Scaling Up Magazine Scaling Up Magazine April 2018 - Page 9

SPRING 2018 WHEN A couple of high-profile stars— the Brad Pitts and Angelina Jolies of the world—get divorced, how does a lawyer who’s never met them or had any such famous clients leverage the news of the divorce to put him and his company front and center in top celebrity publications? According to David Meerman Scott, the answer for attorney Mitch Jackson of Laguna Hills, California, is to figure out an angle that is unique to a story about the divorce. That way, Jackson can become a resource to reporters covering the story—and potentially get quoted in it. In this case, perhaps he might provide relevant legal information, such as the way the couple’s assets would likely be split under California divorce law or the laws that would govern child custody rights and visitation. Such a media mention would raise his profile among readers who might someday need his services. The strategy proposed for Jackson is known as newsjacking. It made the short list of Oxford Dictionary 2017 Word of the Year—a testament to the influence of Scaleup Summit speaker and sales and marketing strategist David Meerman Scott, who popularized the term in his 2011 book Newsjacking: How to Inject Your Ideas into a Breaking News Story and Generate Tons of Media Coverage. Scott is the author or co-author of ten books, including The New Rules of Marketing & PR, an international bestseller now in its sixth edition, with more than 375,000 copies sold in English and available in 29. languages, from Albanian to Vietnamese. Now commonly found in the toolbox of many marketers, newsjacking can be used by businesses across the board to gain greater exposure and business for their companies. So what exactly is it, and how can you put it to work for your company? As defined by Scott—and now the Oxford English Dictionary—newsjacking is the practice of taking advantage of current events or news stories in DAVID MEERMAN SCOTT 9 "NOW COMMONLY FOUND IN THE TOOLBOX OF MANY MARKETERS, NEWSJACKING CAN BE USED BY BUSINESSES ACROSS THE BOARD TO GAIN GREATER EXPOSURE AND BUSINESS FOR THEIR COMPANIES." such a way as to promote or advertise one's own product or brand. Here’s an excerpt from the Oxford listing: In the space of a few short years, newsjacking has gone from an experimental technique to a staple in every social[-]media-savvy marketing department’s arsenal. Brands from across industry sectors fully embraced the strategy this year [2017], increasingly taking advantage of current events to not only push their brand into the public consciousness, but to align themselves with certain ethical or moral positions. Scott has published a graphic entitled “Life of a News Story” that illustrates newsjacking. Resembling a standard bell curve, it shows how interest in a news story accelerates fairly early in the cycle before quickly peaking and then becoming “old news” that is past its prime. The point at which the graph depicts “journalists scramble for additional information” is where the opportunity for newsjacking arises. As Scott sees it, journalists sometimes need help in formulating that all-important “second paragraph” of the news story, where they give a unique spin that differentiates their story from the hundreds of other articles that may be written about that very same topic. If you approach the newsjacking angle creatively and systematically, says Scott, your social media post could be the one that breaks through the clutter to viral dissemination and much greater exposure for your firm. Those hoping to score with a newsjacking item may have to spend months or even years perfecting various pitches before a particular one takes holds in the media. “It’s a combination of luck and perseverance,” says Scott, who compares the process to what an investor goes through to find a winning start-up or what a production studio goes through to hit on a commercially successful movie. The key to success, in Scott’s view, is to select a nich e topic in which you have a particular expertise that most others do not have. He cites the example of a high-end hair studio specializing in formal styles that is able to newsjack Oscar coverage with critiques of celebrity hairdos. The best way to gain traction, advises Scott, is to think carefully about keywords—those particular words or phrases that serve to summarize the contents of a web page. If a reporter is searching for content and happens to type search terms that are contained in your article or blog post, he or she may just happen upon your news and choose to incorporate aspects of it into a larger story. In the blink of an eye, your idea A part DRY can IT'S change ONLY from being of a blog post seen by your company’s small community PIECE OF BREAD of perhaps a few thousand to a key element of national or international news headlines. YET TO SOME IT If you run a local business—like a MEANS SO for MUCH. landscaping company, example—you will want to focus your efforts locally, which is not only easier to accomplish but better achieves your end goal of generating new business. Consumer product companies that market to everyone, on the other hand, should feel free to cast a bigger net and try for more widespread coverage, Scott advises. In this day and age, practically every business should have an integrated social media strategy, where it is leveraging