How Newsjacking Can Supercharge Your Brand

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We’ve all heard about brands jumping on trends to leverage attention. However, newsjacking is often spoken about negatively, as if it’s something to avoid at all costs. Can you ever have a positive experience with newsjacking? We invited social media strategist, Azad Yakatally, to chat about how brands can use newsjacking as a tool for success. Here’s a summary of our chat.

Guest: Azad Yakatally
Topic: How newsjacking can supercharge your brand
Format: Eight questions directed to the guest. Everyone’s welcome to share.

Q1: What is newsjacking?

Newsjacking is about using an existing or developing news item to boost your own reach. You can do this by adding to a trending meme or a hashtag, or by joining in and contributing to a conversation.

The good thing about newsjacking is that when done properly, it’ll introduce your brand to a whole new set of audience.

Q2: How can newsjacking help you expand your brand from local to global?

Trends usually start locally, in small conversations. But they trend for a reason—they can snowball into a global phenomenon within minutes. If you can share your perspective on a developing news story, then your point of view will quickly reach global heights. Newsjacking is a way to establish yourself early on in a story.

As Maria pointed out, your newsjacking should be useful and relevant to your audience. If you’re doing it just for the sake of it, your audience will see right through it. However, if it strikes a chord with your audience, it’ll easily give you a global reach.

Q3: What platforms work best for newsjacking?

Twitter, of course, is one of the best places to try your hands at newsjacking. The platform is teeming with journalists and so, from retirement announcements to scandals and victories, every piece of news first shows up on Twitter. Because the platform moves so quickly, it’s a great place for newsjacking.

It’s quite the same with TikTok. It can be a bit more challenging to news jack on TikTok because it involves filming (and often editing) a video, but as our guest explained, if you can do it all within 12 hours of a news breaking, then you’re likely to get a wide reach.

Jim told us how underrated YouTube is for newsjacking. It makes sense, too, if you think about it. Trending videos and shorts are also good opportunities for newsjacking.

Q4: How can you find interesting, engaging, and even entertaining stories to newsjack?

You find stories by being present and listening. Even if you’re not actively responding to people and engaging in conversations, you still gather a lot from listening actively and observing what conversations people get involved in.

As our guest pointed out, newsletters and promotional emails are also good ways to learn about developing news, but be aware that if someone else has already covered it, then you’ve likely lost the element of surprise.

Madalyn shared a great tip for listening: make a Twitter list of your favorite news channels and publications so that you get instant updates on goings on. You can also set up notifications and mobile alerts for certain keywords and topics—all of this can help you stay on top of current proceedings.

Q5: When newsjacking, what should you do to avoid hurting your brand reputation?

Use your emotional intelligence. Before you post something or respond to a trend, ask yourself if your content would alienate or marginalize someone. Newsjacking is a great way to widen your audience, but not if your content is putting someone else down.

Don’t jump on a trend that might potentially damage your brand in any way. There are plenty of other trends in the sea.

The most important thing to remember, as our friends from NOW Marketing Group pointed out, is to be relevant. If the trend you’ve selected isn’t relevant to your brand, then don’t post about it. If you’re newsjacking just for the sake of it, without it being any relevant or useful to your audience, you’re wasting time and giving off a negative vibe.

Q6: What are some of your best pro-newsjacking tips?

Don’t use newsjacking as an everyday tool to increase likes and impressions. It’s ok not to post about every big trend. Newsjacking isn’t an effective solution for every brand. Be wary of how you use it and only use it when you have something valuable to add to the conversation.

Q7: Tell us about your favorite newsjacking success stories.

Our guest’s favorite newsjacking came from Aviation Gin. In 2019, Peloton made an ad where a husband gifted a Peloton bike to his wife for Christmas. The ad shows how much she enjoyed her bike throughout the year. This ad quickly gathered the internet’s hatred for being sexist and demeaning. Here’s the original Peloton ad.

Aviation Gin scooped up this opportunity to create an ad for itself. The ad features none other than the Peloton wife herself as the main character. Have a look at the video on our guest’s tweet.

Q8: Share some resources to learn more about newsjacking.

The best way to learn is by observing others. Our guest’s best advice is to learn from other marketers. Join in on Twitter chats, share ideas, ask questions, and learn from their experiences.

Well folks, that’s all from me this week. Thanks for reading through and for more great insights from our chat with Azad have a look at this Twitter Moment that Joana put together for us. If you like this summary, you’ll love the real-time chat. Join us next Thursday at 1 pm ET for #TwitterSmarter. We also have an after-chat on Twitter Spaces at 5 pm ET. See you there!

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About me, Narmadhaa:

I write all the things—marketing stuff to pay the bills; haiku and short stories so I feel wholesome. A social media enthusiast, I hang out with the #TwitterSmarter chat crew, and am always happy to take on writing gigs.

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