Newsjacking Will Not Make You Go Blind

american pie newsjacking

It might make you blush a little to think of yourself as a newsjacker, but it’s not something your mother would object to. It’s one of those fun buzzwords that sounds dirty, but is really just smart. You hire copywriters to keep you ranked at the top, so shouldn’t they be professional enough to newsjack discretely, as well? It means a happy ending for all if you do it right.

First – a Definition

Okay, enough with the passive aggressive hints at something less than respectable – what exactly is newsjacking? You ever watch Jimmy Fallon when he “Slow Jams” the news? Newsjacking is the content version of a slow jam. Hubspot defines it as capitalizing on a news story to pump up your own marketing campaign. That’s not so bad, right? You’ve done worse things I’m sure.

Let’s look at some examples of good jacking action.

  • Charmin – Before the Academy Awards last year, the toilet paper company issued a tweet to remind nominees to check their shoes before giving their acceptance speech.
  • DiGiorno Pizza – As the world sat down to watch The Sound of Music Live, DeGiorno tweeted “Can’t believe pizza isn’t one of her favorite things.” We call that a real time newsjack.

One of the most historic newjacks took place during the 2013 Superbowl blackout. Some smart thinking Oreo copywriter created a graphic that said:

“You can still dunk in the dark.”

How about the Radiological Society of North America with their Superbowl graphic explaining that radiologists work in the dark – it’s a classic.

How to Get the Most from a Newsjack

You don’t just wake up one day knowing how to do it – it’s a learned process. Here are some tips to get you started.

  • Be a news connoisseur – You can’t jack the news if you don’t know what it is, right? You should spend time each day with the major news agencies like CNN and the New York Times, but don’t fear the little guys, either. Sometimes bloggers have the best news, just verify, verify, verify before using a story.
  • Don’t be a generalist – When you are reading the news, pay attention to key industries. How about Mashable for tech news or Medical News Today for health care stories?

Set up alerts for keywords that pertain to your industry, as well. This will help you target your content to newsworthy stories.

The Ying and the Yang of Newsjacking

There is a right way and a wrong way to do most things, and this is no exception. Consider yourself warned.

  • Be smart about what you choose to jack – Personal tragedies and natural disasters are not funny and, therefore, not proper newsjacking material.
  • Newsjacking is not an excuse to plagiarize – The goal here is to build original content that promotes your brand around a trending topic.

Let’s face it; marketeers have been newsjacking for decades, they just didn’t know what to call it. It’s totally normal, so have some fun with it.

Darla F has been a newsjacking professional for almost a decade and has a reputation for adding a touch of humor to her content.


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