How to Newsjack Events to Build Your Visibility

Right now, as I write this post, there is a battle going on over ebook pricing between and Hachette books. It’s a bit David and Goliath in scope considering the size of Amazon. 

If you owned an independent bookstore, how could you use the Amazon/Hachette dispute to your advantage?

Many Hachette authors are jumping into the fray, denouncing Amazon for its bullying tactics, the most notable being Stephen Colbert’s rant on his show.

Spurred by a comment from my business coach, I posted a question about the dispute on my Google+ profile…


If you click on the comment icon, you can see which way most people are leaning on the debate.

But that’s not where I want to go with this right now. The conversation with Penny Sansevieri in the comments, got me to thinking about how often businesses don’t take advantage of relevant current events to get more visibility.

You can see by our comments that we were wondering why so few book retailers were jumping on board to let their customers know where they could buy the latest released from Stephen Colbert and J.K. Rowling. 

This is the perfect time and opportunity to newsjack the current event.  As far as I know, David Meerman Scott coined the term “Newsjacking” when he published a book of the same name in 2011.  Scott says,

Enter newsjacking: the process by which you inject your ideas or angles into breaking news, in real-time, in order to generate media coverage for yourself or your business. It creates a level playing field—literally anyone can newsjack—but, that new level favors players who are observant, quick to react, and skilled at communicating. It’s a powerful tool that can be used to throw an opponent or simply draft off the news momentum to further your own ends.

If you owned an independent bookstore, how could you use the Amazon/Hachette dispute to your advantage?  

Penny Sansevieri has newsjacked the issue with her recommendations for small booksellers, Barnes & Noble, Hachette authors, and consumers, in her article on Huffington Post, How to Turn the Amazon/Hachette Battle Into a Can’t-miss Opportunity.

This is a huge visibility opportunity, especially for authors. Here’s how I’d advise one of these authors if they were my client:

  • Write a blog post about the dispute. Don’t get nasty, but let your fans know where they can get your book instead of Amazon
  • Send an email to your fans, letting them know where to get your book
  • Use the social networks! Invest in some Facebook ads to boost the visibility of your blog post. Include a call to action to read the post for details on where to get your books
  • Create a video for YouTube
  • Do a Hangout on Air to answer questions from your readers about the situation and let them know where you stand and where to get your books

Get the drift?

  • Use Pinterest and Instagram to share images of your books with info about where to find them.
  • Use Twitter to keep fans up to date on developments about the negotiations.
  • Discover what hashtag is being used in social media to tag info about the disputes and use it in your posts and status updates too.
  • Set up news alerts on Google or Feedly to stay on top of developments. Curate the best information to share with your fans. 

 Remember, if you are not an author involved in this bruhaha, substitute whatever you do and your industry, then model what I’m outlining here.

So, what will this do for you? 

I can’t make a 100% guarantee, but I will say that if you jump on a news trend that is relevant to your business and in which you have a stake, and you implement some of my suggestions, you will get more visibility.

An author may sell more books (see Penny’s example about Books A Million).

You may get contacted for interviews to share your opinion. 

Anything you do for your fans, will undoubtedly make them love your more!

You will establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry and the go-to person when controversy breaks out.

Visibility = Opportunity and you never know where it will come from. If you’re prepared to jump on the opportunities and do it tastefully and with respect and desire to engage and inform, it can only be good for your business.

What do you think? Agree or disagree with my strategy around newsjacking an event to build your visibility? I’d love to know! 

"Get Blog Updates"
Receive an update straight to your inbox every time I publish a new article. Your email address will never be shared.
Enter your Email:

Google+ Comments

Powered by Google+ Comments


  1. says

    There aren’t many entrepreneurs that follow their marketplace so closely to understand that what happens in one area of it can help their business. This is a timely reminder that even with Giants in your field, like Amazon and smaller publishers, you can leverage the debate and ensure that more people are introduced to you. Thanks for the ideas, Denise.

    • says

      Thanks for stopping by Michal. You’re right, I believe a lot more entrepreneurs could get more visibility if they did pay attention to what is happening in their industry.