Breaking Bad: How to Use Newsjacking to Your Brand’s Advantage

Breaking Bad: How to Use Newsjacking to Your Brand’s Advantage

By Barb SchmitzApr 4 /2013

breaking bad kuno creative blogPart of doing real-time content marketing right is making sure your brand is relevant and über-timely. That means getting out in front of breaking news by creating content that presents your brand’s perspectives on news that is happening in real-time. If something newsworthy happens that’s important to your industry, your brand should be there to comment on it. 

Newsjacking, also known as culture-jacking, is the process of injecting your ideas or angles into breaking news, in real-time, to generate media coverage for your brand. Done effectively, it can validate your brand as a thought leader in your industry, drive traffic to your site and increase interest in your brand.

Though PR folks have been doing it for years, what has changed is the speed at which it can now be deployed. Fueling the speed bump is Google’s real-time indexing, which enables companies to create content that responds to news instantly, making it a more powerful tool. The term has also gained traction from David Meerman Scott, who authored a book on the topic.

Let’s take a look at some tips to help you deploy this real-time marketing tool to your brand’s advantage.

  • Keep a watchful eye. Choose a few news outlets and relevant RSS feeds for all the major players in your industry to monitor. Pick ones that are focused on your industry, if possible, and ensure all are trusted sources; newsjacking a story that’s not 100 percent true could seriously hijack your brand’s reputation.
  • Respond quickly. Maximize the impact by jumping on stories quickly. Keep in mind that competing brands are watching too and will be crafting their own messaging, so act fast to get your brand out in front. A great example of this was Oreo’s brilliant and lightning-fast response via Twitter to the power outage at this year’s Super Bowl.
  • Use keywords. The whole point of newsjacking a story is to get your brand—and content that supports your brand—visibility, so be sure you’ve done due diligence with relevant keywords to up the ante in search engine rankings.
  • Be relatable. Just sharing the news with your subscribers isn’t enough. Be sure to find a unique angle on a news story that makes the information relatable to your business, industry or customers.
  • Don’t be tacky. There are plenty of examples of brands newsjacking inappropriate news stories, such as natural disasters, that can backfire in the public eye. Check out some “what-were-they-thinking” examples of brands newsjacking Hurricane Sandy.
  • Encourage discussion. Since the basis of newsjacking is…well, newsworthy, it is imperative to encourage people to agree, disagree or just comment on your content. Be sure to add some commentary or pose questions in the post itself to get readers engaged and hopefully responding.
  • Assemble a team. Newsjacking requires a well-oiled machine of quick-thinking team members who have a solid game plan ahead of time and can join forces to make decisions swiftly to take full advantage of breaking opportunities.

When done the right way, newsjacking is a great tool that enables marketers to educate customers, drive interest in their brand and establish their respective organizations as trusted sources of information in their industries.

What are your thoughts on newsjacking? Leave a comment below!

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barb schmitzBarb Schmitz is professional writer with over 20 years of experience writing for B2B and B2C publications and web sites. She served as an editor on Computer-Aided Engineering magazine for over 10 years before starting her own PR/freelance writing business in 2000. Her expertise includes interviewing, researching and writing whitepapers, blogs, e-books, case studies, and feature articles.

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