What Is Newsjacking And Why It Matters In Business

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.

DefinitionNewsjacking 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 ConceptsTimeliness: 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.
CharacteristicsAgility: 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.
ImplicationsBrand 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.
AdvantagesIncreased 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.
DrawbacksRisk 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.
ApplicationsSocial 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 CasesOreo’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.

Understanding newsjacking

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.

Source: 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.

Source: Kit Kat Tweet

Key takeaways:

  • 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.

Key Highlights

  • 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.

Visual Marketing Glossary

Account-Based Marketing

Account-based marketing (ABM) is a strategy where the marketing and sales departments come together to create personalized buying experiences for high-value accounts. Account-based marketing is a business-to-business (B2B) approach in which marketing and sales teams work together to target high-value accounts and turn them into customers.


Ad Ops – also known as Digital Ad Operations – refers to systems and processes that support digital advertisements’ delivery and management. The concept describes any process that helps a marketing team manage, run, or optimize ad campaigns, making them an integrating part of the business operations.

AARRR Funnel

Venture capitalist, Dave McClure, coined the acronym AARRR which is a simplified model that enables to understand what metrics and channels to look at, at each stage for the users’ path toward becoming customers and referrers of a brand.

Affinity Marketing

Affinity marketing involves a partnership between two or more businesses to sell more products. Note that this is a mutually beneficial arrangement where one brand can extend its reach and enhance its credibility in association with the other.

Ambush Marketing

As the name suggests, ambush marketing raises awareness for brands at events in a covert and unexpected fashion. Ambush marketing takes many forms, one common element, the brand advertising their products or services has not paid for the right to do so. Thus, the business doing the ambushing attempts to capitalize on the efforts made by the business sponsoring the event.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing describes the process whereby an affiliate earns a commission for selling the products of another person or company. Here, the affiliate is simply an individual who is motivated to promote a particular product through incentivization. The business whose product is being promoted will gain in terms of sales and marketing from affiliates.

Bullseye Framework

The bullseye framework is a simple method that enables you to prioritize the marketing channels that will make your company gain traction. The main logic of the bullseye framework is to find the marketing channels that work and prioritize them.

Brand Building

Brand building is the set of activities that help companies to build an identity that can be recognized by its audience. Thus, it works as a mechanism of identification through core values that signal trust and that help build long-term relationships between the brand and its key stakeholders.

Brand Dilution

According to inbound marketing platform HubSpot, brand dilution occurs “when a company’s brand equity diminishes due to an unsuccessful brand extension, which is a new product the company develops in an industry that they don’t have any market share in.” Brand dilution, therefore, occurs when a brand decreases in value after the company releases a product that does not align with its vision, mission, or skillset. 

Brand Essence Wheel

The brand essence wheel is a templated approach businesses can use to better understand their brand. The brand essence wheel has obvious implications for external brand strategy. However, it is equally important in simplifying brand strategy for employees without a strong marketing background. Although many variations of the brand essence wheel exist, a comprehensive wheel incorporates information from five categories: attributes, benefits, values, personality, brand essence.

Brand Equity

The brand equity is the premium that a customer is willing to pay for a product that has all the objective characteristics of existing alternatives, thus, making it different in terms of perception. The premium on seemingly equal products and quality is attributable to its brand equity.

Brand Positioning

Brand positioning is about creating a mental real estate in the mind of the target market. If successful, brand positioning allows a business to gain a competitive advantage. And it also works as a switching cost in favor of the brand. Consumers recognizing a brand might be less prone to switch to another brand.

Business Storytelling

Business storytelling is a critical part of developing a business model. Indeed, the way you frame the story of your organization will influence its brand in the long-term. That’s because your brand story is tied to your brand identity, and it enables people to identify with a company.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is one of the most powerful commercial activities which focuses on leveraging content production (text, audio, video, or other formats) to attract a targeted audience. Content marketing focuses on building a strong brand, but also to convert part of that targeted audience into potential customers.

Customer Lifetime Value

One of the first mentions of customer lifetime value was in the 1988 book Database Marketing: Strategy and Implementation written by Robert Shaw and Merlin Stone. Customer lifetime value (CLV) represents the value of a customer to a company over a period of time. It represents a critical business metric, especially for SaaS or recurring revenue-based businesses.

Customer Segmentation

Customer segmentation is a marketing method that divides the customers in sub-groups, that share similar characteristics. Thus, product, marketing and engineering teams can center the strategy from go-to-market to product development and communication around each sub-group. Customer segments can be broken down is several ways, such as demographics, geography, psychographics and more.

Developer Marketing

Developer marketing encompasses tactics designed to grow awareness and adopt software tools, solutions, and SaaS platforms. Developer marketing has become the standard among software companies with a platform component, where developers can build applications on top of the core software or open software. Therefore, engaging developer communities has become a key element of marketing for many digital businesses.

Digital Marketing Channels

A digital channel is a marketing channel, part of a distribution strategy, helping an organization to reach its potential customers via electronic means. There are several digital marketing channels, usually divided into organic and paid channels. Some organic channels are SEO, SMO, email marketing. And some paid channels comprise SEM, SMM, and display advertising.

Field Marketing

Field marketing is a general term that encompasses face-to-face marketing activities carried out in the field. These activities may include street promotions, conferences, sales, and various forms of experiential marketing. Field marketing, therefore, refers to any marketing activity that is performed in the field.

Funnel Marketing

interaction with a brand until they become a paid customer and beyond. Funnel marketing is modeled after the marketing funnel, a concept that tells the company how it should market to consumers based on their position in the funnel itself. The notion of a customer embarking on a journey when interacting with a brand was first proposed by Elias St. Elmo Lewis in 1898. Funnel marketing typically considers three stages of a non-linear marketing funnel. These are top of the funnel (TOFU), middle of the funnel (MOFU), and bottom of the funnel (BOFU). Particular marketing strategies at each stage are adapted to the level of familiarity the consumer has with a brand.

Go-To-Market Strategy

A go-to-market strategy represents how companies market their new products to reach target customers in a scalable and repeatable way. It starts with how new products/services get developed to how these organizations target potential customers (via sales and marketing models) to enable their value proposition to be delivered to create a competitive advantage.


The term “greenwashing” was first coined by environmentalist Jay Westerveld in 1986 at a time when most consumers received their news from television, radio, and print media. Some companies took advantage of limited public access to information by portraying themselves as environmental stewards – even when their actions proved otherwise. Greenwashing is a deceptive marketing practice where a company makes unsubstantiated claims about an environmentally-friendly product or service.

Grassroots Marketing

Grassroots marketing involves a brand creating highly targeted content for a particular niche or audience. When an organization engages in grassroots marketing, it focuses on a small group of people with the hope that its marketing message is shared with a progressively larger audience.

Growth Marketing

Growth marketing is a process of rapid experimentation, which in a way has to be “scientific” by keeping in mind that it is used by startups to grow, quickly. Thus, the “scientific” here is not meant in the academic sense. Growth marketing is expected to unlock growth, quickly and with an often limited budget.

Guerrilla Marketing

Guerrilla marketing is an advertising strategy that seeks to utilize low-cost and sometimes unconventional tactics that are high impact. First coined by Jay Conrad Levinson in his 1984 book of the same title, guerrilla marketing works best on existing customers who are familiar with a brand or product and its particular characteristics.

Hunger Marketing

Hunger marketing is a marketing strategy focused on manipulating consumer emotions. By bringing products to market with an attractive price point and restricted supply, consumers have a stronger desire to make a purchase.

Integrated Communication

Integrated marketing communication (IMC) is an approach used by businesses to coordinate and brand their communication strategies. Integrated marketing communication takes separate marketing functions and combines them into one, interconnected approach with a core brand message that is consistent across various channels. These encompass owned, earned, and paid media. Integrated marketing communication has been used to great effect by companies such as Snapchat, Snickers, and Domino’s.

Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing is a marketing strategy designed to attract customers to a brand with content and experiences that they derive value from. Inbound marketing utilizes blogs, events, SEO, and social media to create brand awareness and attract targeted consumers. By attracting or “drawing in” a targeted audience, inbound marketing differs from outbound marketing which actively pushes a brand onto consumers who may have no interest in what is being offered.

Integrated Marketing

Integrated marketing describes the process of delivering consistent and relevant content to a target audience across all marketing channels. It is a cohesive, unified, and immersive marketing strategy that is cost-effective and relies on brand identity and storytelling to amplify the brand to a wider and wider audience.

Marketing Mix

The marketing mix is a term to describe the multi-faceted approach to a complete and effective marketing plan. Traditionally, this plan included the four Ps of marketing: price, product, promotion, and place. But the exact makeup of a marketing mix has undergone various changes in response to new technologies and ways of thinking. Additions to the four Ps include physical evidence, people, process, and even politics.

Marketing Myopia

Marketing myopia is the nearsighted focus on selling goods and services at the expense of consumer needs. Marketing myopia was coined by Harvard Business School professor Theodore Levitt in 1960. Originally, Levitt described the concept in the context of organizations in high-growth industries that become complacent in their belief that such industries never fail.

Marketing Personas

Marketing personas give businesses a general overview of key segments of their target audience and how these segments interact with their brand. Marketing personas are based on the data of an ideal, fictional customer whose characteristics, needs, and motivations are representative of a broader market segment.

Meme Marketing

Meme marketing is any marketing strategy that uses memes to promote a brand. The term “meme” itself was popularized by author Richard Dawkins over 50 years later in his 1976 book The Selfish Gene. In the book, Dawkins described how ideas evolved and were shared across different cultures. The internet has enabled this exchange to occur at an exponential rate, with the first modern memes emerging in the late 1990s and early 2000s.


Microtargeting is a marketing strategy that utilizes consumer demographic data to identify the interests of a very specific group of individuals. Like most marketing strategies, the goal of microtargeting is to positively influence consumer behavior.

Multi-Channel Marketing

Multichannel marketing executes a marketing strategy across multiple platforms to reach as many consumers as possible. Here, a platform may refer to product packaging, word-of-mouth advertising, mobile apps, email, websites, or promotional events, and all the other channels that can help amplify the brand to reach as many consumers as possible.

Multi-Level Marketing

Multi-level marketing (MLM), otherwise known as network or referral marketing, is a strategy in which businesses sell their products through person-to-person sales. When consumers join MLM programs, they act as distributors. Distributors make money by selling the product directly to other consumers. They earn a small percentage of sales from those that they recruit to do the same – often referred to as their “downline”.

Net Promoter Score

The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a measure of the ability of a product or service to attract word-of-mouth advertising. NPS is a crucial part of any marketing strategy since attracting and then retaining customers means they are more likely to recommend a business to others.


Neuromarketing information is collected by measuring brain activity related to specific brain functions using sophisticated and expensive technology such as MRI machines. Some businesses also choose to make inferences of neurological responses by analyzing biometric and heart-rate data. Neuromarketing is the domain of large companies with similarly large budgets or subsidies. These include Frito-Lay, Google, and The Weather Channel.


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.

Niche Marketing

A microniche is a subset of potential customers within a niche. In the era of dominating digital super-platforms, identifying a microniche can kick off the strategy of digital businesses to prevent competition against large platforms. As the microniche becomes a niche, then a market, scale becomes an option.

Push vs. Pull Marketing

We can define pull and push marketing from the perspective of the target audience or customers. In push marketing, as the name suggests, you’re promoting a product so that consumers can see it. In a pull strategy, consumers might look for your product or service drawn by its brand.

Real-Time Marketing

Real-time marketing is as exactly as it sounds. It involves in-the-moment marketing to customers across any channel based on how that customer is interacting with the brand.

Relationship Marketing

Relationship marketing involves businesses and their brands forming long-term relationships with customers. The focus of relationship marketing is to increase customer loyalty and engagement through high-quality products and services. It differs from short-term processes focused solely on customer acquisition and individual sales.

Reverse Marketing

Reverse marketing describes any marketing strategy that encourages consumers to seek out a product or company on their own. This approach differs from a traditional marketing strategy where marketers seek out the consumer.


Remarketing involves the creation of personalized and targeted ads for consumers who have already visited a company’s website. The process works in this way: as users visit a brand’s website, they are tagged with cookies that follow the users, and as they land on advertising platforms where retargeting is an option (like social media platforms) they get served ads based on their navigation.

Sensory Marketing

Sensory marketing describes any marketing campaign designed to appeal to the five human senses of touch, taste, smell, sight, and sound. Technologies such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and the Internet of Things (IoT) are enabling marketers to design fun, interactive, and immersive sensory marketing brand experiences. Long term, businesses must develop sensory marketing campaigns that are relevant and effective in eCommerce.

Services Marketing

Services marketing originated as a separate field of study during the 1980s. Researchers realized that the unique characteristics of services required different marketing strategies to those used in the promotion of physical goods. Services marketing is a specialized branch of marketing that promotes the intangible benefits delivered by a company to create customer value.

Sustainable Marketing

Sustainable marketing describes how a business will invest in social and environmental initiatives as part of its marketing strategy. Also known as green marketing, it is often used to counteract public criticism around wastage, misleading advertising, and poor quality or unsafe products.

Word-of-Mouth Marketing

Word-of-mouth marketing is a marketing strategy skewed toward offering a great experience to existing customers and incentivizing them to share it with other potential customers. That is one of the most effective forms of marketing as it enables a company to gain traction based on existing customers’ referrals. When repeat customers become a key enabler for the brand this is one of the best organic and sustainable growth marketing strategies.

360 Marketing

360 marketing is a marketing campaign that utilizes all available mediums, channels, and consumer touchpoints. 360 marketing requires the business to maintain a consistent presence across multiple online and offline channels. This ensures it does not miss potentially lucrative customer segments. By its very nature, 360 marketing describes any number of different marketing strategies. However, a broad and holistic marketing strategy should incorporate a website, SEO, PPC, email marketing, social media, public relations, in-store relations, and traditional forms of advertising such as television.

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