bear of bad news

Okay, soooo I was on Facebook today and got sucked into reading an article posted on Entrepreneur.com related to newsjacking. What is newsjacking? In short, it’s where you take a relevant story and talk about it on your blog, website, podcast, or whatever. You know, get more people to see you on social media. Like anything that you may use to garner attention, it has good points and bad points.

The Pros of Newsjacking

Pro #1 – It’s not new. Seriously. Opinion pieces have always existed. The Internet is just one more place to mouth off. So, this isn’t a trend. It’s just something that, for some reason, someone thought it should be an article. Must be a slow news day. And look, I am using their method except I did not link to the outside source. It’s not hard to find. The article isn’t poorly written…I just don’t understand why something we’ve always done needs to be covered.

Pro #2 – It can get your regular audience to your site. Let’s face it. Sometimes our regular readers don’t want to read the same ole’ shit day in and day out. If you don’t give people what they want to read (key that is also a con), they may not come back. They may not share. They may unsubscribe.

Pro #3 – You get the opportunity to write something amazing and go viral. Yesterday, I was bopping around on Twitter. Yeah, big surprise, huh…and of course my timeline is full of writers sending out their links on the Bill Cosby mistrial (news flash: the jury considered what the judge allowed them to consider and applied the law as instructed – they couldn’t come to a conclusion. They did not do anything wrong.) and other recent events. If you’re going to newsjack, you have the opportunity to #1 – link to a really good site in the hopes of increasing your SERP and maybe even reaching out to the original reporter / site and say “Hey I’m using your article as a source” and hopefully scoring a reply or a retweet and #2 – showcase your reasoning and writing ability (please, for the love of pancakes have the ability to string together a paragraph that makes your readers feel like they haven’t wasted their limited time on this planet)…and maybe some well placed wit. Any opinion that you have should be backed by facts and sound reasoning. Not just because you feel like it or because you don’t like the way X works. By the way, this is the only type of “writing for exposure” that you should do…on your own blog….because as one of my best friends loves to say, people die from exposure.

Pro #4 – It is one less time that you have to figure out what in the fuck you’re going to post. I write for a living. Writing for other people is easy. Yet, by the time I’m done, I’m tired and I don’t always feel like creating more content…and I damn sure won’t farm it out. So, newsjacking provides a way for you to have some content (like this post which, again, is an example of newsjacking).

Cons of Newsjacking

Con #1 – You run the risk of alienating your audience particularly if you’re the face of a business. Most of my friends know that when it comes to stupidity in politics, I am an equal opportunity hater. I’m fairly liberal considering my state, but even my liberal friends think I am pretty conservative. I consider myself a moderate. One thing you’ll notice if you look me up online is that practically none of my pieces are subversive when it comes to politics. There are one or two related to court decisions and such, but they are backed by reason. I don’t call any names. I write like an adult…because that’s what I am. Getting political is bad for business. You run the risk of alienating your audience as well as turning off potential clients. So, if you’re going to newsjack…make reason and logic your friends. Keep the name calling to zero. I wasn’t crazy about Obama, but I never named called. I criticized policies. I don’t particularly like Trump. I don’t name call. I criticize his policies. With that being said, I don’t do it in a space such as this where practically anyone can find it. People hire other people because they like them and want to do business with them…they feel a connection. It’s hard to feel connected if you’re acting like a jackass instead of using logic.

Con #2 – You could write something that pisses people off and you could go viral.  Going viral isn’t always a good thing. Do you wanna be made into a meme? Because that’s how you get made into a meme. Yeah, I know…freedom of speech. Blah, blah, blah. Keep in mind that freedom of speech has limitations including, but not limited to, facing legal ramifications if you’re spreading lies…and don’t try to hide behind some sort of legal loophole. I know they exist…but the likelihood that an average person will properly hide behind one is pretty much zero. Seems like a good way to lose business or to be ran out of business.

Con #3 – Dated content.  Evergreen content is your friend. You can use it for other things. Dated content? Not so much. Cosby’s mistrial isn’t going to give you extra content. Writing about newsjacking? I could rewrite this. I could podcast about it. I could video it. I could take each point and make it its own post.

If you’re gonna newsjack, pay close attention to what you are doing and do it right. Don’t open yourself up to the potential loss of business.

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