What is Newsjacking? 3 Best Practices for B2B marketers

Oct 9, 2018

Newsjacking has become an established marketing tool. While most people are familiar with the strategy, some may not recognize the name. Just what is newsjacking?

Here’s a basic definition: Newsjacking is inserting your brand story into breaking news or current events.

Making newsjacking work for B2B brands

The idea behind it is simple – find a way to hitch your message to a trending story, increasing coverage and exposure of your brand in the process. Essentially, it’s really timely content marketing. It sounds simple, but doing it right takes some creativity and finesse.

That’s especially important for business-to-business brands when the connection between the headline-grabbing story and the company’s message might be a little tougher to pull out.

Here are three B2B marketing strategies for newsjacking the day’s headlines and increase brand exposure.

1. Find the connection to your brand promise

B2B brands spend a lot of time thinking about their own customers as well as their customer’s customer. It’s all fair game in newsjacking.

Focus on how current events and news stories play into your brand promise – not your product or service, but your promise. In the lead up to the Oscars, a business software company delivering efficiency could create a piece on making the awards show shorter or how viewers can multitask while they watch at home.

Movies, TV shows and other pop cultural hits are loaded to put your own spin on the news. Some of the most successful and popular content we’ve developed for clients has newsjacked fiction. We’ve written about the challenges of insuring dragons in Game of Thrones and what Downton Abbey can teach families about managing their wealth.

2. Add to the story

Look for parts of the story in which your brand can add a unique take on the headline. Can you add a unique perspective, a compelling counterpoint, an expert analysis or historical context?

In some cases, it can be as simple as adding a little humor or levity. When the power went out at the Super Bowl in 2013, Oreo quickly tweeted “You can still dunk in the dark,” offering a funny comment as the country collectively reached for the phones to check Twitter during the break in the action. It’s regularly cited as one of the best examples of newsjacking to date.

3. Nail the delivery

With newsjacking, the details matter. Your brand has to chime in at the right time with the right message and tone. A streamlined process for drafting, approving and pushing out the content is essential.

The good news is, there are plenty of news hooks you can prepare for well ahead of time. You know the Super Bowl is coming in February, for instance, or you know at some point in the future another Star Wars movie is coming. Start brainstorming now.

Check for controversy

Before you pitch, publish or promote, it also pays to take a step back and make sure your newsjacking content doesn’t have unintended messages that could backfire for your brand. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Does it in any way appear that your brand is attempting to capitalize on a tragedy?
  • Could the story develop or change in ways that don’t align with your piece or brand promise?
  • Would any current customers or clients prefer not to be associated with this story?
  • How will employees react to the piece?

This article was written by Alex Irwin. It is part of our B On The Basics series, in which we explain marketing fundamentals using Braithwaite best practices. Read more in this series.

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