Valerie Chernek PR & Social –

Definition of newsjacking - using a trending news story in a company's marketing strategy

Quick! An industry event or hot news topic is happening. Your prospects are on the show floor or online with their tablets and smart phones in hand. The energy is electric. People are tweeting to potentially hundreds of colleagues who await information. Is your company ready to seize on this trending event and put your business front and center?


Newsjacking can be an effective practice for you to capitalize on the popularity of a news story or event.  When your industry news is a buzz, smart marketers and PR pros know how and when to pull the trigger on social media. The practice is not new, but there are many more opportunities to inject your brand into the day’s news to grab the attention of your audience. Sadly, many companies do not seize on the real-time moment due to lack of resources, skills or timing. Done appropriately, newsjacking can potentially send your social following on an upward spike. It can generate new leads, build thought leadership and increase web traffic.

Examples of Newsjacking via Twitter

Here are two “sweet” examples used via Twitter to capitalize on a painful moment, but you can newsjack any relevant topic as long as it relates to your product and you execute it tastefully.

Kit-Kat Candy Bar

KitKat tweet of 2014 newsjacking the Apple iphone #bendgate technical issue — “We don’t bend, we #break.” This message was retweeted 30,000 times.

Oreo Cookie

Oreo newsjacked the 2013 super bowl outage tweeting, “You can still dunk in the dark,” resulting in massive news coverage and delighted patrons.

Look for real-time industry trends 

The key to newsjacking is thoughtful conversation that responds to breaking news, a timely national, cultural or seasonal occasion, like National Reading Month or Back to School season, or a customer Q&A opportunity.

Often, I will pre-plan my social cues by using an editorial calendar to track upcoming events. I like to have short video clips and general images on hand. You can also develop blog posts to position your company executive as a thought leader.  To find trusted news sources, I use Hoot Suite streams and these resources:

  • Use your Twitter page
  • Search on #hashtags for conference events like #EdNET2017.
  • Create tailored RSS feeds.
  • Bookmark industry bloggers and sign up for their newsletters.
  • Monitor LinkedIn or Facebook groups – like the EdNET community.
  • Follow your rainmakers.

Newsjacking is a worthy practice

Skilled marketers know how to monitor industry trends, disruptive news and popular topics.  Engage your audience with informative content. Use emotion, recognition and compelling images. Be yourself, show your whit, describe solutions to a need, and address questions.  Also, think about the call to action. Where are you driving interested prospects to? A specific landing page, a blog, a lead form? Never leave your audience hanging.

Newsjacking will generate attention to your brand, product, service or self. You will need to recognize speed, timing and agility. Use your imagination, but be mindful of your company voice and mission. When you inject a flurry of inventive Tweets with relevant hashtags into a conversation, someone will notice. Who knows, you might just ignite a twitter storm with your most qualified buyers.

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