NewsJacking Risky or Beneficial

More and more companies today are trying to think of creative ways to engage with their customers through content marketing. Newsjacking is a fairly new term that was coined by David Meerman Scott in 2011. Want to find out what it is? Watch the video to find out more and see famous examples.


Newsjacking: Risky or Beneficial?

Newsjacking is a type of content marketing where brands hijack a breaking news story for exposure, sometimes relating it back to their services.

Many brands will release a tweet or an image via social media to reach a wide range of followers and be one of the first to break a trending story.

Speed is the name of the game when it comes to releasing your own newsjack. The popularity of a news story sky rockets immediately. But as time goes on, interest is quickly lost and other stories are the new buzz. No one wants to see your company’s rendition of the Harlem Shake anymore.

Newsjacking can be a fun, lighthearted way to engage followers and customers. But if executed poorly, newsjacks can create negative publicity for any company, especially on social media.

Within minutes of the blackout during the 2013 Super Bowl, Oreo tweeted off to their advantage releasing an ad with the line, “You can still dunk the dark.” The ad drew over 19,000 Facebook likes and over 15,000 re-tweets.

Newsjacking can take many forms. It doesn’t just have to be a tweet or Facebook image. At a 2012 Olympic football match, officials mixed up the Korean flags. An optical chain called Spec Savers released a print ad two days later with the two flags with a tag line, “Should have gone to Spec Savers.” Although a print ad, the campaign received a lot of online attention.

Another speedy example of newsjacking was the announcement of the royal baby. There were more than 25,300 tweets per minute announcing the baby’s birth on Twitter. Coca Cola joined the conversation, posting two bottles of Coke with each of the parents’ names and the caption, “Time for a royal celebration.”

When hurricane Sandy hit the East coast, American Apparel advertised a Sandy Sale through an e-mail blast offering deals to those bored during the storm. Many customers went to Twitter to bash the brand and even threatened to boycott.

Epicurious used the Boston bombings to shamelessly plug their food products with a tweet, “In honor of Boston and New England, may we suggest whole grain cranberry scones.” This came across as insensitive to followers, causing negative attention to the brand and a public apology.

Newsjacking can be fun. Just remember, be quick. Be relevant and creative. Be respectful, not vulgar. Plan for upcoming events that you can prepare for. And think of your reputation before publication.