Newsjacking: How to Get Your Content to go Viral

A creative hack to gain exposure
Newsjacking: How to Get Your Content to go Viral
Jake McNeill
August 10, 2021
5 min read
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Rise at Seven is the fastest growing SEO agency in the UK. They have gone from £0 - £2 MM turnover in 18 months

What I love about their story is they have done it differently.

Here’s their story. And how you can use similar tactics to go viral on social media and build your personal brand. 

When entering the market with your first creative business in a crowded market you have three choices.

  1. Do the same thing everyone else is doing but better
  2. Do the same thing everyone else is doing but cheaper
  3. Or do it differently and disrupt the market

Carrie Rose and Rise at Seven do things differently. And have disrupted the market as a result. 

They don’t just create backlinks for their clients. They create viral content which creates the backlinks and gets people googling their clients. 

Drivers vs Facilitators

In her blog post, Carrie Rose broke down her strategy down. Like all great ideas the genius is in its simplicity.

Brands love SEO. It’s literally consumers who are searching to buy their products. 

What’s not to like, right? 

The trouble is you’re competing with every other brand in your market. 

It’s a race to the top of google or to the bottom with pricing. 

They are essentially the two strategies.

Carries idea was to combine content marketing, digital PR to create viral content that not only creates new backlinks but drives the searches to their website.

Their # 1 tool? Newsjacking. 


WTF is  Newsjacking? It’s a PR tactic taking stories, trends, or opinions and getting their clients to the heart of it.

It means you have to be fast and reactive. Jumping on current trends is one of the most effective ways to go viral and get results. 

It’s strapping yourself or your brand to someone else’s rocket.


Example 1

The morning after the pubs and bars reopened after a lockdown in the UK, the rise at seven team saw that google searches for the morning after pill rocketed 300%.

They immediately tied this story to their clients, Lloyds Chemists the largest chemist chain in the UK.

The results? 

News stories in the UK’s biggest newspapers The Sun, The Mirror, and The Times all with their clients at the forefront of the story. 

This only takes them a few minutes to turn it around. No expensive photoshoots to plan, just spotting opportunities to put their clients at the heart of a clickable story.

Example 2

The Hedgehog Holiday Park.

The rise at seven team noticed that hedgehogs had been placed on the endangered species list.

They saw this as an opportunity for their clients, Parkdean Holiday Parks. They built a model of a Hedgehog Holiday Park

This generated 223 links including national newspaper coverage in several countries.

The story drove 18,000 unique visitors to Parkdean’s website. The video got over 100,000 views.

The story even reached America’s NBC news. 

Planned viral content

Rise at seven also create proactive campaigns.

Game hired Rise in 2019.

Game had just launched new gaming chairs. The challenge was to rank this page in time for Christmas.

Getting press on gaming chairs is no mean feat. Carrie came up with a genius idea based around Christmas to drive traffic and links to the game chairs.

Christmas Tinner. A whole Christmas dinner in a tin. 

The story went viral globally. It was featured in national newspapers, TV shows and major websites eventually driving over 400 links to Game’s gaming chairs to # 1 on the google search. 

Why it works

Everything comes down to stories that are clickable. 

Stories come from having good ideas.

That’s what the media want. That’s what the algorithms want, too.

That’s what everyone wants.

In order to get the ideas you need to create the story and reverse engineer it.

Game wanted gaming chairs to rank before Christmas. 

Carrie used Christmas dinner the foundations of a family Christmas at the heart of the story. 

She then used people’s obsessions with their games to create a fake product that gamers could ‘enjoy’ and not leave their chairs and games. 

It works on every level. 

Want to create your own viral stories?

Here’s the breakdown:

What:  Create the hook. The story in one sentence. Remember simplicity sells. If you can’t describe the idea in one sentence; it’s not going to work. 

Why: Will anyone care? The So what? test. If people don’t care they won’t tell anyone else.

How: The nuts and bolts — how are you going to create the story?

Where: Which publications or social platforms, influencers is it going to work for?


  • Immerse yourself in the news and social media. Spot breaking stories and create content that puts you or your clients at the heart of it.
  • Write the hook first and then create the story around it. Without a hook, it has zero chance. 
  • The so what? test. Check your hooks/ stories. Who will care?
  • Divide opinion. The best way to get traction is with contrarian opinions. If you divide opinion the content with stick. Warning: you need thick skin for this strategy as people get really angry on the internet!
  • Come up with ideas. The best way to get good ideas is to have lots of bad ideas

Interested in 1-2-1 Creative Business/ Personal Branding Strategy?

I help creators and solopreneurs become famous in their niches. I specialise in:

  • Critical thinking and mental models for clarity and focus
  • Building simple repeatable processes to achieve long term goals
  • Starting new creative businesses
  • Standing out in saturated markets
  • Overcoming creative blocks that are holding you back
  • Turning audiences into super fans

I do discovery calls to see if we’re a good fit.

Cost? $0.00 Commitment? Zero. Time? 30 minutes

More info? Go here

A bit about me

I’m an ex- multi-platinum artist manager. I created strategies and built audiences for artists who sold millions. I’ve challenged myself to write 50 articles in 50 working days. 40 down, 10 to go.

You can read more in the archives here. Find out more information on my website or connect on my LinkedIn

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