on Twitter and Facebook during the Super Bowl blackout.
Power out? No problem. pic.twitter.com/dnQ7pOgC
— Oreo Cookie (@Oreo) February 4, 2013
Within minutes it was retweeted 15,000 times and garnered a whopping 20,000 likes on Facebook. Those are phenomenal numbers considering it was posted only minutes after (and during) the blackout. Clearly Oreo wasn’t going for media attention such as an interview on public radio. And they certainly weren’t an unknown brand hoping to stir up interest in their cookies. Yet this is an example of how a well-timed response to a current event with the appropriate tone for the occasion and brand can gain massive attention. When was the last time one of your tweets was retweeted 15,000 times? Go ahead, check your Twitter Analytics – I’ll wait.
I know what you’re thinking. What specifically does Oreo’s tweet have to do with newsjacking for coaches? Nothing. And do you know why? While there very well may be coaches who are using newsjacking effectively for their businesses, if you Google “newsjacking for coaches” or “how coaches use newsjacking” you’ll find nothing. Nada. As of the date of this post, no one is talking about newsjacking for coaches. And that can be good news for you. You can do what other coaches haven’t learned to do effectively…before it catches on.
One example of a life coach using newsjacking is an article by Thomas Gagliano regarding the Baltimore Riot Mom Toya Graham who many remember gained attention for how she decided to discipline her child when she discovered he was part of the rowdy crowd. Many called her Mom of the Year. Thomas quickly responded to the discussion by posting a blog, as much of his content focuses on family relationships, adding his own opinions and then asking for commentary from his readers.
The examples used in the next sections for examples of newsjacking for coaches are completely hypothetical but give you a clear visual of how it could be used.
Newsjacking for Life Coaches
In this example, consider popular television series for newsjacking. Unlike topics that occur without notice, you can plan these far in advance as promotions begin to pop up regarding upcoming season premiers. That gives you plenty of time to plan your strategy, from a landing page, blog post, tweets, Facebook posts and more.
Newsjacking for Career Coaches
Commenting on politics is not for the faint of heart but this is one example of how a very hot topic could be newsjacked for a career coach.
Newsjacking for Relationship Coaches
If you’re a relationship coach, you’re never at a loss for stories to newsjack. With celebrity relationships on, off and on again, you can take your pick any day of the week. Be sure to newsjack celebrities your client base would identify with. If your clients are more mature, a Taylor Swift breakup newsjack might not land.
A Few Do’s and Don’ts
Do go easy on political references and consider whether you’ll alienate your target audience before posting.
Do use graphics. If you want the most shares, make sure the images you use are in sizes right for the platform (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram et al).
Don’t forget the hashtags. Search what hashtags are surrounding the news topic you intend to newsjack and use when you post.
Do know that unlike other collateral, newsjacking has a short shelf life. You won’t be circulating this kind of content weeks or months later so this won’t be the bulk of your social media content, no matter how well it works for you. However, the content you create around your newsjack topic can become evergreen.
Do be prepared for backlash. Consider that for every like you get, there will be mumblings from those who don’t agree with your content. That’s not necessarily a negative; you just need to be prepared for how you will respond – and you WILL respond. The worst thing you can do is ignore the engagement your content gets regardless of the sentiment.
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