Hijack the news for blog post ideas

Hijack the News to Boost Your Blog Traffic

Do you rush to your Google Analytics at the stroke of midnight to check your traffic for that day? You aren’t alone.

But often your visit turns into disappointment when you learn that your blog didn’t move the needle. You wonder what you can do to increase traffic to your site.

Hijack the News

I spent many years as a PR person before becoming a blogger and social media consultant. Most clients wanted “ink.” That was the generic term for they wanted more media hits. More mentions of their products and services and more good news about the corporation. It’s called “reputation management.”

Nowadays, smart publicists are getting top placements by “hijacking” the news. A friend and colleague has a law firm as a client that specializes in labor law. The minute she spots an announcement about a new labor regulation she hijacks the news by pitching her client to reporters covering the story.

So what’s this got to do with your blog? Sometimes we bury our noses in our belly buttons, narrowly focusing the topics we always write about. But my blogging teacher, Bea Fields, contended there wasn’t a story in the news that we couldn’t somehow relate to our particular niche and turn into a blog.

Michael Jackson had unfortunately died around that time. So she asked each of us to write a blog post about him. I don’t follow popular music, so I was stuck trying to figure out how I could match one of the greatest pop singers of all time to the topic of business writing.

The Great Communicator

Then I thought, “Wait a second. Michael Jackson wasn’t only a great singer and entertainer, he was also also a great communicator. Isn’t that what I’m doing when I’m writing a blog or website or any piece of content?” The resulting post, Michael Jackson and Communicating Through the Language of Music described his uncanny ability to communicate through his songs, lyrics and his love for his fans.

Hijack the news to boost your blog trafficWhat I did was hijack the news, but in a good way, because I was writing about a great entertainer. When publicists ride the coattails of today’s news they are creating an opportunity to attract more potential clients to visit their company websites and possibly buy their products or services.

So if you write about a hot topic and link it to your niche, there is the possibility that people searching for news about the topic will stop by your blog and like what they read. You’re also giving your subscribers a new take on that news. What could be bad about that?

I have to confess I haven’t been practicing what I’m preaching lately. Buried in my belly button. But what made me think of this topic was the visit last weekend of the British royals – Princes William and Harry – who were in Memphis for the wedding of a friend. Their visit generated tons of stories in print, on TV and on social media.

They love barbecue and ate at Charlie Vergos’ Rendezvous one of Memphis’s most famous barbecue restaurants. Suppose you sell promotional products. You could write about how a restaurant owner could capitalize on celebrity visits by giving away a T-shirt emblazoned with a favorite recipe from the restaurant. If you visit the Rendezvous’ website you see they indeed sell their own T-shirt.

One last example: if you write about food the visit of the Royals would have been a great time to blog about your own favorite barbecue recipe.

Who knows, you might have attracted a lot of barbecue lovers to your site.

Leave a Reply

Comments

  1. Believe me I have never checked Google Analytics at midnight. If you get StatCounter you can get an up to the minute update 24/7.

    Agree with you in principle that we can hijack news to boost traffic. But most bloggers do it the wrong way. Was, for instance, so tedious to notice all the posts about Steve Jobs, when he passed away on all kinds of blogs. And none of them had even met Jobs. You have to pick stories that are of relevance to what your blog is all about. If not, it’s obvious what you are doing and can actually work against you.

    • Catarina — I agree, your posts need to be relevant to your blog. I understand what you’re saying about Steve Jobs. However, I did publish a post when he died. But it was a tribute to his contributions to technology. I didn’t get any comments and didn’t expect any. It was just something I felt I had to do.

  2. I agree with what you write, and would be well-served to do more of the same. What irks me sometimes though are the sites that will use current headlines as click bait, but upon clicking through, the article contains little info of real use.

    • Jeri — that’s the danger. You can’t just hijack the news without really delivering on it with content that is relevant to your subject area and relevant to your readers.

  3. I have seen this tactic used before, but I don’t use it.

    What I have done, however, is taken a look at what terms were used to send people to my site. Google is impossible to figure out but when a lot of different terms and questions are used by the masses, and Google sends them to me, I listen. That is how the second post about Google Circles was written (Part Two: the Unanswered Questions, Answered)!

    • Lorraine — of course, tracking the words that people use to find you is another smart tactic in choosing topics to write about. A lot of people still don’t understand Google Circles so I’d wager that post got a lot of traffic.

  4. What a great post, Jeannette – I am guilty of burying my nose in my belly button way to often :(You make this hijacking news business sound so easy!

    I don’t know about incorporating the news in the way you describe because often my posts are written ahead of time (sometimes weeks ahead) but It is time for me to become a better storyteller and spice up my own blogs. Thanks for the reminder 🙂

    • Diana — hijacking the news requires you to jump on it right away with a post. That may mean postponing one of your scheduled posts or just adding another post to the schedule. That wouldn’t be so bad!

  5. I love this idea and yes I do bury my nose in “my belly button” too. Way to often it would seem. When you think about it, we can always find a correlation between our niche and the news, as you did with Michael Jackson. There is always a way if we really do give it some thought. I need to put this idea on my check list when writing one of my stories.

    • Susan — I had you in mind when I mentioned the idea of publishing your own favorite barbecue recipe when the Royals were here. I’m sure you have one!

  6. Hello Jeannette..you make a fine point here..some people are really adept at this and they also use it quite often..but I think it is an advanced skill – being able to take a news item and blend it in with your content and also make your point..

    What percentage of a blog’s posts should be from news jacking, in your opinion?

    Thanks!!

    • Pragati — There isn’t a formula for how often you should hijack the news. It has to make sense for what you blog about. The key is making the connection, otherwise it will seem like spam.

  7. I have to say I really don’t spend much time checking out my Google Analytics. I totally agree with your article of linking your blog to some news story. You can take things that happen in the news and use it as an analogy that correlates with your business. I have been doing that and it works.

    • Arleen — I’m glad that you’ve found this technique useful, too. I think it really lends itself to your business, which is why I referenced promotional items in my post.

  8. I think using the news to inspire you is a great idea as long as you are not rewriting the same news new ways. It works especially well if you can pick a story that gets a real and legitimate reaction from you.

    • Debra — As a former reporter, I was very interested in the story about Jill Abramson being fired from The New York Times so I wrote a post tying it in to branding, one of my specialities. So you’re right.You can’t force it.