Marketers have been using newsjacking to promote their products and services since the 2000s. A newsjacker is a company that creates a campaign around a popular news item. Newsjacking is a marketing strategy that leverages the news item to increase awareness of it.
Companies choose newsjacking over creating original stories for their campaigns because it allows them to be better discovered by piggybacking on larger online events. The world has seen many newsjacking examples, and there are more. The announcement that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle would be leaving the Royal Family as senior members is one of the most talked-about news stories. Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum was there to follow the news and remove Harry and Megan from their wax display of Royal Family members.
There were many more newsjacking cases in the early 2010s. We have seen how marketing attempted newsjacking at big events like the Academy Awards or the Super Bowl. We will be discussing more newsjacking cases later in this article. If you are interested in how to implement this strategy in your marketing strategy, then let’s dive into the newsjacking phenomenon.
Newsjacking refers to public relations (PR) whereby businesses are promoted and run marketing campaigns by participating in conversations about current events.
Marketers often use social media to respond to news events. They post on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Newsjacking was a method of identifying individuals as experts in sharing knowledge. In this way, newsjacking included a person as a source.
NEWSJACKING is the act of incorporating your brand into the day’s news, creating a twist that grabs your eyes when they’re open the most.
There are always two sides of a coin. It is impossible to predict how the audience will react when you choose newsjacking. You can’t predict the outcome if you don’t take the first step. Newsjacking can be a positive way to get positive coverage for your business. It is as simple as following the news in your field and those around the world and responding creatively to it.
To get the best newsjacking results, it is important to be creative.
What is newsjacking for PR and marketing?
Newsjacking must be done at the right moment, in the correct place, and in the right context. It is a fact that there are no other ways. Although there is much debate about the timing and method of newsjacking as a PR tool for brands, they must consider the following:
- It will it represent the brand, products, and services in a positive light in the context of this event?
- Is the consumer able to see that the brand offers something of value, either in the form of information or services, or a tangible/intangible product advantage?
- Is newsjacking in this situation going to help brand-lift in both the short- and long-term?
- Is newsjacking able to withstand the ethical and legal tests?
- Are all stakeholders happy with the news-gathering technique?
- These are the questions you should ask your PR professional and avid newsmaker before you set off on your next newsjacking adventure!
To NEWSJACK or not NEWSJACK? THAT IS THE QUESTION.
Newsjacking refers to the act of grabbing current news stories or events in order to promote your product or brand. It can help you generate publicity and increase your visibility if done correctly. But misjudging the tone of newsjacking or coming across as tone-deaf can lead to newsjacking backfiring. These are just a few examples of brands that have used newsjacking for their content marketing success:
LEGO released a video in 2015 showing a LEGO Minifigure, a black Minifigure, changing the Confederate Flag atop a LEGO brick tower. Many praised the company’s stance against racism and made the video viral.
Gatorade used Twitter later that year to mock Donald Trump’s comments about Mexican immigrants. This tongue-in-cheek campaign was widely appreciated for its clever use of social media to tackle a controversial figure.
Participate in newsworthy conversations
You may choose to use a playful tone when newsjacking if your business is in a creative industry. This will allow you to share your content via memes your company has created in response to the news. However, serious corporations can still newsjack. Imagine that your company’s representatives are experts in the topics being discussed in the news. To engage your audience and boost your business, you could make a statement on the official profile of your company.
Newsjacking is best for small businesses
Participating in large conversations can help small businesses get more coverage. This will allow them to reach a wider audience and increase conversions. You can also earn a variety of rewards for running small business PR campaigns.
Faster responses to news around the globe. You don’t need to wait for approval from many people in your company hierarchy. You can post from your personal perspective.
As long as you’re creative, newsjacking isn’t expensive. If you are open to receiving the news and responding to it, even the most expensive PR campaigns could be affordable.
Newsjacking can help you increase brand awareness and user engagement, expand your business reach, and even make your business more profitable.
Relevant keywords can help increase traffic to your website when news items become important and people start searching for them. You can improve your SEO and rank your site on the first page in search results by using relevant keywords.
You can either learn newsjacking by yourself, or you can ask PR agencies.
We’ve already discussed that there are many newsjacking cases from well-known brands that you can learn from and follow. Let’s take a look at some of the most successful newsjacking examples from brands.
Google’s Year in Search
The search giant shares every December its #yearinsearch, which highlights trends and events from the previous year. Google’s Google Trends tool is promoted in the video. It analyzes the most searched Google searches.
Because of what happened in the past, 2020’s #yearinsearch campaign was very different from previous years. We will be remembering 2020 not only for the global pandemic, but also for a contentious U.S. presidential election, a civil right movement, fires across California and Australia, major climate catastrophes, Kobe Bryant’s death, and other events that were featured in #yearinsearch.
The search giant draws from the news and links the stories to the product. Instead of highlighting search features, Google looks more at the sentiments that we share while browsing the internet. Google makes it easy to remember the stories by combining sentiments with artistic contributions.
Burger King’s “Big Mac-ish” Menu
McDonald’s lost the exclusive Big Mac trademark. Any other company could now use the term Big Mac on their menus. So did Burger King. Many marketing materials were released by the company that discussed its Big Mac-like products. They also released European menus with Big Mac-ish sandwiches. Below is an image that shows how Burger King’s “Not Big Mac’s” menu looks. It’s a great example of how one company can use news about a competitor’s brand in an entertaining, memorable, and professional way.
Microsoft Teams’s Together Mode
Many spheres and aspects of our lives were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Most sports and cultural events were cancelled due to recommendations for social distancing. Many sports fans were unable to attend matches and could not feel the energy of the players in real-time.
Microsoft Teams saw this as an opportunity to promote its Together Mode, which pulls virtual participants into virtual reality where they can feel like their distance has been erased. Microsoft Teams collaborated with NBA to recreate the atmosphere of a crowd at a basketball game.
Oreo’s Area 51 Tweet
In September 2019, Twitter users actively discussed the news surrounding a classified government-based Area 51, which conspiracy terrorists claim is the location for testing extraterrestrials. Orea posted a tweet with a joke to Twitter following the public interest in the topic.
This is a great example of how a brand can take full advantage of newsjacking to react in a timely, funny way to trending news. The brand invited people to share their favorite flavors and support the topic. This clever marketing tactic allows them to promote their products more effectively without investing in PR and marketing experts for newsjacking
Marketers have many options to promote their brands via social media and news websites. One such approach is newsjacking, which can produce impressive results with minimal investment.