Newsjacking 101: Blog About Big and Breaking News to Increase Real Estate Website Traffic
By Matthew Bushery
About Inbound Marketing
Home sales increase dramatically. Two major real estate companies announce a merger. Mortgage rates continue to drop. Each of these news headlines is of interest to real estate agents and consumers, including home buyers and sellers. They can also drive a significant amount of traffic to your real estate website.
Staying up-to-date about the latest deals and happenings is vital simply for the sake of remaining knowledgeable about the real estate industry. But many agents fail to realize they can capitalize on these stories, just as journalists and news publications do.
Blogging about the biggest stories and breaking news — commonly referred to in the blogosphere as “newsjacking” — is one of the best ways you can increase site traffic and leads and become a go-to source for up-to-the-minute real estate news.
Let’s break down what newsjacking looks like when done well and how you can incorporate breaking and major industry news into your real estate blogging strategy.
A Prime Example of Newsjacking at Work
Take Zillow’s recent acquisition of Trulia, for instance. Countless business publications, industry insiders, and real estate agents covered it. Tech news sites like The Verge, Mashable, and TechCrunch have all discussed the merger at length. Major news outlets like Time and Businessweek analyzed how the transaction went down and its potential effects on consumers and real estate professionals. But plenty of agents and brokers also wrote about how the deal may affect their real estate businesses.
For example, broker Melissa Zavala recently posted her personal view of the news on her real estate blog:
Melissa definitely put a great deal of thought and effort into the post, but managed to communicated her unique take on the subject — all while including several popular keywords and terms associated with the merger — in just 650 words.
The results of her blogging? A relatively high ranking in Google search results for various searches related to the transaction, recognition as a well-informed, well-spoken real estate mind, and, likely, a decent amount of visitors checking out her post.
How to Newsjack a Story Effectively
You can do the same thing Melissa and countless other agents and brokers do: Capitalize on the most pertinent housing, mortgage, economic, and general business news — much of which comes out daily. The key is discovering what you enjoy writing about the most, what you’re most knowledgeable about, and what your audience wants to know about.
The latest industry data and news are strong topics to blog about.
“A blog is only as interesting as the interest shown in others.”
— Lee Odden
Take the various housing data that comes out over the course of a given month: The National Association of Realtors’ Pending and Existing Home Sales Indexes, CoreLogic’s Home Price and other housing trends reports, the Mortgage Bankers Association’s applications survey, etc. These releases and others like them offer agents the opportunity to get their voice heard while capitalizing on the search value and industry importance the reports carry.
Another viable option is any major industry shake-ups that occur, like the Zillow-Trulia merger and any regulatory measures that come down from the government or NAR.
Search online for hot topics and trends for content ideas.
If you’re unsure as to what themes, issues, or data to discuss in your real estate blog, not to worry. Simply search the many major real estate blogs and industry resources out there that report regularly on the biggest news stories and reports to gather inspiration for your own content creation.
Once you’ve narrowed down some topics and data you can write about, examine which angles are being discussed and shared the most and which aren’t. That will give you a clear idea as to how to differentiate your content but still hit on the popular talking points searchers want to learn more about.
One thing to steer clear of when newsjacking is reporting on news that is too controversial, irrelevant, or could offend readers. For instance, trying to tie in a pop culture story involving a celebrity to your real estate blog isn’t ideal since that’s not why your visitors come to your blog in the first place.
Similarly, be careful when reporting on touchy topics like foreclosures. While they provide buyers low-cost options, some of your audience may have dealt with foreclosures in the past (not a pleasant experience).
Follow the journalistic newswriting format.
Choose a topic you deem the most relevant to your readers. Once you’ve got the subject selected, set up a structure for your post. Here’s an ideal structure for your newsjack article, laid out in traditional journalistic terminology:
- The Lead: This is the beginning of your post, where you introduce the topic. Describe in succinct but descriptive detail the news you intend to discuss, and link to the original source from which the story came (e.g. a press release, a PDF report, a news source, etc.).
- The Body: After painting a clear picture of the news or data in question, evaluate the topic at length by offering your own opinions and perhaps those of fellow industry members and other publications. Be sure to provide as much context to give your audience the inside scoop on the subject.
- The Tail: Offer a distinct takeaway you want your readers to walk away with — one that leaves them more informed on the subject matter than when they first started reading and wanting to come back to your site for more.
Promotion and Optimization Are Half the Battle
Once you’ve produced a comprehensive newsjack blog post, it’s time to take a step back and perform some keyword research to optimize for search.
Presuming you chose a topic that many people are searching about, you’ll likely find it easy to incorporate company, organization, agency, or people’s names in your newjack article simply by reporting on the subject. But take it a step further and find popular key terms related to the focus of your post so you can take advantage of the search traffic.
Even by simply entering in the core terms associated with what you’re writing about in Google’s search bar can yield some other ideas for keywords to include. To stick with the merger story theme, here’s what Google recommended for a search when we typed in “Zillow Trulia”:
Use your social media presence to share your take on the news.
After optimizing for search, head to your social media accounts to promote the heck out of your content. Search trending hashtags and use them in your taglines and tweets so you can inject yourself in the social conversations and be found easily. Take our recent post on the Zillow-Trulia merger, for example.
We took to our Facebook, Twitter, and other social pages to spread the word about the article, using appropriate hashtags that helped expand their reach:
Email marketing allows you to show your posts to a big audience.
The great thing about newsjack posts is they serve as great content pieces to promote through email as well. Set up a weekly, biweekly, or monthly email to send to your newsletter subscriber base or leads in your database, and include your newsjack article with an eye-catching subject line.
Showing you’re up-to-speed on the latest goings-on in the real estate market can go a long way in transforming your image: You can go from unnoticed by your audience, to part of their daily online reading routine, simply by reporting on what’s important to them.
Ask around to see if publications would be interested in your content.
Another great way to get exposure for your newsjacked content is to reach out to popular industry publications that allow guest contributions. Getting your post in front of a big audience of buyers and sellers can do wonders for your real estate marketing, so research which national and local online sources may want to publish your post.
Ensure your newsjacking helps with real estate lead generation by reading our post How to Create Share-Worthy Content That Leads to Sales.
Have you tried newsjacking before? What do you enjoy blogging about? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.
Published on August 13, 2014
Written by Matthew Bushery
I'm the Sr. Content Creator for Placester, where I educate real estate professionals about modern marketing and, in turn, help agents and brokers make the most of their online presence, earn more traffic, and generate more leads and business.