Newsjacking with the EU Referendum

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Search engine marketing or SEM can have a huge impact on your business, especially if you pay attention to current events. Take the EU referendum and Brexit. Already the search engines have seen a spike in searches related to that issue, according to a recent NPR report. You might be tempted to think that this will have nothing to do with bringing traffic to your business’s website, especially if your business is local like a family-owned car dealership. But if you have the right mindset, you can actually take advantage of this trend by doing a little newsjacking.

What is Newsjacking?

Newsjacking is the act of taking a trending event like the EU Referendum and somehow making the association with that trend and your business. Usually this trend can be something that’s a one-off like Brexit, but often savvy marketers will do the same thing with events like holidays, which come every year. Anytime you can piggyback your content onto some trending topic, the better chance you have of your content being seen.

The trick to making newsjacking really work, however, is to make sure that you make a relevant tie between the event and your business.

Examples of How This Works

You make a connection between your business and the event in question by the keywords/ keyword phrases that you use. Let’s take a less charged issue than the referendum to highlight this concept in more detail. What if it’s nearing Valentine’s Day, and you own a recipe site? You could feature a recipe for sugar cookies. In and of themselves, sugar cookies are not inherently V-Day items.

However, what if you made some heart-shaped cookies and frosted them with red and pink frosting and even wrote “Happy Valentine’s Day” on them? Suddenly they become V-Day cookies. At this point, the search engines still don’t “know” that they’re holiday cookies.

However, when you’re writing up the blog post if you add words like “Valentine’s Day cookies” or “Valentine’s Day desserts” and you also use phrases like “good sugar cookie recipes” or “easy cookie recipes,” you suddenly have a V-Day article about Valentine’s Day sugar cookie recipes. For a time, at least, your recipe site will potentially have a higher ranking than it would have for a post just about sugar cookies.

Newsjacking works the same way. Some issues are not going to be inherently related unless you make the tie between them. You need to help the search engines out by using the right keywords when you write about these issues.

Some Ideas for Using the EU Referendum

Now, we’ll go back to the referendum and Brexit and your local car dealership. According to the Guardian, one of Britain’s chief exports is cars. In the article, which was written in 2011, Britain’s top export nation that year was the U.S. Although the article itself is a bit dated, it provides us with an opportunity to newsjack, at least for example purposes.

Maybe you could use keywords like “Brexit” or “the EU Referendum” and then pair these words with keyword phrases like “local car dealerships in [name your town].” You could go on to say that because your company doesn’t sell cars imported from Britain, potential customers don’t need to worry about a raise in prices or not being able to get parts for a UK-made car.

Or if you’re on the flip side, it can also work. Maybe you have a dealership that specializes in British cars like the Jaguar. Perhaps your customers would be understandably nervous that they couldn’t get their cars fixed with the advent of Brexit. Or maybe they’re worried that they won’t be able to replace their cars with another Jag once they’re ready to get a new car.

You could take the space in your blog using some related keywords to attract attention to your site and let people know why the things they fear won’t come to pass.

In summary, using current events like Brexit or even annual holidays gives your company a chance to do a little newsjacking. This search engine marketing technique has helped various websites see a spike in traffic that they wouldn’t otherwise get. Savvy website owners look for events like these in order to put their business at the top of the search engines in a way that might not otherwise happen. Additionally, the act of newsjacking can even garner your business local media attention, giving you and your business exposure that it wouldn’t get otherwise.