Catching the eye of your audience might mean the simple mention of the word Coronavirus. (aka COVID-19)

At this point, Coronavirus has become a pandemic.

And instead of freaking out and buying an F-150 load of toilet paper, hand sanitizer and canned food, you could be leveraging this hype to benefit your business.

What is News Jacking?

News Jacking 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.

It’s a strategy used by marketers to drive high volumes of traffic to their brand using the latest current event, hysteria, or craze around a specific topic.

The concept of newsjacking was invented by David Meerman Scott. (not me, just same first and last name)

  • Think when Tom Brady wins the Super Bowl. All you see for a month are blogs about how Brady’s leadership resulted in a Vince Lombardi trophy.
  • Think election season or major sporting or civic events.
  • Or, in this case it’s Coronavirus.

Newsjacking can be used for content strategy by molding a story around your specific niche and finding a common thread between you and your audience.

Newsjacking and Coronavirus is a prime example.

As I’m writing this, the stock market has plunged dramatically, every friend you have on social media is either sharing the virus, and toilet paper and twinkies are being hoarded.

The key is to find what part of the current event or story best correlates with your product and service. Once you find this, simply add your spin so it relates specifically to your persona and now you have the potential to reach a much larger audience because it’s been associated with the virus.

Coronavirus, Charmin toilet paper, and Twitter

Charmin is a good example of a product that feels kind of “blah” to talk about in the day to day but below you’ll see they used newsjacking and created something interesting and shareable.

It’s a marketing concept called newsjacking.

Charmin really showed up last year during the Oscars when they began marketing “potty” humor via social media. Take this Tweet, for example:

How many people do you know who have walked out with toilet paper hanging off their foot, unknowingly?

This Charmin tweet is funny, simple, relatable, and doesn’t feel too promotional. With the need for toilet paper nowadays, Charmin could really capitalize on the Coronavirus.

Which current events to newsjack

Finding a breaking news story or current event should be the easier part.

It’s choosing the right event to run with that will click with your readers, that is tricky.

The other tricky part is timing. Most current event topics have a certain shelf life, so you need to strike while the iron is hot to capture the most attention from your newsjacking efforts.

Try asking a few questions:

  1. Can I relate this to my specific product/service?
  2. How would this benefit the reader?
  3. Is the story or event viral/popular?

You won’t need to have an article ready exactly when the story breaks. Instead, you can wait a little while till you have all the information to write a compelling article that relates to the post you’re writing.

You really want to make sure you do your due diligence on whatever news story you pounce on. Making sure you have the correct information is a must in order to build that trust with your audience.

People sometimes appreciate a detailed recap of what happened more because it’s difficult to trust some websites that publish false information just to get their article out first. Take your time and really write something that’ll stimulate the readers’ interest.

There are a lot of ways to get creative with newsjacking but don’t get stuck on a certain story. Really try to think outside the box and expand your creativity by writing out a few stories that you could implement in your business. There are so many ways to implement news into your twitter post, blog or instagram.

Now go and jack some news.