Today the Internet connects more than two billion people. We search. We share. We watch awesome YouTube videos. News breaks daily and the speed of social media allows us to start talking about stories before they reach TV stations and newspapers.

With the speed of Newsjacking, the time limit for topical reporting unclear. When is it too soon, too much, or too old? Here’s a look at how it happens and why we do it.

Newsjacking: A Matter of Hours

shutterstock_123127297I immediately go to twitter or other Internet communities when there’s a story I’m interested in, but in the days and weeks that follow, certain stories take on characteristics native to newsjacking. There is a before, during and after effect as we digest the details and form the story. We see these stories linger in conversation or rise in debate weeks later.

When a story breaks there is silent pandemonium where we gather information and regurgitate opinion, so in order to produce something of value while jacking news, a strategy and vision of the audience are key elements. Your news must have people ready to talk about it right away.

Ask yourself: does our content add value to the news story? Does it help our audience? Jumping on news for the sake of news can land you in hot water and bring your brand into the spotlight in a bad way.

Hopping on Trending Topics

shutterstock_72348778What makes stories trend? It’s something we all contribute to, like it or not, because it’s the conversations on social media and around the water cooler that keep these topics going.

I am on three major social networks where I often find the same stories for weeks at time through the power of a hashtag. We can find news about anything and everything, but  we love to talk about everything weird or scandalous – all the better if it’s both. It’s not like we are facing a shortage of news: there is a generational shift in the workforce, rising global turmoil, and of course Miley Cyrus.

I like that I can find news anytime I want, and I can always count on four million results from Google. There are many tools that can help you piggyback off of a trending topic. You can visit Google Trends and Google News or visit sites like Topsy or Isoosi.

Then it Starts To Get Stale

These are the stories that get posted as the news starts to grow cold. The most recent example is Apple’s debut of the new Ios7 update for the famed Apple iPhone. There was a tremendous reaction from iPhone lovers – and haters – but the buzz is starting to die down.

Another example was our recent obsession with the royal baby. People from all over the world shared this news, from posts on social media, magazine spreads, and the race to release the first pictures of King George. This story was anticipated and breaking at the time, but isn’t as widely reported today.

Because it becomes more difficult to provide a fresh spin or alter the message, the window is starting to close on the iOS7 release and has almost closed on the royal baby. Marketers trying to create content about William and Kate are about two months late.

Evergreen: Where You’re Always Safe

These stories can be published on any time frame and stay relevant for months – if not years. One subject forcing itself in this category is national security. One debate we all watch continuously is anything to do with Facebook. Earlier last year Facebook held its initial IPO shaking everyone from Silicon Valley to Wall Street.

While that is an example of Facebook news, there’s plenty of evergreen content created daily: How to make the most of Sponsored Stories, How to create catchy Facebook content, etc. Unless Facebook follows the path of MySpace, marketers will be receptive to tips and tricks of the trade.


If you’re a blogger who sticks to Evergreen content, dip your toe into topical content and work your way into the newsjacking world.

Keep an eye out for stories to come and go and others that are here to stay. Following the examples of others can help you learn from their mistakes so you don’t make them yourself.