Tactical Marketing: Newsjacking
Updated: Jul 13
Coined by David Meerman Scott in 2011, this combo of “news” and “hijacking” made its way to the Oxford Dictionary and became a buzzword in the world of marketing. Newsjacking is the process of putting your brand or business in the spotlight by either contributing or sharing your take on a breaking news story before it gets picked up by the rest of the world. That way, you get to be the talk of the town, giving yourself more exposure, more potential customers, and ultimately, more revenue.
Whether you’re a one-man startup or a multimillion-dollar company, there are many ways to make yourself relevant simply by keeping up with current events. A prime example is how Elon Musk became a news item with a single tweet pledging to help restore Ukraine’s internet during the Russian invasion of February 2022.
But even if you’re not the man who bought Twitter for $44 billion, here are six ways you can harness newsjacking to boost your brand’s presence on social media.
1. Help a Reporter Out (HARO)
Journalists are always on the hunt for their next news scoop, and by answering their queries in a relevant way, you can get yourself a byline or backlinks to your website. Besides free publicity, backlinks from sites with high domain authority can raise your SEO ranking. However, if you want to get noticed, you must reply as soon as you can, since many others are competing to get picked as sources. You can do this by positioning yourself as an expert in your field, and providing genuinely relevant and unique information.
2. LinkedIn News Roundup
By making posts about topics getting traction on LinkedIn, you can get featured in the platform’s news roundup. If your post happens to be helpful, informative, and relevant, more people may want to view your profile, and if it’s optimized to promote your business, then you can generate leads for free.
3. Viral-worthy Memes
Memes are a good way to attract attention. Just tread carefully when dealing with controversial topics. Poking fun at pop culture happenings is usually less likely to receive backlash and negative publicity.
4. Helping Out During a Crisis
Politicians, non-government organizations, and even fandoms band together for donation drives and fundraisers. You can do the same for your business, by lowering prices, donating products, starting a fundraiser, or offering services for free. But for this to work, you must have a genuine desire to help. You don’t want to risk this being taken as a cheap publicity stunt.
5. Sharing your thoughts through a podcast, blog, or social media post.
For instance, if you run an eco-friendly business, you can share an infographic during Earth Hour.
Here are a couple of examples to inspire you. During a Superbowl blackout in 2013, Oreo’ tweeted about the situation. “Power out? No Problem. You can still dunk in the dark,” the ad said. Tide also came up with its own quip. Both posts racked up shares and likes. Years later, when candidate withdrawal became a hot topic in the lead-up to local presidential elections, the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) used clever wordplay in a post, increasing its engagement and getting over 134,000 Shares on Facebook.
To be successful at newsjacking, you need to keep two things in mind. First, speed is of the essence. Second, don’t be insensitive. React fast, but don’t post something you’ll later regret. Your goal is to increase brand awareness, so you want to be seen in a positive light.
Newsjacking can be daunting if you try it on your own. If you want to get your messaging right, contact us at Beeline, and we’ll guide you each step of the way.