Newsjacking allows you to piggyback a viral news story for massive engagement. Author and marketer David Meerman Scott coined the newsjacking term. He explains it as “the process of leveraging trending news to elevate your brand’s message.” This practice also gives your offer credibility when done properly. So just when do you high-jack newsworthy events and headlines to improve your email marketing?
How to Newsjack
The website NewsJacking.com has clearly identified the perfect place in the life of a news story to attract the most attention to your business. Shortly after a story breaks, write and send a broadcast email to your subscribers. Add words and phrases relevant to the story in your email subject line to create relevance.
Perhaps there is breaking news about a wide-spread power outage during one of the biggest sporting events of the year.
You sell cookies. How in the world can you piggyback this seemingly unrelated story to create exposure to your yummy tasting cookies?
When a massive power outage happened in the middle of the 2013 Superbowl, the Oreo cookie company acted quickly. Their message was simple … but extremely effective. They posted a 2 sentence, 4-word tweet on Twitter that received over 15,880 retweets and more than 6,200 favorites. What was the message?
“Power out? No problem. You can still dunk.” followed by a link to the Oreo website, and a dimly lit picture of an Oreo cookie.
The company is now seen as a newsjacking leader. A simple picture and Tweet (the message was not really that creative when you think about it) resulted in over 20,000 actions taken by Twitter users.
The cost of the Tweet? Nothing, zero, zip, zilch, nada.
That is the incredible power of newsjacking, and you can use it in your email campaigns as well as on social media. Oreo could have sent a broadcast email to all of their subscribers with the following subject line, “Missing the Big Game? Take an Oreo Break”.
You could try “While the Game is Blacked Out, Accept This Free Gift”, and offer a free trial subscription, discounted offer or coupon for a later purchase. The key is to quickly send an email to your subscribers integrating some “late breaking” news item into your marketing message.
A celebrity losing a lot of weight is perfect for your health or wellness product. It doesn’t matter if that celebrity actually used your product or not. You can point to the similarities between that news event and what you have to offer. In your email, add a link to your social media accounts and reward a “share” or a “like” with some incentive.
This harnesses the respect and trust your captive email audience has for you, possibly creating a viral social media situation that can expand your brand presence and reach while your competitors sit on the sidelines.