Newsjacking as a marketing strategy was popularised by David Meerman Scott in his book Newsjacking: How to Inject Your Ideas into a Breaking News Story and Generate Tons of Media Coverage. Newsjacking describes the practice of aligning a brand with a current event to generate media attention and increase brand exposure.
|Definition||Newsjacking is a real-time marketing technique that involves capitalizing on current news events or trending topics to promote a brand, product, or service. The term was coined by David Meerman Scott in his book “Newsjacking: How to Inject your Ideas into a Breaking News Story and Generate Tons of Media Coverage.” This strategy aims to gain attention and engage with a broader audience by aligning a brand’s message or content with ongoing news stories or discussions. Newsjacking requires speed, agility, and the ability to create relevant and timely content that resonates with the news event. When executed effectively, newsjacking can lead to increased brand visibility, website traffic, and social media engagement. It is commonly used in content marketing and public relations.|
|Key Concepts||– Timeliness: Newsjacking is reliant on the timely release of content or messages, often within hours of a breaking news event. – Relevance: The content or message must be directly related or relevant to the news story to be effective. – Real-Time Engagement: Newsjacking involves active engagement with ongoing discussions on social media or news platforms. – Viral Potential: Successful newsjacking can lead to content going viral and gaining widespread attention. – Brand Alignment: It requires aligning the brand’s message with the values and themes of the news event.|
|Characteristics||– Agility: Newsjacking requires rapid response and the ability to create content quickly. – Creativity: Successful newsjacking often involves creative and witty content that captures attention. – Monitoring: Constant monitoring of news and social media is essential to identify relevant opportunities. – Risk: There is a risk of misjudging the tone or relevance of a news story, potentially harming the brand’s image. – Short-Term Impact: Newsjacking is often a short-term strategy, as it relies on current events.|
|Implications||– Brand Exposure: Newsjacking can significantly increase brand exposure when content goes viral. – Audience Engagement: It engages with a wider audience by participating in trending discussions. – Reputation Management: Effective newsjacking can enhance a brand’s reputation for being current and relevant. – Risk Management: There is a risk of negative backlash if newsjacking is done insensitively or inappropriately. – Content Generation: It requires consistent and rapid content generation capabilities.|
|Advantages||– Increased Visibility: Newsjacking can lead to a significant increase in brand visibility and awareness. – Audience Engagement: It engages with a broader audience that is already interested in the news topic. – Cost-Effective: Compared to traditional advertising, newsjacking can be cost-effective, especially on social media platforms. – Relevance: It positions the brand as relevant and in touch with current events. – Competitive Edge: Effective newsjacking can give a brand a competitive edge by staying ahead of competitors in capturing market attention.|
|Drawbacks||– Risk of Insensitivity: There is a risk of coming across as insensitive or exploiting a tragedy or sensitive event. – Limited Longevity: Newsjacking content often has a short lifespan due to the transient nature of news. – Resource-Intensive: It requires constant monitoring and rapid content creation, which can be resource-intensive. – Overcrowding: Popular news stories can become crowded with newsjacking attempts, making it challenging to stand out. – Reputation Damage: Inappropriate newsjacking attempts can harm a brand’s reputation.|
|Applications||– Social Media Campaigns: Brands often use newsjacking in their social media campaigns to engage with trending topics. – Content Marketing: Newsjacking is integrated into content marketing strategies to create timely and relevant content. – Public Relations: PR professionals use newsjacking to position their clients or organizations as thought leaders. – Event Promotion: Event organizers can employ newsjacking to promote their events by linking them to relevant news stories. – Product Launches: Newsjacking can be used to draw attention to product launches by aligning them with current events.|
|Use Cases||– Oreo’s Super Bowl Tweet: During Super Bowl XLVII in 2013, when a blackout occurred, Oreo seized the opportunity and tweeted a clever image with the caption “You can still dunk in the dark.” This tweet went viral and garnered widespread attention. – Tide’s Gronk Stain Tweet: After a widely publicized incident where NFL player Rob Gronkowski’s jersey was stolen, Tide quickly newsjacked the story by tweeting, “When your jersey goes missing, there’s only one thing to do. Make a new one. #OneofaKind.” – NASA’s Mars Landing: When NASA’s rover successfully landed on Mars, several brands, including Snickers and the New York Times, tweeted witty messages celebrating the event. – Real-Time Marketing During Events: Many brands newsjack live events like award shows and sports events by posting relevant content as events unfold. – News-Related Blog Posts: Companies in the finance sector often write blog posts that analyze and provide insights into breaking news stories related to the financial markets.|
Newsjacking differs from a publicity stunt in that the news item is leveraged in the marketing campaign and not in a public venue or place of business. Essentially, the company employing newsjacking as a strategy is piggybacking off of a newsworthy event and the large amount of discussion these events generate.
A decade or so ago, businesses would attempt to use the strategy during large, televised events such as the Super Bowl or Academy Awards. With many consumers becoming desensitized to traditional forms of advertising, newsjacking has moved to social media and other online channels.
Newsjacking and the life of a news story
Meerman argues that for newsjacking to be effective, timing is everything. Ideas must be injected into a breaking news story at a precise moment to encourage viral spread.
One way to visualize the life of a news story is to consider a bell curve with time on the x-axis and interest level on the y-axis. The first key point on the curve is where the news breaks. Here, there are low-interest levels because a small amount of time has elapsed and the story has not reached a lot of the population.
As more time passes, interest levels grow. This causes journalists to scramble for additional information about the story which in turn causes an increase in public interest. For businesses, the ideal time to insert their marketing message is between the point where the news breaks and the point where it is picked up by the media.
As the media reports on the who, what, when, and where of the story, they often struggle with the why. In other words, the implications of the event. Marketing strategists who are clever enough to get in at this point add the story of their own brand to the wider news story. In essence, the news and brand become inseparable as the business associates itself with the event via a blog post, tweet, media alert, or press release.
Real-world examples of newsjacking
Here are three real-world examples of companies successfully employing newsjacking:
Oreo and the 2013 Super Bowl blackout
When the 2013 Super Bowl suffered an electricity outage for approximately 30 minutes, biscuit company Oreo tweeted that sports fans could still “dunk in the dark”. The tweet amassed over 16,000 re-tweets because the marketing team was able to respond to a farcical situation with brevity and wit.
Mashable and the 2015 Golden Globes
Digital media giant Mashable wrote a timely article about crafting Golden Globe cocktails at home in the lead-up to the 2015 awards. This allowed award fans to drink like their favorite celebrities and increased brand exposure for Mashable.
Kit Kat and the iPhone 6
When the iPhone 6 launched in 2014, many Apple fans complained about a tendency for the smartphone to bend while in their back pockets. In response, the company released a tweet remarking “We don’t bend, we #break.” The tweet represented a subtle dig at Apple but was not so offensive that it started a brand war. The tweet has since been reposted over 22,000 times.
- Newsjacking involves a brand or business mentioning or creating a separate campaign around a major news event. The strategy leverages news exposure to increase brand awareness.
- Newsjacking was most often used during televised events such as the Super Bowl. As consumers have become savvier, efforts are now mostly focused on social media.
- Biscuit maker Oreo used newsjacking to capitalize on an electricity outage during the 2013 Super Bowl.
- Definition and Purpose: Newsjacking is a marketing strategy introduced by David Meerman Scott, involving aligning a brand with a current news event to gain media attention and enhance brand exposure.
- Differentiation from Publicity Stunts: Newsjacking distinctively employs a current news item in the marketing campaign rather than creating a public spectacle. It involves leveraging ongoing discussions related to a significant news story.
- Shift to Online Channels: Originally associated with large televised events, newsjacking has adapted to social media and online platforms due to changing consumer behavior and desensitization to traditional advertising.
- Importance of Timing: Successful newsjacking hinges on precise timing. The goal is to inject marketing ideas into a breaking news story just before it gains widespread media coverage to encourage viral spread.
- Life of a News Story: Visualized as a bell curve, the interest level grows over time after a news story breaks. Effective newsjacking occurs between the initial break and when media coverage escalates.
- Adding to the “Why”: News stories often leave room for interpretation regarding the implications of the event. Skilled marketers capitalize on this by integrating their brand’s narrative into the news story.
- Real-World Examples:
- Oreo and the Super Bowl: Oreo tweeted during a Super Bowl blackout, showcasing humor and brevity, which garnered significant re-tweets.
- Mashable and Golden Globes: Mashable capitalized on the Golden Globes by publishing an article about crafting cocktails related to the event, thereby increasing their brand exposure.
- Kit Kat and iPhone 6: Kit Kat tweeted a playful jab at the iPhone 6’s bending issue, generating over 22,000 reposts.
- Key Takeaways:
- Newsjacking involves connecting a brand or campaign with a major news event to boost brand visibility.
- The strategy has transitioned from TV events to primarily focusing on social media platforms.
- Successful newsjacking requires perfect timing and integration with the news narrative.
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