Newsjacking: Turn Today’s News Into Tomorrow’s Sales Leads
Newsjacking is a tested technique for writing blog posts, whether it is highly specific, such as reviewing the latest technology release from Apple, or more vague, following seasonal themes such as back to school or holidays.
You can put that same technique to work when creating downloadable assets.
First, let’s define newsjacking.
Our partner, HubSpot, says this: Newsjacking refers to the practice of capitalizing on the popularity of a news story to amplify your sales and marketing success.
Newsjacking requires being constantly on the lookout for trending topics AND ready to react quickly. In order to capitalize on a newsjacking opportunity, you need to create your related content while the topic is still on the upward climb.
While this blog post from Spokal gives examples of newsjacking done right (and done very wrong), it focuses primarily on the truly split-second decisions made to focus on breaking news in social media.
If you are using newsjacking to create downloadable assets that generate leads, you have a little more time to research, and to seek another opinion to avoid some of the more cringeworthy attempts seen there.
How To Use Newsjacking for Lead Generating Assets.
1. Respond quickly, but completely.
B2B inbound marketing is the perfect environment for putting newsjacking to work to generate leads online through downloadable assets. If your industry is among those experiencing rapid, or regular, change in technology or regulations, newsjacking becomes a natural fit.
When you know an announcement is coming regarding regulation changes or new technology, be prepared to do your research quickly and respond with useful information and content when the news breaks. If you have some advance notice, start your work before the big announcement. Outline a format for the content you plan to create—an ebook or slide presentation for something information or image heavy, a template to address changes in the way a process is approached, or a comparison cheat sheet to outline the differences between existing technology and the new version.
If you have a plan in mind in advance, the research and creation process will go more quickly.
While it is essential to work quickly and get the information out there as soon as possible, you must also ensure it is complete and accurate. Being first won’t help in the long run if your information is wrong. Take the time to proofread carefully, or to ask another trusted team member to do so, before publishing your newsjacking asset.
2. Focus on what your customers need to know.
Not all news is worth jacking. While consumer brands, especially those for things like fast food or alcohol (or Oreos, as in the blog posts linked above), can take advantage of pop culture news, B2B brands need to stay focused on the needs of prospects, leads and customers. Don’t force newsjacking.
In some industries, however, there may be plenty of news and changes that do impact customers. In those industries, being quick to react with complete information can set you ahead of the crowd.
Healthcare, for example, faces frequent changes to regulations meant to improve outcomes, which often require additional recordkeeping. If you are a healthcare IT marketer, be prepared to address each change in recordkeeping with content that specifically addresses how your product solves the problem or can be adapted.
Healthcare marketers also will want to stay abreast of news regarding issues such as changes to industry regulations and the Affordable Care Act, as these can directly impact how the rest of the industry reacts.
Don’t just repeat what is in the news. Take your content deeper into the specifics of how the news interacts with your customers and the ways in which they use your product or service.
3. Set it up for lead generation.
If the purpose behind your newsjacking asset is to generate leads—and it should be—then you need to have the structure in place to convert visitors to leads. That means gating the asset behind a landing page that captures at least basic lead information and kicks off a lead nurturing workflow, which could be short (just one or two emails offering a consultation) or flow through the full sales funnel from awareness level offers to lead qualification and sales enablement.
Without the landing page to capture leads and a nurturing workflow to encourage deeper engagement, your piece may still enhance brand awareness, but you’ll miss out on true growth. (See a full example of an inbound campaign—from asset to landing page, blogs, social media, and nurturing emails—in Creating A Winning Inbound Program.)
4. Promote, promote, promote.
Once the new content is ready to go, the work of letting your target audience know about it begins. If your inbound marketing strategy is already well established, it is just a matter of bringing this new asset into what you are already doing: blog posts, social media updates (paid and organic), and outbound emails.
Put your public relations team on the job, too, contacting industry media to let them know you have a spokesperson ready to discuss the topic, approaching influential bloggers, and linking to the asset in press releases. You could even repackage the information as a contributed article from your CEO or other executive and offer it to vertical media sources who may welcome in-depth, ready to run copy about a hot topic.
Newsjacking may not be something you do often, and it doesn’t negate the need for an advance plan for your inbound marketing campaigns, but if you keep your eyes and your mind open to opportunities, you may find the perfect chance to be the first to give your readers the content they need about the hottest topic in the industry.
Looking for more ideas to boost your online lead generation? Download 30 Hot Lead Generation Tips, Trick & Ideas to spark your creativity and marketing strategy.