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What is Newsjacking?

What is Newsjacking?

Newsjacking is the process of a company integrating their brand into breaking news. However, the process is actually started as the news starts to ‘break’ which is before journalists, and the public have a ton of information on the story. Essentially, a company rides along with the wave of publicity that breaking stories will receive once the stories populate the papers, internet, and public discussions.

Examples of Newsjacking

Oakley Sunglasses

A wonderful example of newsjacking was done by Oakley, which sells high end sunglasses. The company is known for uniqueness, hip hop music in their stores, and followers that will defend the glasses like a coffee drinking hipster defends their MacBook Air. When over thirty Chilean miners were being rescued from their 69 stay underground, Oakley had already masterminded their plan to jack the news. When the miners emerged, they were all wearing Oakley’s Radar sunglasses.

Newsjacking has been known to give free advertising to companies. This advertising is potentially worth millions of dollars, if they were to pay for the promotions instead of “simply” jacking the news.

Remember, newsjacking is the process of becoming part of the news before it’s mainstream. A great way to do this, besides giving out sunglasses, is to be the information provider of obscure news. Reporters are constantly searching for unique information that can sky rocket their article(s) to the top trends on Twitter, Google’s first page and more.

Here’s the story of how Joe Payne, CEO of Eloqua, did exactly that.

Joe Payne, CEO of Eloqua

Oracle, an established software/hardware development company, had announced that they had acquired Market2Lead. Mark2Lead was one of Oracle’s competitors, but Oracle’s official announcement about the acquisition was not very informative and it was hidden within their website. Simply put, reporters were in need of further information.

Joe Payne seized this opportunity, spending less than one hour on a blog post about the matter. Providing additional information, and a large amount of commentary / opinion, he was able to give the reporters exactly what they needed. He claims that one article brought him in over one million dollars worth of business. Here’s his blog post.

Those examples are quite significant, but newsjacking can be done on a smaller level as well. Let’s remember that Joe Payne successfully jacked the news with the same information that all those desperate reporters had as well. As a small time blogger, you too can jack the news. For example, certain individuals were able to gain tons of publicity by covering the lawsuit between the software companies, XenForo and vBulletin.


Steps of Newsjacking (How to Jack the News)

  1. Discover a possible news story to jack. This news story should not be well documented, globally publicized, or mentioned in multiple places. The story should relate to your own product in some way or another.
  2. Respond quickly, writing a blog post as efficiently as possible. Publish the blog post and send the link around immediately.
  3. Consider sending your blog post to established reporters, media alert systems (click for example), and tweet about it.
  4. Do everything you can to get your blog post publicized, linked to, and discussed.

These steps are significant, but are hard to execute. With the hype about newsjacking, you are going to have competitors. However, if you utilize specific niches, you may be able to jack the news quite easily.

How to find a news story to ‘jack’

If you are lost within the mainstream news stories, you need to get out of what is already being discussed. To find the new articles, I highly recommend utilizing Twitter. You should check out the trending #hashtags, especially in obscure locations. In many cases, there are events being reported by regular humans before there are any stories about the events on blogs, mainstream news sites, or other media based destinations.

Remember, the story should relate to your website’s niche. Let’s pretend you manage a website about technology. What is more relevant? Jacking the news with a blog post about a new start up being purchased by Google, or a restaurant deciding to ban chicken from their menu?


A Successful Newsjack (Timeline)

Read the following timeline of a successful newsjack, or just check out this image.

  1. News starts to break.
  2. You ‘jack the news’.
  3. Journalists attempt to gain information for their own articles.
  4. Journalists turn to you / your content for information.
  5. News is discussed all around the web, and offline as well.
  6. The news peaks, bringing you a high amount of backlinks, traffic and free publicity.
  7. The news starts to become irrelevant.
  8. The news cycle is done, and you start working on finding another story to jack.


Why is Newsjacking important?

Well besides giving you free promotion, powerful backlinks, and general hype, it is also a great way to improve your ability to write about relevant events going on around the world. Furthermore, it can open you up to new ventures at other established blogs, websites and writing positions.

Newsjacking was brought to mainstream attention, with the book by David Meerman Scott. David had already produced one bestselling book about marketing, and went on to produce his second book ‘How to Newsjack Your Way Into The Media‘. This book brought attention to jacking the news, how to do it, and why it is a tactic every business owner should master.



Written by Will Passmore

Will Passmore is a freelance writer, entrepreneur and a 19 year old guy heading to college in the Fall. He currently works for multiple websites, creating content, and also has a few projects of his own. His latest endeavor is creating a Minecraft server, and a supporting website.