Newsjacking is a trend in online publishing, where where you inject your own ideas into breaking news, in order to get coverage yourself.
I did a simple newsjack this week. After the WSOP finally released their schedule, after putting out the initial release, I followed it up with a column where I shared my thoughts on the changes to the schedule. It was an easy content decision to make, because the conversation of the WSOP was ripe and people still wanted to discuss and read about it.
Popular ways for media to newsjack include top lists, interviews, opinion pieces, and ‘twitter reactions’ features.
The GPI newsjack the Partouche cheating scandal
Newsjacking sounds very much a poker media device, and it is, but it is even more effective as a poker marketing device. When timed well, newsjacking can bring with it a lot of free publicity, traffic and authority.
A great example of newsjacking for marketing purposes in poker came this week. Alexandre Dreyfus of the Global Poker Index announced that that the GPI would be suspending Jean-Paul Pasqualini and Cedric Rossi from their rankings. This came hot off the heels of a video of them being released which had evidence of their alleged cheating at a Partouche Poker Tour final table.
Have Pasqualini and Rossi been banned from a casino, tour or event as a direct result of this suspension? No. Were they even close to topping a GPI leader board? No. Do they even know or care what the GPI is? Possibly not. If you break it down, it was quite an empty gesture in itself, but it was also a brilliant PR move.
Dreyfus struck while the iron was hot, namely this story about Partouche cheating scandal. He created a controversial storyline which was easy for poker media sites to pick up, and was currently part of the conversation that was taking place on poker forums. Most poker sites picked up the story, and some even newsjacked it themselves with opinion pieces to further the discussion.
Am I saying Dreyfus was disingenuous? Not at all, I do believe that he is trying to progress the game and discourage cheating, and I do believe that the GPI had always planned to introduce the concept of Player Trust Ratings too, which was the other big announcement from them in this story. I just think he was very shrewd with his timing. It’s a win-win for me, a fantastic PR move and a genuine way to further the discussion about cheating in poker, and to put people off doing it.
More examples of newsjacking
The undisputed kings of newsjacking in gambling are Paddy Power, who are renowned for their publicity stunts with a hint of satire. Just this week they did their classic newsjacking stunt of offering ridiculous odds on something in current affairs. This week it was opening a book and suggesting that hardcore atheist Richard Dawkins might become the next Pope at the cleverly priced 666/1.
Did anyone believe they were being serious, and will anyone bet a single £1 on it? Not at all, but at (presumably) zero cost to themselves they have been mentioned in hundreds of national newspapers as a result.
Another newsjacking instance this week came from one of the few sponsored players who is really aware of his brand image, Randy ‘nanonoko’ Lew. Randy created his own version of the latest internet meme the Harlem Shuffle. Classic newsjacking, he took a conversation which was already happening, and put himself into it:
Get in there early
The key to newsjacking is to get in there early. If you are one of the first to respond to it, you get an opportunity to become the authority on that subject. If your website is the first to report on a story, it is the one which will get linked to by everyone else.
I found myself, inadvertently, living this example a few months ago. I was one of the first people to retweet the Daily Mail article about Phil Ivey not getting paid his winnings by Crockfords Casino. As a result the Daily Mail rang me up to be an expert, and asked if it was possible to cheat at Craps.
It was vanity which made me do it, and I regretted it, because it really is an awful rag of a paper. But it didn’t stop there, in the next 24 hours I got contacted by ITV and CNN to do an interview too, which I turned down. However had I been looking for that publicity, it would have been a dream, and all because I was the first ‘authority’ figure to tweet a story (If you ever want to get this sort of exposure for your brand, just sign up to Help a Reporter Out, and you will get the chance to),
The rules of media are changing, and there are now many ways to get effective poker marketing without having to spend a fortune. Newsjacking is a brilliant example of how poker media and poker businesses can both make the most of a conversation which is already happening to increase their own exposure, as long as they can be quick and creative, and time it just right.
And yes, I guess you could say I am newsjacking the Global Poker Index story myself.
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