Posted on February 25th, 2013
Have you ever heard of the term “newsjacking?”. Before I started here at Pinnacle I was aware of the concept of newsjacking, even if I didn’t have the term for it. If you’ve never heard of this pop-culture second style of marketing, let’s pause while I send you over the ever -helpful folks over at Hubspot who have written a definitive essay-length post about it here. For those who subscribe to the tl;dr style of reading (meaning: too long; didn’t read) newsjacking is exactly what it sounds: hijacking the news.
Now before you start comparing newsjacking to the bus scenes from Speed, it isn’t as life-or-death as it sounds. In fact, if you happen to follow any brands on Twitter or Facebook you will have seen it at work with last night’s Oscars. It’s the practice of capitalizing (aka, jumping on the bandwagon) on a popular, cultural moment. It can be anything from a newstory or Jennifer Lawrence’s rather charming face plant from last night. Brand ambassadors will take to the internet linking their product, service, etc. in relation to this story. For example, a shoe company could have taken to twitter to tweet a Jennifer offering her their shoe insoles offering stability and comfort after her fall last night, and by not only tweeting it to her account but adding an Oscar related hashtag it’s easily viewed by millions. Just take a look at the general Oscar’s hashtag on Twitter: you’ll notice companies have used it even more so than regular users! My person favorite newsjackers have to be the people behind Oreo’s social media presence. For my SuperBowl post, I made a brief mention about how quickly the got their “you can still dunk the dark” image up on the web minutes after the lights had gone out at the stadium. It was the perfect example of what newsjacking should be: relevant and witty.
I could also give you dozens of examples of what newsjacking shouldn’t be, but you’ve probably heard about these massive fails before: like the Onion taking their trademark parody and snark too far last night with a tasteless remark about one of the youngest nominated atendees of the night and then their subsequent apologizing this morning (read more here). Maybe you can recall the all apologizing Kenneth Cole is still doing about their own remark about the Arab Spring? These are the cautionary tales and are all companies that can take a lesson from Oreo. Newsjacking should put you in the news as well, unless the world of marketing is praising your flawless execution of a news jack.
Newsjacks are easily translatable into promotional products. Say a celebrity has been sighted littering by throwing away a single use plastic bottle, wouldn’t it be a great time to send you customers (if you happen to know they are into celebrity news that is) a reusable water bottle with a little note and send out a well placed tweet, or remind people to vote with a Facebook post and a custom pen? Opportunities are limitless and the best think about newsjacking is that if at first you don’t suceed: there will always be new news tomorrow to try again.
The image I added at the top of this post is just a little newsjacking flowchart I messily made as I was thinking how to structure this post (as you can tell, I’m more than a little fond of the Paul Frank monkey and colored pens), you could take the same style and approach for the next big pop culture event and just jot down moments that you can quickly transition over to you social media. Have you ever tried out a newsjack? How did it go, let me know the comments!