Newsjacking: What It Is and How to Use It in Marketing
Newsjacking is drawing the attention to a company with the help of public news and loud newsbreaks. The point of this tool is to ride the wave of popularity and get the benefit for the brand.
How newsjacking works
Keep an eye on what's going on in your business and subscribe to online news sources so you can be the first to know what's coming. The newsbreak has to be related to your company, otherwise you won't make the right impression and customers will react negatively to the brand. Newsjacking is not explicit advertising. Consumers will think about buying your product if it has a strong connection to an outstanding event.
Benefits of newsjacking
fast traffic growth;
recognition of the company;
increase in the ranking of the site in search;
improvement of the corporate image;
traffic increase in social networks;
How to implement newsjacking
1. Monitor current events
To perform it, subscribe to famous news sites in your field and related ones. Find out if your customers read the content there. If they don't, the newsbreak won't be a significant event for your target audience. Pay attention if the facts are true, because fake news is a common phenomenon on the web. Once you confuse people, they are unlikely to believe you.
2. Choose the popular search queries
It is important to pay attention to search queries. Analyze which of them are the most popular. Use Google Trends or its equivalents to do it.
3. Take up the positive information
Don't boost your popularity through negative things (tragedies, illness, political problems, etc.). Customers come to you looking for positive feelings.
Here is an example of newsjacking that failed. Kenneth Cole, the owner of a famous clothing brand of his name, wanted to increase the popularity of his company at the expense of the protests in Cairo in 2011. He wrote a very controversial message: "Millions are in uproar in Cairo. Rumor is they heard our new spring collection is now available online” He later apologized, but such a failure cannot be forgotten.
Kenneth Cole’s failure: an example of how not to advertise
4. Check the relation of the news to your organization
Take only the most interesting and appropriate events for clients. The connection must be easy to comprehend, otherwise you will have to come up with an explanation. An example is Godiva, a chocolate manufacturer. They made an advertisement for their products related to Thanksgiving Day. This caused weird feelings among customers, since the brand makes sweet products, but promoted itself through a holiday where the traditional meal is turkey.
Examples of successful newsjacking
The NFL, an American sports league, likes to use news marketing. They have no problem with events, and sometimes they come up hard with surprises. For example, after the news of the birth of an heir to the royal family, the company posted a post dedicated to the event. They published photos of football players with "royal" names and advised them to name the child after one of them.
A weird advise of NFL to the royal family
Another good example relates to the Sochi Games, where one of the Olympic rings in the symbol did not come out. Many companies have taken up this event. Audi's marketers were quick to react and related the news to their brand. People took it as a pre-arranged trick, since Audi's slogan was "When four rings is all you need".
Assorti sushi bar chain took advantage of the news in a different way. Their use of newsjacking became so popular that it was even mentioned in American media.
An Olympic ring that couldn’t became a source for food hijacking
An extraordinary example of newsjacking is the turn from IKEA Canada. At a conference, soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo pushed away Coca-Cola products and noted that he prefers to drink plain water. A video of the event immediately went viral. IKEA reacted at once having launched a bottle of minimal design strictly for water.
Applying newsjacking to a newsletter
Newsjacking is also used in email newsletters. A great and prominent example is Spirit Airlines. When the American public worried about an increase in tax rates (the "fiscal cliff"), subscribers to the newsletter from this organization received emails with the title "The cliff that scares". These emails offered a $50 discount.
Spirit Airlines’ newsletter hijacked the fiscal cliff of US
When everyone in America was concerned of the upcoming inauguration, Benefit cosmetics hijacked this event, though, they stayed off the politics paying attention to the event itself. In their newsletter they transformed the phrase ”Hail to the Chief!” into “Hail to the Cheek!” and their headline was ”Take the oath of beauty to the office!”
A Hail-to-the-Cheek campaign of Benefit
Now you know about newsjacking, its benefits, tips on how to use it, and good and bad examples. It's a great way to increase traffic, company recognition, sales, and brand reputation.
Keep in mind that newsjacking is a rather dangerous tool if used improperly. It is important to follow all the rules and to avoid trying to stand out through whatever means, for instance, by using negative words or events that have nothing to do with your organization.