One of the most interesting business people I've ever interviewed is Trent Silver the owner of Media Mogul.
Trent first experienced the power of the media when he started a business at age 18 offering to buy secondhand gold from people all across the United States.
His business was too successful and he ended up with tens of thousands of clients who wanted to use his services and he just couldn't cope with so many.
ABC News did a story about Trent and his business and Trent found himself on television apologising for the poor service he was giving clients and offering whatever it took to make sure they all ended up happy.
Within a few days of his TV interview Trent had dozens of business people contact him and ask if he could train them how to handle the media better. And they offered to pay Trent large fees for this training.
A great example of the saying 'There's a silver lining in every cloud.'
Trent went on to start a number of different businesses and he began to experiment with Charitable NewsJacking as a marketing strategy.
One of his most interesting success stories was with his online business Cash for Purses.
This business buys and sells second hand designer purses and handbags and Trent still owns it today.
Now the way Charitable NewsJacking works is like this.
1: First of all you take a breaking news story and then you 'hijack' it.
Trent loves working with breaking news stories about celebrities and famous people.
A while ago the actress Lindsay Lohan had some well documented financial problems that were plastered across the media.
Trent made an offer to Lindsay to pay her thousands of dollars for all of her designer purses and handbags. This offer was made on behalf of his business Cash for Purses.
Trent sent out press releases about his offer and did some creative marketing to get it picked up by around 100 different media outlets.
2: Trent always likes to tie in something charitable whenever he does 'Charitable NewsJacking.'
So in the Lindsay Lohan example he offered give her money for her handbags and he also offered to match that with a donation to charity worth a similar amount.
Now Lindsay Lohan never took advantage of Trent's offer. But because of the massive publicity that Trent gained with his Charitable NewsJacking exercise Trent's online business Cash for Purses gained an extra $200,000 in new revenues.
So Charitable NewsJacking can be highly profitable!
Here's another example:
A few years ago Trent had a client with an all-natural sleeping aid called 'Dreamer'. Dreamer is also a mild sedative so a side effect is that it makes you calmer when you take it.
Trent used Charitable NewsJacking in an interesting way for this client. Trent offered to give Kim Jong-un the ruler of North Korea a life time free supply of 'Dreamer' so he would be calmer and more rational.
Trent also offered to make Kim the official spokesperson for his client's product.
At the time Trent did this, Kim was all across the news around his threats to launch long range missiles at the United States. Trent made his offer tongue in cheek and never expected to hear back from Kim. However his client got incredible publicity as a result.
The end result is they sold thousands of bottles of this natural sleep remedy. They also made a donation of a percentage of every sale to the Make A Wish Foundation which helps sick children make their dreams come true. So a nice win-win for everyone.
One of the keys to Charitable NewsJacking is you have to know what is going on in the news. That's why reading Google News and getting Google Alerts is so helpful.
A big key with Charitable Newsjacking is that you have to take action and actually do something. That's why Trent shared with me his 'Christmas Eve Marketing Strategy' which is one of the best take action strategies I've ever come across.
Remember the excitement of Christmas Eve as a child when you knew you would wake up in the morning and get to open up all the Christmas presents under the tree that had your name on them? Trent starts each morning with the same enthusiasm and excitement.
What Trent does every single night (before he goes to sleep) is send out 30-50 emails to key influencers. These key influencers might include: reporters at well-known media outlets, Shark Tank judges, bloggers with huge audiences, a-list celebrities, venture capitalists.
In each email Trent invites the person receiving it to take action: Maybe review a product he has. Maybe chat about a potential partnership. Maybe feature a product Trent has.
Maybe do a news story on a product he has. And so on.
Trent finds that by sending out 30-50 emails like this every night he usually gets at least 2-3 influencers every morning who reply to his emails and offer to help him.
Trent is only 26 years old and is already a master at generating positive publicity for his clients with his 'Charitable NewsJacking' Strategy.
He also told me that anyone can do what he did. The key is you have to get started.
"Publicity is absolutely critical. A good PR story is infinitely more effective than a front page ad." - Richard Branson
How could you use 'Charitable Newsjacking' in your business?