How to Use Breaking News Stories to Instantly Promote Your Website, Services, or Books

How to Use Breaking News Stories to Instantly Promote Your Website, Services, or Books

I performed a social media experiment last weekend and it was a huge success!

After all of the hullabaloo about the Alex Murdaugh trial, I decided to see how much attention I could get for our business (not only new likes and shares, but also clicks to WritersWeekly.com) by writing something interesting about the case, and promoting it on social media.

But, how would I connect this case to anything related to writing? I found something and it wasn’t that hard. According to the Wall Street Journal, Alex Murdaugh’s oldest son, Buster, was kicked out of law school for plagiarism. We have discussed that topic several times over the years on WritersWeekly so, bingo! This was the title of my posts on my writing-related social media accounts: DID PLAGIARISM PLAY A SMALL ROLE IN THE MURDAUGH FAMILY MURDERS? (More about that is below.)

I bet YOU can figure out an angle to use breaking news to promote your website, services, or books, too!

The article itself had a completely different title because my social media posts were appealing to the general public, not just writers.

I spent most of Saturday writing the article below (and, I admit, it was very interesting pulling all those tidbits together). Then, I created one long video to post on all my social media accounts. That did not do so well on TikTok. Don’t get me wrong. It trended great…for a few hours. It was on its way to going viral. It had more than 20,000 views by the time I went to bed.

But, all of the sudden, the clicks slowed down to a snail’s pace. I researched it. I had made the final screen run too long. People were clicking out of the video before it was finished playing because they’d already read the last screen. If people don’t watch your ENTIRE video, TikTok will throttle your exposure. Lesson learned.

The next morning, I started turning that long video into five shorter videos and I made the last screen of each one only as long as the previous screens (they averaged 7-8 seconds). I posted the first video of the series on TikTok and it instantly took off. Anyone with a TikTok account can click on my profile to see the other parts. If you do not have a TikTok account, here are the direct links to the rest of the series:

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

At one point that evening, the first video was getting 2,000 views per minute. I was also getting comments on the videos faster than I could read them.  The views on each video are fewer than the previous one, meaning Part 1 had more views than Part 2. Part 2 had more views than Part 3, etc. That is not unusual. I was very happy with the exposure the first video received.

IMPORTANT: I did not post all of the videos at the same time. TikTok doesn’t like that. I spread the postings out over two hours after posting the first one in the evening. I also made sure to use hashtags in my original posts (not just on TikTok) and, of course, the title of the article, and to include the URL to my article. My TikTok account is a personal one. If it was a business account (I’m going to upgrade), the URL could have been a hot link in the video description. But, again, this was just an experiment. I also featured the URL to the article in the final screen in each video, directing people to our website.

On TikTok alone, I received more than 100,000 views in less than 24 hours. As of today, I have received 180,175 combined views of the 5-part video series. The views slowed down considerably on Monday because the trial was back on TV and people were watching more updated information than my article provided. However, I am still getting views and comments on the videos today (four days later). I also gained several hundred new followers on TikTok.

As you can see, using the hottest news story of the week to promote our website, and my social media accounts, WORKED! In a HUGE WAY!

I not only posted the series of five shorter videos on TikTok. I posted the long video, and links to our website on Facebook (3 accounts), Twitter (4 accounts), LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest (3 accounts), and YouTube.

I think Facebook hid my video. I received only one like. That was it. Somebody at Facebook didn’t like my post.

However…

WHAT BROUGHT IN THE MOST TRAFFIC

On Twitter… Wow!! That attention wasn’t from me posting the video (the long one) to my Twitter account. It was from me “replying” to heavily-trafficked posts about the trial on that site, mainly posts made by major news media accounts and other popular journalists who were writing about the trial. Even influencers were posting about it.

I didn’t even have to post the video. I simply posted the link to my article when “replying” to posts and Twitter automatically pulled in the article title and the image used on our site for it. NOTE: Do NOT use hashtags when “replying” to others’ posts. That would be in poor taste and your “reply” might get deleted.

Furthermore, for writers in particular, I did not post the actual title of my article. That title did not specifically target writers. Instead, I posted social media posts in my own writing-related accounts with this headline:

DID PLAGIARISM PLAY A SMALL ROLE IN THE MURDAUGH FAMILY MURDERS?

And, that was not deceiving. A man whose family empire was crumbling had one son humiliate the family through plagiarism another son do the same by driving a boat drunk, which resulted in one death and many injuries.

In the end, the most traffic to the site came from Twitter. However, I gained more than 1,000 new followers/friends on social media who will be seeing my other “breaking news advertorials” in the future.

I encourage you to see how you can also connect your website, service, or book(s) to breaking news, and see if you can also get this type of attention.

Incidentally, I wrote about using news sites to promote your own website or book(s) in 90+ Days of Promoting Your Book Online: Your Book’s Daily Marketing Plan – THIRD EDITION.

HERE IS THE ARTICLE THAT GOT SO MUCH ATTENTION:

35 of The Strangest Things Uncovered (and not) in the Alex Murdaugh Murder Trial + 5 CLEAR MOTIVES FOR THE MURDERS


Angela Hoy lives on a mountain in North Georgia. She is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, the President and CEO of BookLocker.com and AbuzzPress, and the author of 24 books.

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2 Responses to "How to Use Breaking News Stories to Instantly Promote Your Website, Services, or Books"

  1. Pamela Allegretto  March 7, 2023 at 8:59 pm

    Fascinating! Thank you!

  2. Rusty Williams  March 5, 2023 at 11:30 pm

    Angela—
    What a great experiment and a fantastic “how-to.” Thanks!