David Meerman Scott, a marketing expert and author, coined the term newsjacking. It is composed of the English words news and hijacking. In his book, “Newsjacking”, he used the term to describe a PR strategy where companies “hijack” information to draw attention to their content and distribute it. Although newsjacking is considered a type of content marketing in the broadest possible sense, it differs from other content marketing strategies in many ways and requires a different approach. David Meerman says newsjacking can be an attention-grabbing marketing strategy.

Newsjacking is when companies use news stories or messages from the news to promote their content. It is possible to reach a large audience with clever newsjacking. This is especially true since newsjacking can also be done via social media channels.

Newsjacking has one goal: to connect your company or content with the news. This can be done through interesting background information, or funny advertising campaigns that relate to the news. This is especially useful for social media content as entertaining content is very popular on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Facebook. The rate of social media dissemination is extremely high. This means that, with the right newsjacking and the right content, a buzz can be created on the internet. This is then picked up by classic media, which further increases the reach.

David Meerman Scott outlines in his book, “Newsjacking” (How to Inject Your Ideas into a Breaking News Story to Generate Tons Of Media Coverage) from 2011, different ways you can use the news to your own ends. There have been many new avenues have opened since then. All of these can be used to newsjack.

What are the Different Types of Newsjacking?

There are many types of newsjacking, just as SEO and content marketing. There are two types of newsjacking, and they can be distinguished from each other.

  • Newsjacking is for events that are regularly occurring or can be planned
  • Newsjacking is the act of reporting on current and unpredictable events

This first option is easier to implement, and it’s also closer to traditional marketing strategies. It is possible to create a very bold or eye-catching advertising campaign for Christmas or the soccer World Cup. Newsjacking can be planned ahead of time and fine-tuned to the last detail. This is a benefit. It is, however, disadvantageous that competitors will have already planned advertising and marketing strategies for such events. This means that your actions are quickly lost in the noise and not noticed by news portals nor social media channels. Only truly sensational campaigns are likely to succeed here.

Even if an unforeseeable event is being used to newsjacket, other methods can have a significant impact. This variant presents the greatest challenge. It is important to respond quickly to the message. Online messages can have a short shelf life, and may be lost after only a few hours. Because of this time pressure, only simple steps can be taken that are easy to implement within a few hours. It is important to carefully filter news and choose the right story to newsjacket. A bad or inappropriate message can cause a crisis in a company.

How do you use newsjacking?

Newsjacking can be done in two ways. You can either focus on the future or current unpredictable events. You have more time to plan the newsjacking if you have planned future events for a long period of time. Other companies might also be planning to use the future event for their own purposes so that there is more competition. This is the case with the soccer World Cup. It has already been decided and can be used to market. Real-time monitoring is essential for keeping current events up to date and being able to respond quickly to them.

It’s also a good idea to keep in touch with journalists and agencies, who can first pass the news to the company. It is crucial to decide which news is worth using. News, especially online, has a very short shelf life. Marketing measures can be implemented quickly.

How Newsjack Works

NewsJacking Curve explanation of how news can be used in marketing.

What are the Top Things to Watch for in NewsJacking?

Newsjacking is based on the choice of news. This applies to both unforeseen and planned events. It is easy to choose events and news within your business. It is easier to connect to your company in this area. There is less chance that newsjacking will be perceived to be disruptive or inappropriate. However, this type of newsjacking has a limited range because only industry representatives can access online media.

Although newsjacking can be used for planned or local events, it is not possible to cover more events. However, the selection of news must be stricter. If you are newsjacking for previously known events, your strategy must be well planned. Many other companies also run marketing campaigns for major events like the world championships in sports or seasonal events like Christmas or Valentine’s Day. There is a very low chance of your content being noticed by media outlets or social media channels like Twitter and Facebook.

Oreo Newsjacking Example

Oreo Cookie posted this tweet to take the attraction during the 2013 SuperBowl. Many brands retweeted the tweet and responded to the Oreo. It created more buzz on social media as Newsjacking.

Global news is the most difficult area because of newsjacking. The risk of an action being reversed here is high. It is also very difficult to provide content that is relevant enough for the media worldwide so they can cover it. The following questions should be answered in order to implement newsjacking.

  • How can you establish a connection between the brand or company and the story?
  • Do you think this is of any interest to potential customers or the media?
  • Are there any potential negative consequences if it is a sensitive piece?

Once a message has been found, it is time to publish the content. This can be done via social media channels like Twitter, blogs, or a press release. How the newsjacking takes place is key. The right channels are the best for creating a buzz via social media. On the other hand, if you rely on media pages for your research, it makes more sense to use optimized content according to SEO standards. Journalists are becoming more dependent on the internet for their research in today’s fast-paced news world. Search engines such as Google can help journalists find them, just like other people. It’s only half the battle if you can publish content that Google has deemed relevant to the topic. The journalists will come across the content repeatedly during the investigation and use it in many cases as a basis to their reporting.

It can be valuable to refer to current pop culture topics, such as Game of Thrones (April 2019), or Stranger Things(July 2019), and increase awareness and reach.

The Best NewsJacking Examples

You can learn Newsjacking by looking at the live NewsJacking examples. This section will show you some NewsJacking examples from different industries, both in video and image.

Oakley Sunglasses’ Newsjacking for Chile Miners

Oakley, an eyewear retailer, provided a great example of newsjacking by giving Chilean miners sunglasses to protect them from sunlight after 69 days. The company’s marketing strategy reportedly earned it a media value in excess of $40 million. After 69 days, the Chilean miners saved themselves and wed Oakley Sunglasses.

Sixt Car Rental Newsjacking Example – Train Driver Strike

Sixt, a car rental company, used a train driver strike in 2014 for advertising purposes. An ad published by the company read “HDGDL GDL” only in German. Many users could quickly decipher the online abbreviation of “I love and appreciate you very much” from the ad. You could also play with words by using the abbreviation of the train driver’s union. The car rental company’s “thanks” for the strike made it fun and easy to understand, which was shared thousands of times. This created a remarkable impact.

Zondag America First NewsJacking Example

Another example is the video of Zondag met Lubach, a Dutch satirical show that published a video online when Donald Trump was elected. The video featured typical Trump rhetoric about the Netherlands. It was viewed approximately ten million times in three weeks, making it a significant contribution to the public’s awareness. Zondag Met Lubach gives a newsjacking example of Trump’s “America First” words.

Paleton Bike NewsJacking

Peloton’s Newsjacking example of Christmas Gifts is unique to other newsjacking examples. Peloton used the husband-wife relationship to create a social virality. The commercial shows a husband buying a Peloton bike for his wife. This was followed by criticisms on social media.

Peloton used Christmas Gift as a theme to create buzz on social media. Ryan Reynolds also used the Peloton commercial to promote his brand, Aviation Gin. Ryan Reynolds hired Monica Ruiz, the actress in the Peloton Bike ad, and published another commercial. Below is the newsjacking and commercial “The Gift that Doesn’t Give Back”.

Ryan Reynolds used the Peloton Bike advertisement to show that the wife in the Peloton Bike ad divorced her husband, and went to a bar along with her friends. The commercial shows that the wife is drinking Aviation Gin while her husband is on the Peloton Bike. Ryan Reynolds shared the story of the Peloton Wife newsjacking case on Jimmy Kimmel as follows.

In just two days, the Aviation Gin commercial and newsjacking examples were viewed more than 7.5 million times. It was also retweeted 55.000 times.

Newsjacking example: Burger King and Big Mac-ish

After Mcdonald’s BigMac trademark was lost to Supermac, Burger King launched a new campaign. The victory of Supermac over the BigMac trademark attracted a lot of attention from the industry. Global news outlets published several stories. Burger King launched a new campaign to mock McDonald’s trademark loss using the slogan “Mig Mac-ish”.

Microsoft Team’s Together Mode Newsjacking Exemple

COVID-19 slows down sport’s progress, as many local governments are closing down and health organizations recommending social distancing. Many fans were left wondering what this controversial shift would mean for the sports they loved. In order to keep the guidelines in place and protect athletes and spectators, sports organizations felt the need to pivot. It became apparent that many sports teams were starting their seasons with reduced or zero attendance. There was some confusion about how the public would react. Players are constantly in flux and sports is an emotional event just as much as it is a physical one.

Microsoft’s Team’s Together Mode saw this as an opportunity to make news and promoted its new model, “Together mode”. Below is a commercial featuring Microsoft Teams’ Together Mode.

AeroMexico NewsJacking Example

AeroMexico, an airline company, operates flights between Mexico City and the US. The topic of constructing a steel wall was a hot topic during the Trump administration. AeroMexico is now using newsjacking to bring attention and humor to the construction of a wall at the Mexican border.

AeroMexico published a commercial in which they showed that they do a DNA test at every interview. Depending on how Mexican the results are, AeroMexico offered a discount of the same amount for flights to Mexico. The commercial demonstrated that many Americans from the South Border are descendants of Mexicans and might also want to travel to Mexico. AeroMexico’s newsjacking has led to a 33.7% increase in ticket sales. They also won the 2019 Clio Award. You can see below how Google Trends has helped increase AeroMexico’s search volume.

This Newsjacking example has helped AeroMexico increase its brand value as well as ticket sales. You can also read the Pytrend article for a guideline on how to use Pytrend article. This will show you how to scale up your topical and phrase search requests.

Calm Newsjacking Example

Calm, a meditation app for smartphones, published an ad on CNN after the stress-filled US Elections. It didn’t give any news about politics or election-related issues. CNN’s election coverage featured a Calm advertisement. Viewers from all over the U.S. viewed it. Calm also ran several 30-second ads leading up to Election Day. Calm’s mission to “make the planet happier and healthier” is a great way to position its product at a time when people are anxious. Calm didn’t use election-related messaging in this campaign. Instead, it displayed calming ads as a stark contrast during a stressful election season.

According to Katie Shill, Senior Director at Calm Brand Marketing, Ad Age, the campaign was a success. She concluded that the campaign was a smart media purchase that generated social conversation and PR coverage. She said, “We came up when it was necessary with the right message, which paid off.”

Gilette “MeToo” Newsjacking Example

In 2018, and 2019, #MeToo led to many high-profile men being accused of sexual assault and harassment. Examples include Harvey Weinstein and Matt Lauer, two prominent men. The #MeToo hashtag sparked responses. Tarana Burke, a civil rights activist, was the first to respond. Women were encouraged to share their personal stories with the #MeToo hashtag in order to raise awareness about sexual harassment, misconduct and assault.

As a response to #MeToo, Gillette decided that it would reposition its masculinity as “the greatest man a man can become”. This was achieved by airing the Super Bowl advertisement that explored toxic masculinity as well as the stereotypical views of manhood. The commercial video for Gilette’s Newsjacking advertisement can be viewed here.

The commercial features images of men talking to each other and begins with sound bites about bullying, toxic masculinity and the #MeToo movement. The narrator asks the question “Is this really all a man can do?” when a young boy runs from bullies and a Gillette advertisement. Below you can see the increase in Gilette’s search volume during this newsjacking example.

Gilette has a Brand Image that is against toxic masculinity. Newsjacking can increase a brand’s trustworthiness, as well as its SEO Performance and its authority in its industry. Below are the top searches and topics related to Gilette over the same time period.

The most common topics and queries Gilette is interested in are “controversy”, masculinity, toxic masculinity, and the “me too” movement. This illustrates how newsjacking can help improve brand perception over time.

Last thoughts on Holistic SEO and Newsjacking

Newsjacking allows you to use news to get the public’s attention “through your back door” to promote your content. Although the PR measure is often quite affordable and has a wide reach, it can sometimes be difficult to choose the right message. Newsjacking can also be seen as presumptuous or disruptive. Therefore, it is important to carefully consider the appropriate steps.

The main features of newsjacking, such as relevance, humor, and trending topics, are the best examples. Newsjacking can alter a brand’s image and authority as well as its trustworthiness. Newsjacking can increase search demand as well as natural backlinks to a brand’s website. It can also generate news stories that appear in Google Discovery. Newsjacking and SEO are terms that can be used in conjunction. With the help of digital marketing and public relations, newsjacking will still be a powerful SEO and Branding tool in 2021. Holistic SEOs can use Newsjacking to increase brand authority, PageRank flow, mention frequency, and positive sentiment.

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