First Step in Newsjacking: Monitor News and Industry Trends

Mike Allton
Mike Allton Internet Marketing Consultant, The Social Media Hat

Posted on January 26th 2013

First Step in Newsjacking: Monitor News and Industry Trends
Use Google Currents to monitor news and industry trends

One of the biggest challenges for businesses who want to use content marketing to communicate is finding ideas and sources for new content topics. Since most of your blog topics should not be talking about your specific products or services, what do you talk about? One technique is referred to as Newsjacking. We will discuss Newsjacking in greater detail in another post, but the basic idea is that you will take a look at a trending story and then write about it. You may simply share the details with your audience, but it's even better if you can add some additional perspective that will be helpful or interesting, and uniquely you.

At The Social Media Hat, for instance, we often write about trending stories in Social Media and the Internet that are easily covered on other sites, but we also generally add our thoughts on what that particular story means to businesses. When Facebook announced their new Graph Search, for example, we talked about how that made it even more important that businesses take the time to create and develop a Facebook Page that talks in detail about what that business does, as it will come up in searches by millions of Facebook users.

Monitoring potential news sources is a challenge. One tool that we've reviewed previously is using a combination of RSS feeds from sources you've identified, plugged into Google Reader, and then accessible on your iPhone or iPad using Newsify. A less convoluted method is to use the Google Currents app.

Google Currents is designed to bring the latest and trending stories to your attention, from sources that you'll trust.

When you first open the app, you'll be asked to sign into your Google account - though it's not immediately obvious why that's necessary other than Google wants to be sure that every human on the planet has a Google account. Once logged in, you will see a few news sources that Google has loaded up for you, and an icon to tap to Add More. The default view is Featured sources, and you can click Library to see categories for more sources. You can even add sources from your Google Reader RSS feeds.

You can swipe through stories, share them, flag them and add them to read later. 

An udpate to the app also brought a number of improvements today, including:

  • Edition Sidebar - quickly access your editions within categories such as business, sports, etc.
  • Fast scan - Vertical swipe to scan an edition, horizontal swipe advances to next edition
  • Breaking stories - ranked by Google News. Linked to full length content.
  • Saved stories - star for future reference.
  • New catalog design

The new Google Currents design now mirrors Google+, and is typical of Google's design and rebranding efforts.

When I'm using Newsify or Google Currents, I tend to star articles that I want to read later, or write about. If there's a breaking story that I want to write about right away, I may email a copy to myself to open on my laptop (unless I'm going to write immediately on my iPad). When I find stories that are interesting, but not for my own content, I may share them to Facebook, Twitteror Google+.

Have you used Google Currents? If not, is there a different tool you're using to keep up with industry news?

Mike Allton

Mike Allton

Internet Marketing Consultant, The Social Media Hat

I love to help small businesses and organizations that are interested in using the Internet more effectively. I provide a comprehensive set of consulting services, which include Social Media, Blogging, website development, SEO and Internet marketing.

I started my own website design firm in 2007 when I moved to St. Louis. Though I had been designing websites for years, it was always side jobs and part time gigs until I started my own firm. I now provide professional web development and Internet consulting full time.

For most clients and projects, we start with a new website. The new site is based on the Drupal Content Management System (CMS) platform so that the client may log into their site and add or edit content any time they need to. Each CMS includes a built-in Blog and other content types like FAQs and Testimonials. The CMS also includes a full compliment of SEO and Social Media integration options so that every time they create a new blog entry, that post is automatically shared with search engines like Google and Bing, and can be easily posted to social networks like Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.

Once we have a great new website in place, I provide my business clients with ongoing marketing advice and assistance. I can tell them exactly what they need to do, or just do it for them, depending on how involved they wish to be. These ongoing activities can include blogging, creating and updating social network profiles, interacting with followers and readers, and managing online advertising campaigns.

I am the editor at The Social Media Hat ( where I regularly share articles discussing Social Media, SEO, Blogging, Writing, Internet Marketing and Business Technology.

My goal is to ensure that businesses are able to leverage the power and connectivity of the Internet to promote and grow their business. How can I help you with your own business today?

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Mike, Interesting timing on running in to this post. I've just recently gotten a Google Nexus 4, which comes pre-loaded with Current. I haven't checked it out until now. It looks very useful actually. I've added a half dozen sources to the Business section, several of which I've not heard of. I've been using Taptu a bit and Google Reader before this. Flipboard seems to be popular as is Pulse. Truly there are too many news readers and there will need to be a major shakeout soon.

You're right Michael, there are definitely more apps than one can reasonably expect to review and get to know. So far, using Newsify with Google Reader seems to be my favorite, at least for my own purposes.

Thanks for reading!