Newsjacking is a term typically used to refer to the practice of taking advantage of current news topics - or ‘newsjacking’ - to promote a brand or product. The concept first appeared in the marketing world in David Meerman Scott’s book, The New Rules of Marketing & PR, where he refers to it as the process of ‘infiltrating the news cycle with clever guerrilla marketing tactics that capitalize on current events’. It’s a tactic which, when done well, can enable businesses to generate free press and increase visibility.
In a nutshell, newsjacking is the process of exposing your brand or product to a large audience through the use of current news topics and trends. It’s an effective way to reach an audience that might otherwise have never heard of your company or its products.
The concept behind newsjacking is simple: you take a trending news story or conversation, and quickly create content that piggybacks on the narrative, drawing attention to you and your product. The idea is that by tapping into an existing audience viewing the particular news story, you can grab more attention for your own website or product.
However, it can be challenging to successfully navigate the news feed to make sure your content stands out without seeming opportunistic or inauthentic. To be effective, you need to assess whether there’s a way your company can contribute to the discussion without coming off as taking advantage of a major news event.
To help you get started with newsjacking, here are the four main steps of the process.
1. Monitor the News Feed
In order to take advantage of a news story, you’ll need to be monitoring the news feed for trends and popular conversations. This can be done through a variety of channels, from subscribing to newsfeeds from websites like CNN to creating lists on Twitter or monitoring hashtags. You should also be on the lookout for any news articles about your industry or those containing keyword phrases related to your product.
2. Brainstorm Ideas
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Once you’ve identified a news story or conversation worth capitalising on, it’s time to get creative and think of ways you can contribute to the conversation. This could involve anything from creating content related to the topic, such as blog posts and videos, to writing a press release or social media post. The idea is that you’re able to create something that adds to the now popular news story, rather than just repeating what has already been said.
3. Consider Timing and Tone
Before you can launch your newsjacking campaign, you need to think about the timing and tone of your content. Make sure you’re contributing to the conversation with something appropriate, relevant and timely. It’s important to get the timing right too, as news stories quickly become forgotten – you need to act quickly and get your content out there before the conversation moves on.
4. Promote Your Content
Once you’ve created your content and got it out there, it’s time to ensure that as many people as possible see it. Promote your content on social media, press releases and blogs, and use any other channels that you think will be effective.
Whilst newsjacking could be an effective marketing tool, it doesn’t come without risks. Before attempting to newsjack a story, you should consider the potential implications it could have on your brand. If you decide to jump on the bandwagon, make sure you have considered all the angles and have a strategy that supports a positive outcome for your company.
Newsjacking can be a great way to generate exposure for your brand and products, but it should be done carefully. Monitor the news feed, brainstorm ideas, and be sure to consider the implications of your newsjacking. Timing and tone are also important – make sure you get your content out there quickly, but make sure it’s appropriate and relevant to the original story. Once it’s out there, promote your content as much as possible to ensure you reach the largest audience. If done right, newsjacking could be a powerful way to drive traffic to your website and increase awareness of your brand and products.