The FBT Changes - A Great NewsJacking Opportunity Missed

Posted by Ken Semple

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Jump on a popular news story to get traffic to your website. This is newsjackingOn Friday I was reminded how effective newsjacking can be to your inbound marketing when I received an email newsletter from an Accountant. This email newsletter contained an article fragment and a link to the article on their website about Kevin Rudd’s FBT bombshell.

I run a small business which owns a couple of cars and I thought “great, this will tell me how much these changes are going to cost me”. I clicked through to the article and was disappointed when I didn’t learn any more than I already knew from the news reports about these Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) changes.

I saw this as a missed opportunity by this accountant. A missed opportunity to attract a surge of traffic from people enthusiastic to know more about this issue and how it affects them.

Done properly, this is called newsjacking. I’ll explain what newsjacking is and then go into detail about this missed opportunity.

So what is newsjacking?

Newsjacking is when you write content which capitalises on the popularity of a news story to significantly increase the traffic you get to that content.

Newsjacking works best when you jump onto a story which directly affects your industry and is a hot topic in the mainstream media. When you jump onto a story which doesn’t relate to what you do, you’ll get the traffic, but you won’t get the conversions and it’s the conversions we’re after.

Act quickly

News stories come and go quickly and you need to act quickly to get the traffic. If you’re the first person to write the story that builds on the news story, and tells people what they really want to hear and not just the hype, you will get the traffic, and the conversions.

As can be seen from the image below, you need to get onto the story whilst it’s on the rise and people are searching for information and answers. Often you only have a day or two to put your article together and get it published.

The life of a news story is short. To newsjack successfully you need to publish while the story is still on the rise

Define a conversion path

Telling the story alone will get you the traffic, although it’s unlikely you’ll get the conversions you need to make the effort pay off.

You need to define a conversion path to encourage people to take the next step after they read your article. Your main story needs to build on the basic news story although it shouldn’t give everything away.

Provide another document or tool, like a calculator, which requires people to provide their contact details to get. The barriers come down when people are desperate for the information you have and, those who wouldn’t normally convert, fill out your form.

Now back to the opportunity missed

Now back to the FBT story. When I clicked through on the email, I expected answers. All I got was about 200 words telling me what I’d been hearing on the news all week.

Some of our vehicles have the FBT is calculated using statutory method and others use the logbook method. I wanted to know things like:

  • How much will this cost us?
  • Show me some examples or give me a calculator
  • What should we do to reduce this cost?
  • We’re about to replace a vehicle, should we change our purchasing strategy?

Plenty of other small business owners are thinking the same thing at the same time and they’re only going to be looking for answers while the story’s hot.

With all these people telling the same story, basically the news broadcast, how do you stand out and get a return by newsjacking the story? You do that by taking it to the next level, provide answers to the key questions people have. Questions like the ones I had on this issue.

When you’re the one providing the answers, people will share, talk about and link to your content. That gets you a better rank on Google, and gets you the traffic. Remember to include a conversion path to convert that surge in traffic into new leads for your business.

Key takeaway

It’s not often that something earth shattering and newsworthy happens in most industries. When they do, you need to be ready to jump on them to drive traffic to your website, improve your search ranking and generate new leads. This is newsjacking.


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Topics: Online Marketing, Professional Services Marketing, Accounting Marketing

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