This Just In: Being In-the-Know About Newsjacking
Ever use newsjacking to market your brand? Or, are you familiar with what newsjacking is? If not, settle in and take note of this “hot off the presses” online practice that is applied to practically everything – even marketing. You may be surprised at what potential opportunities might literally be happening right now.
What “newsjack” meant years ago, and its very different meaning today.
First, a little history on the origin of the word: “newsjack.” The term – an obvious hybrid of “news” and “hijack” – has been around since the 1970s. Back then, it meant stealing newspapers and selling them to scrap dealers. Today, “newsjack” refers to the more honest practice of, as described by Rob Powell: “…the art of riding the wave of breaking news to get massive exposure for your content.” And “content” can also refer to branding. Marketers can (and do) connect topical events to a brand’s products and services by mixing creativity with being in-the-know of what’s going on in the world.
Meet Mr. Scott – an authority on newsjacking.
Have you ever heard of David Meerman Scott? He’s responsible for popularizing the term “newsjacking” in how it is used today – and the practice even more so. As summarized in Search Content Management: TechTarget, Mr. Scott wrote a book, of which the title says it all: Newsjacking: How to Inject Your Ideas into a Breaking News Story and Generate Tons of Media Coverage. In the times of today, where news items are reported and posted to online news outlets and social media in a matter of minutes, the combination of talent, tools, strategy, and lucky timing in witnessing a breaking event – and being able to match it to a brand’s message – can yield more-than-impressive results in coverage and exposure.
A newsjacking flashback.
What follows is an example of a past newsjack in action, and how the practice perfectly fits with social media marketing. Do you remember the great debate from May 2018? An electronic voice “said” either the name “Yanny” or “Laurel” and it was one of the top stories of the day. Seems silly in retrospect, but it was a hot topic and well-known brands that included Hostess, Popeyes Fried Chicken, Warby Parker Eyewear, and Sony jumped on this debate and populated their own social media pages with references to “Yanny” and “Laurel.” Each of these brands gained a lot of visibility as a result of this newsjack.
Preparing in advance for a possible newsjack.
While the descriptions and examples above highlight in-the-now chances to newsjack, there are opportunities that can be planned for in advance. Sporting events such as the Super Bowl and awards shows ranging from the Academy Awards to the Grammy Awards are prime examples of where newsjacking opportunities can be discovered and curated. And, again, it is because of social media – where millions of users post, tweet or share content as these events unfold in real-time – that increases these chances to connect news and branding.
Think before using on a story for a brand tie-in.
There are certain points to be mindful of before taking the opportunity to newsjack. These questions should be asked:
- Is the news item that may be used to tie in with a brand too serious, sensitive, or could it be considered exploitive?
- Is the possible newsjack taking advantage of a story that might be subject to infringing on intellectual property law?
If the answers to these questions is “yes,” it is best to err on the side of caution and wait for an opportunity that will not invite possible backlash. Remember, the purpose of newsjacking is to bring a positive vibe to a product; not alienate existing and possible customers.
Is your brand in-step with current events? The social media marketing teams at EGC Group stay as attentive to what’s happening in the world today as they do for our clients’ campaigns. If there is a chance to connect breaking news to a brand’s product message, we can newsjack it. Contact us today to learn more.