Internet News Web Concept

Newsjacking Your Way to Fans and Sales

Newsjacking is the act of using breaking news to drive traffic to your website.

Let's say there's a blackout at a Super Bowl event, and Oreo immediately tweeted an image of an Oreo cookie in the dark with the message, “You can still dunk in the dark.” Yes, do you recall when that happened? It was newsjacking, and one free tweet was worth more in sales and publicity than a Super Bowl commercial.

Maybe the news is that a software tycoon just sold his company for $10 billion. You can use that news to drive traffic to your software-based business website.

You can turn your blog and social media channels into a trusted source of news and commentary by using newsjacking. More and more people are now using social media to get their news. Why shouldn't your social media and blog provide them that news?

Tips for Newsjacking:

• Stay informed with software, RSS feeds, and alerts.
• Don't wait for old news. The newer, the better.
• Make a list of topics that are relevant to your business.
• Establish a clear link between the news item and your brand.
• Never spread falsehoods. If unsure, don't report.
• Recognize that newsjacking is a supplement to other content marketing efforts. Consider it a dessert rather than a main course.

Timing Is Vital

The longer you delay contributing, the harder it is to be heard. You will gain more audience if you respond quickly to breaking news.

What does quickly mean?

There are two times and two ways to respond to breaking news.

Soon after the news breaks, the first response should occur. This is when you can add your own perspective to the situation. For example, a child fell into a well an hour ago, and you're advising parents on what to do in the first minutes and hours afterward.

The second response time can occur after the news. This is a deep analysis of what happened, what it means, how it changes things, etc. This is when you would offer an in-depth article on how fearful parents can keep their children safe from all kinds of unexpected hazards.

Newsjacking Example #1: The Peloton Ad

In a video title “The Gift That Gives Back,” Peloton shows a husband giving his wife an exercise bike for Christmas. She then films herself using it throughout the year and sends it to him.

The news wasn't the ad, but the reaction to the ad. People slammed it for reinforcing dated gender norms and body positivity because a husband buying his wife an exercise bike implies she's out of shape.

Owner of Aviation American Gin Ryan Reynolds immediately hired actress from Peloton commercial to star in “The Gin That Doesn't Give Back” commercial.

The video shows the bereaved wife at a bar with two friends, drinking gin and commenting on how smooth it is while her friends compliment her on her appearance.

Ryan Reynolds announced the new video on Twitter, saying “Exercise bike not included.” Aviation Gin’s commercial went viral, garnering 7.2 million views on YouTube and 556,000 retweets. It was also mentioned in AdWeek and MarketingLand.

Observe how quickly the video was created and launched. A week would have been too long for Reynolds. The big news of today is gone tomorrow.

Newsjacking #2:  Oreo Pre-planned Ad

We already mentioned the Oreo dunking in the dark Superbowl tweet that went viral. But in some cases, it's possible to PLAN your newsjacking.

For example, when Kate Middleton was pregnant, Oreo created a meme of a royal-looking pillow with a baby bottle and an Oreo cookie. The Caption? “Long Live The Crème”.

It was perhaps a bit corny, but it worked.

Bad Newsjacking: TeamWork Online

Do you recall Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 vanishing? Teamwork Online's response tweet was:

Have you disappeared? Get noticed by Sports Employers Malaysian Airlines 

370 has vanished. Do you feel like employers can’t find you? Let’s get your “black box” engaged. Let’s start the “pings”. “Here are some tips on how to get noticed in a very crowded job market.” Says Buffy Filippeli, TeamWork Online founder. 

Her happy, smiling face is next to this copy.

No. Just… no. 

Newsjacking the wrong story or doing it in an offensive way can quickly derail your brand on social media.

How to avoid a newsjacking disaster

Ask yourself these few questions before newsjacking:

• Can your point be misconstrued?
• Does this offend anyone?
• Will this affect someone's first impression of our company?
• Is the connection obvious, or are we forcing it?
• Are we profiting from others' misfortune?

Newsjacking in 2022

Every second of the day, online news stories are published. The news is a great way to build your following and brand, but it also provides endless opportunities to mess it up.

Consider your actions before attempting to newsjack. Is it nice or useful? Or is it offensive?

It's best to avoid sensitive topics and play it safe. It's better to be ignored early on than to be slammed across social media. Publish only newsjacking pieces that have been reviewed by three other people.

If you master newsjacking, you will create at least one post per year that goes viral, gaining you thousands or even millions of views that you would not have received otherwise.

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About Kavi

I've been living the online solopreneur lifestyle for over 20 years. I began as a freelancer back in 2000 and have since created my own software company, hosting service, produced information products, and engaged in affiliate marketing.

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