Newsjacking with David Meerman Scott
Day 1 of South by South West Interactive 2012 welcomed its attendees with the expected long registration lines with an added bonus of torrential downpours and unusually cold weather in Austin. However, because of a great advice from a colleague of mine, Wayne Kurtzman, I arrived a day earlier and avoided all this registration madness and instead caught a session with David Meerman Scott who was there to promote his ebook on Newsjacking: How to Inject your Ideas into a Breaking News Story and Generate Tons of Media Coverage
David is a seasoned presenter who knows how to tell great stories. In fact his entire presentation was based on examples that drove home his overall message of the importance of listening and reacting to news in real time.
Why it’s so important to listen in real time?
In case you have not noticed the news cycle has changed and a life a news story has shrunk dramatically. By the time you get to the office at 9 am a story that broke right after you left the office the night before might be old news and in case of a business it might be too late for you to steer your way out of a brand reputation crisis.
David shared multiple examples of newsjacking, but the one that resonated most with me was a B2B example of Eloqua, a marketing automation company, that took advantage of a scarcity of information following an acquisition of one of their key competitors, Market2Lead, by the technology giant Oracle. The news release put out by Oracle included a carefully scripted, short paragraph that announced the acquisition, but did not provide any context behind it.
Joe Payne, Eloqua’s CEO saw the announcement that Oracle made at the end of the day and knowing that online you are what you publish he quickly realized the opportunity to shape the conversation Eloqua-way. He ended up writing a blog post titled “Oracle Joins the Party” on Eloqua’s corporate blog “explaining” what this acquisition meant to the marketplace. Remember, Joe works for Eloqua so the positioning of the blog post reflected that
Since Oracle did not provide any additional context behind the acquisition other than a short press release, the media turned to other sources to find relevant information about the acquisition. Yes, you guessed right. Joe’s blog was the piece of content journalists turned to for additional info. resulting in multiple mentions in key news media that covered the acquisition such a Bloomberg Businessweek, PB World, InfoWorld who quoted the CEO of a competitive company when explaining the news and sent traffic to Eloqua’s branded corporate blog. Not the type of coverage Oracle expected, right?
What did Oracle miss? Firstly they were not monitoring online chatter and had no idea that Eloqua posted the blog and secondly and most importantly they did not provide relevant context necessary for journalists to cover the story in a way Oracle expected them to cover.
What to do to avoid being newsjacked?
So what do you do to avoid being newsjacked the same way Oracle has been. David listed a series of tactics to help companies quickly discover opportunities and threats coming from social channels. These steps included
- Robust REAL TIME monitoring program
- Monitoring keywords, phrases & trending word clouds
- Tracking journalists & media outlets
- Following Twitter hashtags
- Engagement guidelines that make it clear how to handle various brand reputation management situations that come up in a course of a real time dialog. This is key for being able to respond to issues quickly and take advantage of a short news cycle to get your brand’s story referenced in news. Trust me, you don’t want to wake up your legal and compliance department every time you engage in real-time conversation may it be with journalist or a customer.
- Processes in place to enable corporations to develop a “real time mindset” in a sustainable way. That includes ensuring quick discovery and response to brand mentions including maintaining channels to allow for real time online publishing may it be in a form of a blog post on your corporate blog or a tweet coming from your branded twitter channel.
What do you think? What else do companies need to develop a “real time mindset” to avoid being newsjacked? Have you been newsjacked?