Have you ever been criticised for hopping on the bandwagon of the latest trend? While there’s definitely a time and a place – this can actually be an incredibly effective communication and marketing strategy. It’s called newsjacking!
Newsjacking is essentially when you take advantage of a current event or trend in an attempt to generate media attention and boost brand exposure. There are endless examples of newsjacking out there from big-name brands in all sectors. The recent England win in the UEFA Women’s EURO is just one example of a news story that brands have capitalised on:
- Leading pizza chain Domino’s rebranded one of its stores to honour one of England’s European championship winners who once worked at the outlet.
- A Royal Mail campaign showed a football-shaped parcel addressed to “Home”.
There are definitely pros and cons to newsjacking, but when done well, it can be a great way to give your business a little publicity boost.
When you can and can’t newsjack?
The important thing to remember is that you can’t and shouldn’t newsjack every story. There are some factors that are vital to consider:
- Tone – What’s the tone of this piece of news? Is this a suitable story to comment on? Is it controversial? Is it your place to speak? Is it sad news not to be taken lightly?
- Brand Messaging – You have to know your brand well enough to know what stories will work and what stories won’t. Can you create content that both fits this news story/trend and is in line with your brand messaging? Is it in character for you to hop on this particular piece as a brand?
- Relevancy – The last thing you want to do is hop on an irrelevant bandwagon too late. Act in a timely manner and always ensure that all other of these listed factors apply.
- Purpose – Newsjacking usually fulfils the purpose of being entertaining or educational. Think about what you have to offer with these things in mind and think about that from the perspective of the everyday layman, not your business.
Social media and newsjacking
The news and social media come hand in hand now. Newsjacking doesn’t have to just mean traditional newspaper, or broadcast coverage stories. It also applies to trending memes, hashtags etc. ‘Memeification’on social media is one of the most popular ways you can tap into trending conversations. Getting into the nitty gritty of what a ‘meme’ even is is probably a whole other blog post, but do drop us a DM on socials if that’s something you’d like us to delve into.
Newsjacking provides brands an incredible opportunity to get involved with popular conversations and get their brand personalities noticed. That said, a note of caution for those tempted to give newsjacking a go: Feeding off a news story, depending on the nature of it, can seem insensitive or exploitative if done incorrectly. Newsjacking is strategy that should be thought through clearly before acting. Speed is also key and so companies who have the systems and processes in place to put quality content out there quickly are the ones who will be able to reap the reward.
Struggling to come up with content for your PR and socials? We’ve written a whole blog post on methods and places to find great content. Give it a read.