Is Newsjacking for You? The Pros and Cons of this Brand Awareness Strategy

Newsjacking, or the process of using current events to help you promote your own business and brand, is an interesting strategy that lots of businesses use, either formally or informally, to raise brand awareness. But, is this strategy for you? There are some pros and cons you should be aware of before you implement this idea at your business.

Newsjacking Defined

The term “newsjacking” was coined by David Meerman Scott, a marketing and sales strategist. He defines it as “the process by which you inject your ideas or angles into breaking news, in real-time, in order to generate media coverage for yourself or your business.”

You’ve likely seen examples of this as businesses use current events like sports events, pop culture trends, breaking news and other current events in their online content. Newsjacking is often used in blog posts, visual ads and social media marketing.

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An excellent example of this is the ad Kit Kat used when football star Michael Owen retired in 2013. The ad was a simple picture of football boots hung on the wall under the number 10, which was Owen’s number, along with the slogan, “Have a break, have a Kit Kat.”

The Benefits of Using Newsjacking

Newsjacking is so powerful because it lets you tap into a current audience, people who are interested in the current event you are using, and turn their attention to your brand. It aligns your business with timely ideas and helps you turn the spotlight to your products.

This strategy also helps you show your market that you are a current brand, you are up to date with what is happening in your community or industry and that your products are highly relevant. It gives you a way to quickly draw attention to your business and even boost social media engagement and website traffic.

Newsjacking’s Down Side

So what’s the problem with newsjacking? There are two major things you need to be aware of. First, newsjacking requires quick action. As current events unfold, your business needs to have the ability to jump on board and find ways to blend them in with your marketing strategies.

The best way to do this is to understand your market and have a very clearly defined internet marketing strategy in place. Set some clear goals, calls to action, messages and tactics and then make sure your entire team is aware of them. If you want, you could ask one person to be responsible for scanning the news daily and finding ways you can inject your brand into current stories.

The second thing you should keep in mind is that aligning your brand with current events requires sensitivity. Not all situations are appropriate for marketing campaigns. Of course, things like tragedies, natural disasters and controversial issues will require some close attention. Be careful when adding your brand’s name and story to these kinds of current events so you don’t come across as insensitive or offensive.

This isn’t to say you can’t use controversial topics or even some more serious current events. It just means that you need to think carefully about your brand and products and the way you use these kinds of events before you add them to you marketing campaign.

Lots of businesses use newsjacking to stay in the spotlight and raise brand awareness. This strategy could help your business too if you have a plan in place that allows you to spot these opportunities and then you use them strategically and wisely so they will bring benefits like increased brand awareness, social media engagement and site traffic.