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Newsjacking: How To Add to the Story and Earn Big Links

Video Summary

We live in a world of real-time news and instant responses. As marketers, this gives us more opportunity than ever to become part of a story and earn links. It’s more affordable and less time consuming than you think, and anyone can do it. But using that tool comes with its own risks, special considerations, and unique rewards, as Ryan Charles found out. After years of newsjackings both big and small, his team completely newsjacked the news of the San Diego Chargers NFL franchise relocating to L.A. Learn from Ryan on how to potentially facilitate big, viral moments, how to best manage them when you get one, and how to add to the story without being a “Newsjackass”.


Engineer turned digital marketer at HireAHelper---a scaling, on-demand, sharing economy, zero-asset based, [insert other interesting tech buzz words here] services marketplace disrupting the moving industry. I lead growth here and do it as efficiently as possible...you have to when your bootstrapped! 3x over the last 4 years (2018 now).

I love creating systems, molding perceptions, and wielding connotations. I've got a diverse background that's taken me from the floor of an industrial plant to the ivory tower of corporate headquarters to the war room of an online start-up. It's given me an opportunity to work on the many different sides of a business: operations, operations support, customer support, business development, sales, and marketing.

Specialties include picking low hanging fruit, herding cats, and synergizing synergies....all while wearing lots of hats.

Currently known for this: www.wewontmoveyouchargers.com. News coverage & media: http://fileahelper.com/qvlVFo

What you will learn?

  • Understand what newsjacking is
  • Spot opportunities for newsjacking
  • Make smart decisions in launching a newsjack
  • Create an effective newsjack and pitch it successfully
  • Handle what comes after a newsjack, whether successful or not

Newsjacking: How to Add to the Story and Earn Big Links in Real Time

Ryan Charles:
I’ll never forget my first interview for our first newsjacking in town. See there’s a scandal in the mayor’s office here in San Diego and it’s been going on for months and months and everybody was over it and they just wanted him to leave office. So we as a nationwide market points remover decided to try and insert ourselves into that story by offering to move him out of office for free at no expense to the taxpayers.
So I get on the phone with the reporter and one of her first questions is, “So why are you doing this?” And I think, “Great, I have an awesome answer for this. We’re doing this because it’s an economic injustice to small businesses and the community and we’re just not gonna stand for it anymore. We’re taking action.” And I’ll never forget, she responds immediately and replied, “Yeah, but other than that, free PR wouldn’t hurt right?” I just froze, it’s like, in my head, sirens are going off. Oh my gosh, she knows! The jig is up. It’s over. You’re not getting the placement. So much for easily.
But you know what? We got the placement, the story published, and ever since that moment I was absolutely hooked on newsjacking. And since then my team and I have tried maybe a half dozen different newsjacks and with varying degrees of success, and we’re going to share some of those with you today. And we’re gonna talk about how to spot opportunity, how to decide if you should go for it, how to create one and pitch it and if we have enough time, how to handle it when it blows up.

What is Newsjacking?
But to take a step back how many people have actually heard the term newsjacking before today? Okay.
So newsjacking become so prolific in the last few years that the Oxford dictionary actually added it to its short list of words of the year for 2017. Okay, and it has an official definition which is the practice of taking advantage of current events or new story in such a way as to promote or advertise one product or brand.
Okay. So let’s take a look at some examples of newsjacking.
Newsjacking is when Cash for Purses inserted themselves into a story about Lindsay Lohan being broke. So they basically offered to liquidate her purses to help her out with their cash problem. Okay very nice of them. You can see some of their success metrics over here on the side.
Newsjacking is when a Minnesota Furniture Store offered a free sofa to the head coach of the New Orleans Saints who they beat to go to the Super Bowl.
Newsjacking is when Hostess Cupcakes tried to insert themselves into the eclipse story by declaring golden cupcakes the official snack cake of the eclipse, to which MoonPies replied, “LOL, okay.” And with a five character tweet, they got over half a million likes and over 200,000 shares, okay?
And of course newsjacking is when the power went out in the Super Bowl in 2013 and Oreo tweeted out you can still dunk in the dark and it’s pretty much this tweet that acted as a catalyst for a lot of brands to start doing this.
And so as you can see businesses big and small can do this, right? And so I know anybody in this room can do it. But I know for the most part you can do it because if I can do it you can do it. Like Rob said I basically kicked off my digital marketing career here at SearchLove in this room just under five years ago and of all the tactics that I’ve learned here, newsjacking is by far my favorite just because it’s so much fun. And when it hits, it’s a giant adrenaline rush. But more importantly, you can earn a ton of high quality links for very cheap, okay?
So the bad news about newsjacking is that it’s hard to plan for. It’s not very consistent. You can’t figure it into your model for your growth organic gains for the year, but the good news is it really does not need to take a lot of time or money to create one. And you can earn really high authority links. If you’re just willing to look around for opportunities, kind of get creative and get a little bit outside of your comfort zone, and then you can go from awkward first foot-in-mouth interview like me to a much smoother live TV interview where you get to talk about your brand and all of your services that kicks off a firestorm of media coverage like this.

Video playing:
Live from San Diego. This is the Fox 5 News at 5.

Anchorman (on video):
I think it’s fair to say that people all across San Diego are still trying to process the news that the Chargers have announced they are planning to move to L.A.

Anchorwoman (on video):
But just because they plan to leave, there’s one group that says they’re not going to make it very easy for them to move.
A group of moving companies is banding together to say that they won’t move any of the Chargers up to Los Angeles. So joining us is Ryan Charles of HireAHelper, one of the moving companies that has decided to say, “Nope. Chargers, we’re not helping you.”
So Ryan. Thanks for being here.

Ryan Charles (on video):
Thanks for having me.

Anchorwoman (on video):
What made you decide to do this and do you really think this is going to actually make any sort of difference?

Ryan Charles (on video):
Yeah. Well many of us at HireAHelper were born and raised in San Diego. And so we’ve been lifelong Chargers fans. So when the news came down officially on Thursday that they were moving to Los Angeles, you know, we were shocked and sad and angry, like most San Diegans are charger fans. But since we’re moving services company, we started thinking about the actual physical move of the Chargers to LA and how we wouldn’t want to be a part of moving them out of the city. And we started thinking maybe other fellow San Diego moving companies wouldn’t want to either. And then we thought, you know, what if all of them refused to move them, you can’t move up there without a mover. So what would happen?

Anchorwoman (on video):
Well, this is way more than I thought y’all had. I was thinking you were going to say, you know, we’ve got a couple companies but this is quite an impressive list. Are you talking about not moving the Chargers themselves? I mean the team or what if you know another Charger player calls and needs your help. Are you saying you don’t want to move any of the Charger players either?

Ryan Charles (on video):
Yeah. I mean there’s a lot to this move obviously. Offices, practice facility as well as the actual players and staff and coaches themselves and it includes all of that, you know. On the site we say, “Dear Chargers, we won’t move you,” and it says, “Love, your San Diego moving companies,” because it is out of love because you know, we think this is best for them to stay here.

Ryan Charles:
That’s right.
That news Jack was all about tough love. Okay, we’re going to talk about that one a bit more in a little bit. But you might still be sitting there thinking, “Okay, but seriously, why is this going to work for me and my company?” Okay, and the answer is HARO, which I’m sure a lot of you are familiar with, it stands for “Help a Reporter Out”.
Okay. It’s a service that connects journalist with interviewees because they’re looking to get information to fill out their articles, right? And that’s the truth of the matter is that journalists have space to fill every minute of every day of every week of every year. And all you’re doing with a newsjack is giving them something before they even ask.
Okay. The other truth about reporters is that part of their job is to report on current events and the sentiment of the people, you know, and how they feel about the current event. That’s why they do man on the street interviews, right? You’re basically just giving them a man on the street interview before they even ask. You are helping a reporter out by giving them stuff to fill space and a new angle on the story.
Okay, and on that note for one slide, I want to Rebrand it newsjacking to news augmenting or newsauging which is a terrible term because it looks like new sausaging, but if it helps you remember that you’re not actually stealing the story and you’re adding to the story, that’s great.
Okay, the other reason I want to rebrand it is because the term newsjacking is just kind of harsh. Okay, it’s just sounds bad. And if you need to pitch a client or a C-Suite on this feel free to use this term or we can never speak of it again. It’s okay.

How Do You Spot an Opportunity?
So let’s get into the house. How do you spot an opportunity for a newsjack?
Okay. The first thing you need to do is learn how the news works. This only comes from reading a ton of news every day. But you need to shift your lens at how you look at the news. Don’t just read it to consume it. Read it and start asking questions about it. Like why are they covering it this way? Why is it happening at this time? Why did they take this angle and not another angle? Why is this outlet covering this and this other one isn’t? You really got to get a feel for the news and what they consider to be newsworthy.
Okay, and then of course you need to be on the lookout for opportunities. Google Trends is great for this, Twitter trending things, Facebook trending, maybe not Facebook. But whatever you want to use for like to track your news, right, use that.
And then you can start to look and see who’s not covering it, this big story that’s happening. See if you can create an angle that fits their beat so to speak in the way they cover things. Okay, you can look for an old tired news story, right? It’s like a never-ending story. They’re waiting for an outcome and they’re kind of looking for stuff to fill space with. Or you can look for a series that’s happening. So, you know, it’s going to be going for a little bit of time and you might be able to figure out something to do.
And then most importantly, you need to look for your connection.
Which brings us to the next part. How do you decide if you should do it? You need to ask yourself these six questions. Do you have a connection? Do you have an original angle? Can you ship in zero to 24 hours? Can you offer some value? Are you willing to take the risk to your brand reputation? And lastly, are you going to be a newsjackass? And you should be able to answer yes to all of those except the last one.
Okay, so it is best if you have some sort of connection to the story. Okay. It’s going to be a number of things. It could be geographic, right? You’re near the story. Personal connection. Some sort of interest. Fandom. It’s obviously relevant to what you do as a business is a big one or maybe your competition is involved in the story, you know?
And then there are various degrees of connection required for different stories, right? If it’s a more serious story, you need a much stronger connection to it or you need to add a lot more value. And the thing is, your connection to the story may not be apparent at first, right? Look at that Cash for Purses example. Okay, it’s not apparent that they’re connected to that story but they had to think one step like, “Hey, Lindsay Lohan probably has a lot of purses, like we should offer this,” okay.
And if it feels like a stretch at the end of the day, it probably is. You probably shouldn’t go for it.
Okay, you need to have a unique original angle. Okay, it needs to be unexpected, kind of hits you like a delightful surprise. Or spark curiosity and obviously gets a laugh from just the headline is a big one.
Okay. And you should imagine your potential newsjack as a headline. Okay. How is this going to read if I pitch this? Okay, right? “Relocation firm offers to move Filner for free”, “San Diego moving companies are refusing to help the Chargers move to LA”. And what you should do is you should take that made up headline for your newsjack and test it on people as if it were a real story and get their honest feedback on it and say, “Hey, did you hear about this and this?” and then see what they say.
All right. Newsjacking is a race. Okay, you have to act very fast. Okay. I used to think that when there was tons of coverage, there was no point in me trying to pitch my little newsjack because I’ll just get drowned out. But the opposite is actually true. Okay. Breaking news is very much like a wave. Okay, there’s a giant swell of reporters trying to cover this big story from all angles possible. And that is your time to get in there and give them an angle to cover the story on and then you can be like this guy who’s just shredding down this wave of the story while all these other brands just floatin’ by, okay?
Next, you need to offer some sort of value with your newsjack. Okay for most newsjacks, this means that there’s some sort of money at stake. All right, if you’re offering something, there’s money behind that. If you’re saying you’re not going to do something, you’re losing business. There’s money behind that, alright?
Also comedic value, right? We all value comedy a lot. Okay, if you can make people laugh, that is a value in and of itself. And then there’s other emotional value, right? If you can encourage people and make them happy. Maybe comfort them. That has value too.
And then lastly, societal value, right? If it’s a social good or some sort of charity where someone is actually helped, okay.
There is inherent risk with newsjacking. Okay? And the thing here is you need to evaluate your risk to your brand and this starts by figuring out what size of brand awareness you have or what size of brand you have because good news bad news for small brands is that they can take bigger risks than big brands, but this is also because they don’t get as much of the brand awareness benefit of newsjacking as big brands and this is mostly because of the headlines.
Okay, so big brands on the left small brands on the right. Right, if you’re a big brand you got your name in the headline. Hostess, MoonPie, Esurance, Oreo, Spotify. On the right, if you’re a smaller brand, you’re just referred to generically. Fundraising company, relocation firm, moving companies, Minnesota furniture store, right? Like, I made this presentation and I still can’t remember the name of the Minnesota furniture store in that newsjacking.
So I mean this is the good news bad news, right? Is that you can take a bigger risk because there’s probably a good chance like not many people are going to remember that it was you whereas if you’re a big brand, right? Your name is in the headline. They’re going to remember.
And this is also a function of just how everybody consumes media and articles these days like how often do you just scroll through, see a funny headline, click like, click share, move on. Like you didn’t even dig into it right to find out or read through and so that happens a lot especially with newsjacking articles, okay?
So there are ways to mitigate the risk if you’re going to go into it is to get feedback first. Right? Test those headlines on people. Intimately understand the nuances of the story and evaluate public opinion and then stay neutral, if possible. Unless you want to take a stand as a brand like Rand was talking about yesterday.
A recent study showed that 66% of consumers want brands to take a stand on political and social issues. Okay, seems like we’re seeing examples of this every day, especially in the last few weeks, right? Dick’s Sporting Goods stopping selling assault rifles. SpaceX leaving their Facebook. You’ve got, can’t remember my third example. Oh, Viacom who owns MTV and Nickelodeon stopping their programming during the student walkouts to stand in solidarity with them.
All these brands are putting their money where their mouth is right and adding real value to these movements and they’re inserting themselves into these stories because the groundswell is happening now about these, you know, they didn’t do this a year ago. They’re doing it right now. It’s very much a way to help your brand personality and be strategic with it and sometimes it pays off big time.
Okay, so you may have been saying, “Gee, Ryan. That mayor scandal story was pretty risky,” right? It’s like yeah, so the way we decided to take the risk on that is we talked to our friends and family and colleagues when we evaluated public opinion. And we found that 85% of San Diegans wanted the mayor out of office. Nancy Pelosi tweeted that he should resign out of office. And then the real kicker was our objective news source, a local newspaper, made this parody video to Blurred Lines.
Oops. I can’t get it to go without changing.
Anyways, they made a video and it was totally outrageous. And we were just like, okay. Well apparently all bets are off at this point in time. So and ours is way tamer than this and that’s eventually how we decided to go into it and thought we were pretty safe and we put all that information in our blog post about that newsjack.
There’s definitely a right way and a wrong way to do this. Right? And so you have to ask yourself the last question. Are you going to be and newsjackass?
Okay, so we came up with the definition for newsjackass. It’s one who misleads the media regarding current event or one who trivializes or capitalizes on a current event without thought to participants or without backing their newsjack with value. Pretty proud of ourselves. That’s a pretty dictionary definition right there.
So let’s look at some examples of newsjackasses and the different ways to be a newsjackass.
Who recognizes this? Okay, so I think pretty much everybody. So at the height of the black lives matters protests, Pepsi decides to make a commercial that depicts the protesters as happy-go-lucky, cello-playing millennials led by Kendall Jenner carrying a Pepsi, at which point later, she hands it to a police officer and everyone cheers, and she’s ostensibly solved this giant social issue, right? No, right. They just got lit up for this. Totally tone deaf. Everybody was calling them out on it. It’s done very poorly. I can see what they were trying to do sort of, I don’t know. But just, they totally trivialized the situation and added zero value to it compared to those other examples that I just did, right? They were just trying to push their brand in a commercial.
And there’s other examples of this, okay. Kenneth Cole insinuating that the Arab Spring was launched by their spring collection. Okay, Gap giving a shout-out to hurricane Sandy victims while saying we’re going to be doing lots of shopping at Gap today. Okay, and then just my favorite, you probably can’t read it. “Have you disappeared? Get noticed by sports employers. Malaysia Airlines 370 has vanished. Do you feel like employers can’t find you?” I can’t even read it with a straight face, it’s so bad.
Okay, these are lazy and thoughtless and are trivializing events just to push their brand and add zero value to any of it. And they got lots of bad press coverage for this right? Don’t do that. Okay.
The other way to be a newsjackass is to just lie and fabricate something to the media. Okay, if there is a perfect antithesis to our “We won’t move you Chargers” newsjack is this episode of Nathan for You. Okay, if you’re not familiar with him, he’s a comedian who has a show similar to The Prophet and he goes into small businesses and gives them advice on how to grow their business, but it’s just ridiculous and he’s doing it for a moving company here and I’ll just let you watch.

Video playing:
The plan: turn the job of moving into America’s next fitness craze. So I sent my producers and they found a professional bodybuilder who seemed interested in being a spokesperson. I hired an obese look-alike to pose as Jack before he lost the weight. I wanted to legitimize Jack with his own book. I contacted a ghostwriter who advertised as services on Craigslist.
One of the most popular morning news shows in the state wants you to talk about the movement.
This was Jack about a hundred pounds ago. Now, let’s have the grand reveal. This is Jack now. Our guest has lost more than 100 pounds.
Do you lose a hundred pounds just by moving boxes and furniture? One guy says it’s possible.
Look at this man. He lost over a hundred pounds…
And you also came across Steve Jobs?
Well, I grew up with him as a child. I do work, charity work, with jungle children.
Jack turned out to be an extremely compelling spokesman and he was really hitting our message home. Good work, you look amazing. Thank you very much.

Ryan Charles:
Okay. You can’t do this. Okay, you are not an entertainer. You are a business brand. Okay? You can’t just make stuff up to get news coverage. All right. Imma, let me finish, but Kanye had one of the best newsjacks of all time, all time. And he is also one of the best newsjackass examples of all time and he was called an asshole by the president. So don’t be Kanye. Don’t be a newsjackass.

How to Create a Newsjack
So let’s talk about how to create a newsjack.
Okay, we’ve seen a lot of examples of things you can do, right? A free promotion or offer a boycott or a protest. You can refuse service. You can hold an event. You can do a witty tweet, right? So hot right now. Other comedic commentary or maybe some survey data or expert opinions. There’s tons of options. Okay, you can also do a charitable service. I don’t have time to get into this one too much, but just know you need to have a history of charity and you need to absolutely be adding serious value and actually helping people for that. And if you want more examples of how we’ve done that, find me afterwards and we can go over that.
You need to fully establish your campaign. Okay, whatever you can do to make this look as legit and tangible as possible, do it. You absolutely need to have a visual, a graphic, a video, anything. Not just because it makes it more tangible and legitimate but also journalists want visuals for their articles. You might put it on a vanity domain, okay? Setting it apart sometimes makes it seem a whole lot more legitimate.
And then wherever you put it you need to have relevant content connected to the story. All right demonstrate your connection to the story. Show your understanding of the story and then always try and be as light-hearted and positive as possible.
Okay? Cover yourself legally. This is me covering myself legally so you don’t tell me, “Hey, you didn’t tell me to cover myself legally.” It’s very meta. But if you’re just doing a promotion, have terms and conditions. That’s all I’m saying.
And then if you can have the next layer of the onion, so to speak, ready or the next step, that’s great. Okay, so if there’s some logical next step to what you’re doing, if you someone’s going to take you up on your offer, if you can have that ready, that social proof, it will go a long way to convincing the journalists to publish this. Right?
And just again, examples, I doubt the Oreo tweet would have gone nearly as far if they hadn’t done this graphic. The Minnesota company had a little flyer. And then we decided to go with typed up letter to the mayor because we figured that’s how people communicate with their elected officials and I just literally just typed it up on my phone in Notes and then took a screenshot and sure enough, they used it in the article.
So how to pitch it. Remember my opening story? Journalists know what you’re doing. Okay, so don’t act all high and mighty about it. Okay, don’t be heavy-handed about it either right? Like hey, I got a great newsjack for you. Just be cool and play your role and it’s more of like a wink and a nod okay, and then just get to the point and let them form an opinion and then don’t forget to have the next layer of the onion ready. So if they try and peel it back, there’s something there.
All right, you should start local when you’re pitching your outlets. Okay, it’s easier to get coverage if you start local. This is just a function of the local news doesn’t have as many stories to cover. Right we’ve all seen stories where you’re like, wow, I really stretching to fill air space there. Okay, so the bar is a little bit lower and you can normally get something published easier and you can also take a local angle on a national story.
Journalists from local news love to write about citizens who are doing something, you know, on a national level basically or something to that. Best part about starting local is it tends to have a ripple effect. So once you get that first placement locally, you can parlay that into other local news which then turns into local commentary on like talk shows and radio and that sort of thing.
But then the magic of syndication happens and they send it to their affiliates and other regions and all of a sudden it’s happening in other areas and then those regional commentary are talking about it and then all of a sudden, the big guys take notice of it and you get stories published nationally, okay. And then the national talk show hosts start talking about it and you get that coverage as well and it all started from local news. So you don’t have to run to BuzzFeed or Gawker to get something to go viral. You can start at this epicenter of local news.

Case Studies
So let’s look at some case studies. Let’s start out with one where we failed.
Okay, remember this? Of course, you do. You’re SEOs and you’re digital marketers and you’re at SearchLove. Okay, right after Super Tuesday, Google reported that searches for ‘how can I move to Canada’ had spiked to 350%, okay. We totally missed this. I don’t know how but three weeks later, I came upon it and I was like, “Oh man, this is so good.” We have a connection, right? Moving. And we love newsjacking like but we’re so late, but we decided to go for it anyways.
So we made ‘Make moving great again. Freeloading help to Canada.’ Okay, 23 days later, fail. All right, so we basically threw together a campaign on like an hour because we were so late. All right, and we just threw it up on our blog and our old blog looked far worse than this and so it wasn’t really established well at all. Okay, we probably should have put it on a vanity domain. We had a crappy stock art picture that we just bought that was way too expensive. Right?
So and then when we started pitching it journalists started asking for the next layer. They said, “Well is anybody taking you up on this?” We’re like, “Well, no, that’s why we want you to tell people so they do.” But anyways, they weren’t going for it.
Okay, so nevertheless, I was hopeful. I pushed it out on the Twitter sphere and I immediately got two retweets, like wait this might be something. And it was a bot that was retweeting ‘Make blank great again’. There were so many make blank great agains that there was a bot for it. Okay. So fail on originality angle here, there were so many other things happening.
Okay. Interestingly, our content, which by the way was neutral. We were taking bipartisan shots at everybody in there was more angled at daring people to move to Canada. Okay, because every four years at a presidential election people are like, “We’re moving to Canada. But the migration statistics don’t back that up. Nobody actually moves to Canada after whoever president you don’t want elected happens.
Okay. So the headline we should have been thinking of was, ‘Moving company dares you to move to Canada with free moves’ or something like that. Okay, plus it was super crowded. Okay, everybody was trying to newsjack this story. There was a dating site that came up that was going to find you true love in Canada if you move there, right? Esurance launched fake election insurance, okay for your home and created a whole commercial. Spotify had a playlist. Good for them. And they got newsjacking coverage. Sometimes I’m jealous of big brands.
Anyway, so we were late, it was obvious. It wasn’t established well, and there was a bunch of competition with high production value that I couldn’t really compete with okay. But one of the reasons we decided to launch this anyways was because we figured there might still be some opportunity here because if something happened and a certain someone got elected on November 4th, there might still be opportunity here.
And this just goes to show that sometimes you can plan for this. If you know an event is coming. You can create a campaign to fit it. Okay, so we just let it sit and then election night happened. We push down on Facebook and went absolutely insane and we’re getting a thousand shares an hour. We’re like, it’s working. We’re really going to get placements. Spent way too much on promotion, still didn’t get any placement, super bummed.
And then the kicker was we started seeing all these comments and how people were using it and they started weaponizing our campaign. It was like, yeah get out of here. Go to Canada and we were like, we just don’t want our campaign to be part of this. So we took it down.
Okay, so results of ‘make moving great again’. 2 linking root domains, a few thousand shares. We spent about $2,200 without salary. So cost per link $1,100. That’s not the cost per link I’m looking for all right with newsjacking.
Let’s look at a success story, right?
News comes down the Chargers are moving. We realize instantly we have some pretty strong connection here. Geographic. We’re based in San Diego. We’re lifelong fans and hey, we’re in the moving industry, pretty sweet.
So we start talking about what is our angle here, right? Like we’re can’t offer to move them. So let’s offer to not move them. Yes, okay, and the idea really went through the process like I talked about in the interview. Okay, we realized that us as the higher helper brand not being a very large recognizable brand wasn’t enough if we were just to say we’re not moving the Chargers. Nobody would really care.
Okay, and then that’s when it came it’s like but what if all the moving companies decided not to move them, you know, that was the idea behind it.

Woman on video:
Oh, no, we get the idea behind. It’s like when a guy breaks up with you in his car and you refused to get out of the car because if you don’t well, then he can’t break up with you or so a friend of mine told me happened to her.

Ryan Charles:
So they got the idea. Okay.
Next we establish the campaign a lot better. Okay, we put it on its own vanity domain right. Now, you should be thinking wait if I put it on a vanity domain aren’t all the links going to go to the vanity domain. Well, yes, but the great part is the majority of articles that came out about this cited our main domain HireAHelper as the source of this and linked to it. And then if it didn’t it linked to an article that did link to us. Okay, plus we made this site obviously very closely related to us and links to us everywhere.
And so we set up the vanity domain. We didn’t want to overdesign it because we wanted it to look like a Grassroots campaign. Okay, and then of course we have visuals to go along with it.
Next there was a lot of inherent perceived value here. Foregoing money from a big potential payday almost all the articles and news stories talked about this in some fashion. Okay.
Next it had comedic value. Jon Acuff is a comedian. He said it’s pretty funny. So that’s how I know it had comedic value.
It also had emotional value. Okay, Valerie left a comment on article that said, “I can’t explain it. But the movers refusing to move them makes me feel a tiny bit better and if it eases some of the hurt for them,” I think it’s okay. Thanks Valerie.
So check out this segment where they talked for a long time about the value behind this campaign, essentially.

Video playing:
Mayflower bands came in in the middle of the night, packed up the Colts, moved them out of Baltimore and Sports Talk Radio for four years in Baltimore every year on the anniversary of the Colts leaving. That was the entire show. We are 33 years later. These folks have not gotten over it and ow, and in the four years, I was in Baltimore, I never ever ever saw a Mayflower moving van move anyone…

Man in video:
It’s a grudge!

Woman in video:
…San Diego moving companies, you’re doing the right thing.

Woman and man in video:
No, you’re not. No, you’re not.

Man in video:
Are you gonna take a hit and you have a football team and not gonna take some easy money. You know how much money you could make moving a franchise? This is a franchise moving to LA. So that’s fine. LA has more moving companies and cheaper moving companies because we have more. So guess what, you just gave away some money, San Diego. Get smart.

Man in video:
I like the boycott because it’s funny.

Ryan Charles:
So they’re having a very serious debate about which is more valuable like avoiding the bad PR or like missing out on the payday. And then LZ just likes it because it’s funny. Yes. All right.
So the perfect storm happened. Okay, we had strong connection. We had a huge amount of value behind our campaign. It was an original idea. We shipped it super fast and we fully established the campaign. And when that happens, you can get results like this.

Video playing:
Chargers fans are not the only ones upset about the team bolting to LA. Don’t expect any local moving companies to help with the process.
Scoring a company to help the Bolts bolt North could prove problematic.
Some local movers are bailing out from the task.
It could be every man for himself.
40 moving companies had banded together, refusing to physically move the Chargers from their hometown.
HireAHelper, a moving company based out of Oceanside spearheaded the movement.
We won’t move you Chargers.com
Gathering together, those San Diego commercial moving companies who vow not to move the Chargers’ stuff.
They won’t move any of the Chargers up to Los Angeles.
Their office, their equipment, their furniture. Nothing. Nothing to LA.
They’re refusing to help the San Diego Chargers move. We don’t want your money. Don’t move to Los Angeles.
So super fans are doing all they can.
They can’t move to LA without a mover. So what if all the movers in San Diego refused them?
We don’t want to be a part of that move and we started thinking maybe other San Diego moving companies didn’t want to either.
And we can do something and like let’s put a voice to it and build this site and there’s been such an overwhelming response that you know, we’ve just seen people kind of get behind it and use it as I don’t know just like a glimmer of hope.
We had over 50,000 shares, seen a lot of the comments, you know, way to go, thanks for doing this. We had actually people call our office and thank us for doing this. And I think it’s really resonating with people.
More companies are expected to be added to that list before long.
I think it’s the dumbest bravest thing I’ve ever seen in my life. Right? Because it’s like super stupid to pass up the money to move the Chargers, but it’s like so gangster that you’re like, you know what I hate you man, you can’t move.

Ryan Charles:
Yep, that’s right. Ryan Clark called us so gangster. Mission accomplished. Okay.
All right. So let me walk you through the timeline of how this went down. Right the official announcement came out Thursday early in the morning. Okay many people in our office are pissed off. We start talking about it and start mulling the idea of newsjacking, going over different angles. Okay. It wasn’t until late afternoon that we started calling movers in our network and then outside of our network as well to try and have like a proof of concept. Basically, can we get anybody on board with this and the yeses started coming very very easily and it was at that point we decided to start making the website.
Okay, so in the evening, we started wrapping up the website Friday morning. We wanted to get a few more movers on board before we started pushing it out. So it took a little bit longer. We launched the website and then started pitching it around noon got our first bite of interest about 2PM and by 3PM, we had our first placement. So we knew we were onto something at that point in time.
Okay. Sunday we secured another interview with a local NBC Sports affiliate. I did an interview with them. That reporter loved the story so much. He couldn’t like stop telling me how much he loved the story and he said I’m telling the Evening News guys. They’re going to come right now. Sure enough, they came right now, came to our office Sunday night did the story. And it was on the Evening News at 11.
By Monday morning, our inbox was full of local interview request basically and that’s all I did all day Monday, was just answer phone calls, do interviews and went from studio to studio to studio.
Okay by this point, we’re still pitching a little bit but it’s pretty much expanding on its own with that ripple effect. Okay, we thought it was done Monday night. Like wow, this was awesome. We succeeded. Then we woke up Tuesday and we started seeing articles from HuffPo, WoPo, all the posts pretty much, New York Post, CNN. Okay NFL. Bleacher Report. It was just insane. We were like oh my gosh. This is crazy. So Tuesday ends. That was amazing. It was better than we could ever imagine.
Then we woke up Wednesday, okay. And I was trying to Zen out, was going to yoga to do some breathing. I walk into the gym and I look up and our campaign is on ESPN like well now I’m not going to be able to Namaste. So go back and sure enough, it’s on SportsCenter like five times on Sports Nations on Jalen and Jacobee. It just goes all over the place. Okay, and when it was all said and done, we earned a 110 linking root domains with an average DA of 54, okay? Spent about $1,200. So cost per link was about 10 bucks. Right not bad for a day’s work, right?
So let’s talk about how to handle it when it blows up. I gotta go fast here.
Be prepared for your interviews. Imposter syndrome might hit real hard. Ignore the haters. Prepare damage control team, and prepare any follow ups.
Okay, when the interviews start happening you have to assume the role of spokesperson. Okay, you have to be on message. You have to be prepared for all the questions.
Let me show you a little clip from CBC. They’re basically the NPR of Canada. Okay, they gave me the hardest interview by far.

Video playing:
Ryan Charles, if the San Diego Chargers called you up at HireAHelper right now and asked you to help move the team, what words would you choose? Even if they said pretty please? Yeah, so why are you doing this? Has everybody signed on in your industry? How many companies do you have left to contact? What kind of response is getting in from other fans in and around San Diego? How would you describe the degree of your own fandom? How much do you love the team?
Now at least one fan lobbed eggs at the team’s headquarters. I understand it. Some have been burning memorabilia. Why is everyone so passionate about the Chargers? So the team is I understand it decided to move after a pretty bitter fight to try and get a new stadium built that involved a tax to help build it and voters, they rejected that tax. So do you think maybe locals have to bear some blame for this? Well you are outside of the San Diego proper, I guess you’re in the county. Would you have been willing to pay more tax to keep the team? So in the end someone else is going to end up moving this team, right? I mean, it’s a nice effort you’re making but it’s not going to stop them.
I guess one of the Los Angeles moving company could quite easily just drive down the highway pick him up and bring him back. So does that hurt give them that you love them so much and some of them don’t even want them? We’ll look good luck. Good luck finding a new team to root for. Well thanks for talking to us.

Ryan Charles:
I was just like, “Look lady. I’m just here for the easy link. Come on.
No, but you really do have to be prepared. Okay, you need to know the story inside and out. Unfortunately, I had actually followed it because I was in San Diego and I knew about all about the taxes and I feel like I gave a semi-educated answer on those things, but you got to be prepared.
Okay imposter syndrome might hit real hard. I feel you Sarah. Okay when CNN did an article on this I turn to my Managing Editor Alan. I said, “Alan. CNN should not be covering this, okay? And he turns to me and he says, “Ryan, do you know how many dumb stories CNN has covered? 12-year old passenger waves to Mom. Viewers mad after man is not eaten by snake. Pope has gained weight. Okay.
So the truth of the matter is if they deem it newsworthy at that point in time, it is. Okay and you just sit back and you just own it at this point in time, okay.
Haters are gonna hate. Okay, I expected crazy comments. I did not expect an article from an Uproxx writer basically flaming the whole thing and me personally for my quotes. So that was that was rough to come across right away. So you got to mentally prepare for that. Okay commentary from all sides is very normal. Okay, just realize you can’t please everyone. I got over this very quickly with the help of my colleagues and friends, okay.
And the best part was you can just let the rational masses fight your battle. Okay, the top comments on this post where it’s infuriatingly stupid that he wrote a story bashing someone for standing up for their city. Is this writer seriously or serious? What’s the matter got picked on by jocks when you were a kid? It’s called city pride and loyalty good for them. Okay, so it was really cool to see all these people coming to my defense essentially. All right, but the best part is. He gave us a link. Okay, so come at me with the links, bro.
All right, you need to prepare a damage control team. Okay. You need to have a high fidelity message and get everybody on the same page. There was one national outlet that called me said I contacted some of these moving companies. They said they have no idea what I’m talking about and they didn’t sign up for this and then she said the two scary words. Is this fake news? And my heart just stopped.
And I started freaking out immediately and I immediately tried to explain to her. These are big moving companies. Okay, they have call center representatives. If you probably talk to a call center person who had no idea what they’re doing. And that is exactly what happened.
Okay, but for the next hour I was trying to convince her of this and trying to get her to talk to the manager of some moving company and I’m sending your screenshots of emails from movers that had like agreed to be on the site basically and it was just an hour of terror because this story was already huge. If it turned around to be fake news or was reported as such I don’t know what would happen, but it would have been bad.
Okay, so fortunately she says, you know, it’s ok. I believe you I can hear it in your voice. I talked to the person. I see the screenshots. Okay, but then she didn’t even write a story about it. So that was a bummer but you need to be prepared for that kind of thing. You can’t handle it by yourself. You need to have a team. Okay.
All right. Thanks for stopping by. Remember add this to your digital marketers toolbox. Okay, because it is an awesome tool to whip out every once in a while. It’s an affordable way to earn big links. Anyone can technically do this. Ask the six questions. Before you do be prepared be fast. Don’t be a news jackass and remember, 60% of the time newsjacking works every time. Okay. Thanks.

Run that was amazing, but we’re out of time, I’m afraid. Okay, so no chance of, great. I’ll take that clicker. But Ryan Charles, thank you so much for being here.

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