Over at the Hubspot Blog, Annum Hussain posted a couple of examples of how various companies newsjacked the Superbowl power-outage in an attempt to sneak in a little free viral advertising.
And yes, some of the marketing pieces did go, well, viral, but quite a few in Hussain’s case-study didn’t.
Lesson #1: you simply cannot predict if something is or isn’t going to go viral.
But the real lesson of those examples is a totally different one:
Lesson #2: These companies didn’t really ‘newsjack’ the event at all!
Some on purpose, some probably not.
Here’s what’s going on:
Most companies are confused about what ‘newsjacking’ really is.
Let’s take the SEOMoz contribution, here’s their tweet:
it’s a funny comment, and has the potential to get quite a bit of ‘retweeting’ (i.e: engagement) action.
Here’s why this is NOT newsjacking (to SEOMoz’s credit: they made it clear afterwards that they did NOT intend to newsjack this, but it was only a ‘fun’ comment):
the whole purpose of newsjacking is to become part of the core conversation, rather than an amusing side-note.
When you newsjack properly, you become a ‘go-to’ source of information, you provide analysis of the main story, or background information that others don’t have.
One of the biggest reasons why you want to do ‘proper’ newsjacking as opposed to hoping for some viral marketing magic is this:
when you become part of the story, someone who provides valuable insights and background information, YOUR expert status grows, and whatever value that’s created as part of the story is transferred to YOU.
Unlike with your typical ‘viral’ pieces of content (like those lovely ‘memes’), where the value, and the focus is on the viral piece itself, and NOT you, the creator.
So, what does that mean for you?
Make sure you understand what the difference is between ‘yet another viral marketing piece’ and true newsjacking, and that your objective is (at least most of the time) to transfer the focus and value to YOU, the creator, as opposed to having the viral piece take centre-stage.
What’s your experience using viral marketing and newsjacking? Share below!
PS: if you think newsjacking is something you’d like to try out, you should check out David Meerman Scott’s Newjacking, plus the interview I did with him a few weeks ago (I’ll dig out the link shortly)