I once asked a famous public speaker how he manages to always sell out his lectures. He responded that the secret is all about making up the Headline people want to see. He said he realised that people liked to attend lectures that deal with “Religion, “Life After Death” and “Sex”. So he titled his lecture “The Jewish approach to Sex after Death” – it was standing room only !
What he did back then is what we refer today at Newsjacking.
If you are one of those companies that doesn’t have billions of Rands/ Dollars/ Euros/ Pounds to spend on marketing, there is a relatively new way of getting fantastic exposure by riding on the coattails of events happening around the world. The terms is Newsjacking and it is the art of understanding a breaking story and using that to your advantage to inject your message into the event.
Newsjacking Done Wrong:
The trick with getting newsjacking right verses getting it so very wrong is to understand when to get in on a breaking story and how to position your company without being insensitive.
Certain topics are just offside. After a devastating earthquake destroys a city, sending a tweet saying “if you used our cement you would have been fine” is not the smartest move neither is “Millions are in uproar in #Cairo. Rumour is they heard our new spring collection is now available online” when referring to the Arab Spring.
These are not just bad form but could (and usually do) generate a severe backlash against the company.
Newsjacking Done Right:
Perhaps one of the most famous examples of GOOD newsjacking was done by Oreo during the Super Bowl when a power failure in the stadium resulted in the Super Bowl being halted for 30 minutes whilst the lights were being fixed. Millions of TV viewers jumped onto all social networks to get updates on the unfolding events. Oreo was quick to newsjack this event with a simple Tweet that read ”Power out? No problem” along with a picture of the Oreo cookie in the dark and the slogan “You can still dunk in the dark”
This tweet was Re-Tweeted over 12 000 times earning Oreo massive attention for zero cost.
#BendGate is Newsjacking heaven
Loads of companies are jumping on the iPhone #Bendgate. For those 2 people who don’t know, the new iPhone 6 Plus is said to be bending when users put them in their pockets and quickly earned the Hashtag #bendgate
Here are some examples of newsjacking of #BendGate from non-mobile companies who are jumping on this exposure:
Of course rival mobile companies were quick to “troll” Apple with:
How to get in on Newsjacking:
Now that you get the idea, here are some tips on how to create your own Newsjacking stories.
1. Use all social networks.
Newsjacking can be done on your own website, on blogs, on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. Don’t limit yourself to one network. Newsjack where the customers are hanging out and looking for information.
2. Identify the popular Hashtags
Look at the trending Hashtags – use them. This will link your “story” into the timeline of those following the news story.
3. Get in Early
The most interest in a story is at the beginning when it is just breaking. There are no facts/ figures/ info yet so people naturally turn to social media to search. This is where they should find your Newsjacking story too.
4. Get in Late too
Once all the dust settles is when news organisation would have experts, analysis, opinions, polls about the event. This is when you have one more stab at it.
5. BE SENSITIVE
Don’t’ be an ass. Read the emotions of the story and see if it is worth getting into the mix or if better to stay out. Feel good stories are perfect newsjacking opportunities. Bad news, shootings, retrenchments, poverty, death are topics to stay away from. Especially if you are new to newsjacking. Seek expert advise.