Boost Online Engagement With the Power of Effective Newsjacking

Boost Online Engagement With the Power of Effective Newsjacking
Boost Online Engagement With the Power of Effective Newsjacking

Newsjacking is a marketing technique that leverages relevant trending news to spread a message or a brand. The timing for this strategy takes place after breaking news comes out and before journalists scramble for information.

Newsjacking can be utilized by blogs, businesses, and social media channels of all sizes. You can use newsjacking to boost your brand’s recognition, engage with people on social media, and increase your revenue.

While the core principles of using the news to get your word out are relatively straightforward, creating a successful newsjacking campaign can take time, trial and error, and persistence. There are also several ways you can gain from the news — from delivering a humorous punchline based on some breaking news to becoming a source for the journalists as they scramble for information.

Getting started

The core of successful newsjacking is speed because news has a relatively short life span, and you’re also competing against other people attempting to gain exposure. You can choose multiple angles on how to go about pitching in on the unraveling story:

  • Be creative
  • Deliver humor
  • Use data
  • Share expertise

Using multiple channels and ways

Creative messages and humor capitalize on cleverness and a chance of your message becoming viral. You can develop a unique perspective that delivers a different approach than the general direction of similar news. Using tasteful humor can also accomplish the goal of becoming viral; especially on social media, where users can share your clever punchline. However, with newsjacking, the most common mistake is being seen as offensive, insensitive, or presenting ideas without any proof or backing.

Using data or sharing expertise are the two best ways to become seen by journalists. Since reporters use sources and objective data to build their stories, sharing your expert knowledge and collected data gets you in front of their radar. However, there’s a challenge of being authentic and credible, which can be hard to accomplish — especially if you’re just getting started in your field and haven’t yet published anything on significant publications.

You can also combine multiple angles to fit the news story that you’re targeting. For example, instead of presenting detailed data on an Excel sheet, develop a creative visual presentation that adds a spice of humor (depending on the news, of course). You could also creatively share your expertise by using visuals and diagrams to make your message more appealing. The most critical underlining aspect of a successful newsjacking is that your pitched idea or comment is relevant and original; therefore, it has to be creative.

Building an effective Newsjacking strategy

News is produced by the media 24/7, and you only have a small window of opportunity to leverage breaking news to further your success. Therefore, speed is the utmost important factor in creating a successful newsjacking effort. To make the newsjacking strategy work efficiently, you need to do a ton of research beforehand, become up to speed with trending topics, and be ready to jump at the opportunity to create original and newsworthy material.

1. Create a blog and set up social media accounts

First, you need a target medium where you create and publish content to target breaking news and where you want the attention directed. Setting up a blog is relatively straightforward; it can be a part of your business website, eCommerce site, or a stand-alone blog. While there are free blogging services, it’s better to self-host a blog as you have no limitations with content, you can freely customize it, and at the end of the day, you reserve full rights to it.

Next, set up social media accounts you can use later to spread your created collateral for increased reach. Since 88% of companies are using social media for marketing, it is a powerful tool for distributing your content. You can use these channels as a gateway to share the original article and reach the targeted audience.

When considering the reach of potentially newsworthy material, some social media channels perform better than others. For example, Twitter is generally considered a hub for trending and breaking news because of its unique platform built upon speediness.

2. Monitor the latest news and trending keywords

To jump on the opportunity of creating newsjacking-worthy content, you should continuously be up to date with what’s going on in the scope of the topics you’re aiming to write.

Once you have your topics and keywords, you can now use them to set up automated alerts. Furthermore, you can bookmark news outlets, subscribe to RSS feeds, and follow social media accounts centered on breaking news.

To monitor news more effortlessly, use automated tools, such as Hootsuite and Google News. For a more advanced approach, you can set up customized alerts on websites using Google Alerts. Last but not least, you can keep an eye on Google Trends to get a hint about what search engine users are searching for the most at the given time.

3. Present a unique take on the news

Once you identify breaking news that you want to leverage, you need to start creating content quickly. Generally, newsjacking content isn’t long-winded articles that go deep into a specific topic. Depending on the goal, even a single sentence can do the trick when posted on social media or a few paragraphs posted on your company’s blog.

However, keep in mind that your piece is easy to read, provides value, and uses SEO elements (i.e. a keyword in the title and body, links to sources, etc.). Your created content needs to be professional and, more importantly, contribute to the emerging news. Once you’ve finished creating the content, make sure to triple-check any facts, as false ones can quickly turn an opportunity into a content nightmare.

Successful use cases of Newsjacking 

Here are great examples of brands that successfully took on newsjacking:

1. Oreo Cookie and Super Bowl

2. LEGO and Tesla’s Cybertruck

The LEGO newsjacking Tesla’s Cybertruck is another classic example of a humorous twist in an attempt to increase reach.

3. Oreo’s Area 51 Tweet

Oreo went to Twitter and simply joked, “What flavors do you think they’re hiding in #Area51?” Thousands of users, and even other brands, replied and shared the tweet.

Oreos Newsjacking Tweet

4. Microsoft Teams’ Deal With the NBA

Microsoft Teams promoted its “Together Mode” feature, which pulls virtual participants out of the boxy digital screens and into a “virtual reality” where they’re together. By partnering with the NBA, Microsoft Teams was able to simulate the experience of a crowd in the stands with virtual attendees.

microsoft teams together mode at an nba game

The takeaway

With fast-paced social media and online news published every second, there are more and more opportunities where marketers can embrace newsjacking. Take time to consider the news item and make sure that your strategy will be tasteful or informative, rather than offensive. As you craft a creative newsjacking strategy, be sure to run it by other members of your marketing team and get your feedback.

About the author

Smriti Rajan

Smriti Rajan comes from a political science and literature background, having an immense passion for writing across varied topics. She has written several articles and blogs for diverse audiences worldwide. She has produced several research publications, policy frameworks, and opinion pieces for think tanks, government institutions and corporates. Alongside this, she writes for a large Fortune 500 clientele and is a key contributing writer for Wikistrat on their EMEA desk. Currently, she resides in India.

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