The date was February 4, 2013. The Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers were going head to head in Super Bowl XLVII. Suddenly, in the third quarter, there was a power outage. For thirty-four minutes, spectators across the globe were held captive by this unprecedented technical difficulty. Then, cookie brand Oreo tweeted “Power out? No Problem, you can still dunk in the dark” with a starkly lit image of an Oreo. Even if you didn’t watch the Super Bowl, chances are you heard about this story, as it was covered by hundreds of major media outlets. Today’s Paper Napkin Wisdom guest and marketing maven, Dave Meerman Scott, has pioneered this concept, known as newsjacking. According to Dave, newsjacking is the art and science of injecting your messages into a breaking news story. “To grow your business, align your marketing to the news of the day. Timing is key,” he remarks, “Very few companies are agile enough to do real time marketing.”
For many marketing departments, their marketing is very proactive. While this is great from an operations standpoint, Dave recommends that priorities are shifted to include time and space for reaction to relevant news articles. “You’re planning on your timetable and not the time table that’s most important to your marketplace. People don’t care about your products and services, but they may care about the story you align yourself with,” he says. Dave shared a few examples of a few of the ways people have successfully executed on this strategy.
Example 1: Trent Silver is a 22-year-old entrepreneur who founded Cash For Purses, a company that purchases used, high end handbags, fixes them and resales them to consignment shops. When he saw the breaking news story that Lindsay Lohan was having money troubles, he wrote a blog post offering to purchase her handbags. He then sent this blog to a few editors. The response was astounding: he was featured in TMZ, Radar Online, Huffington Post and more. Additionally, this generated over 8000 inquiries and a quarter of a million dollars in revenue.
Example 2: Mitch Jackson is a senior partner at Jackson & Wilson Law Firm, a legal practice in California. He blogs about the legal ramifications of breaking news stories (Charlie Sheen’s HIV announcement, Bill Cosby’s case and more). This has led to journalists quoting him and using him as a source in for their stories. He’s generated multimillion dollar settlements from this alone.
Example 3: Eloqua CEO Joe Payne realized that his competitor, Market to Lead, had been acquired by Oracle. When he did a web search, the Oracle website had very limited details surrounding this story. He decided to write a blog post detailing the acquisition and what it meant for the industry. Within a day, he was approached and quoted by PC World, Information World and more. Coincidentally enough, Eloqua was purchased by Oracle a little while later. “It was the $16m blog post,” laughs Dave.
For businesses who are looking to share similar success, Dave suggests the following:
What newsjacking stories have you noticed lately? Have you tried this concept yourself? Tweet us with your answers @Wisenapkin