Online Marketing

Fred Lebhart Posted by Fred Lebhart on September 30, 2016

What Is 'Newsjacking' And Is It Right For Your Blog

What Is 'Newsjacking' And Is It Right For Your Blog

The pros and cons of this common content marketing tactic

Keeping a blog going can be taxing. Generating ideas takes time and energy, and some days you’re just flat out of things to write about. Fortunately, there’s a never-ending well of potential blog post ideas that floods into your Twitter timeline and Facebook feed every single day - the news.

What is “newsjacking”?

Using current affairs as a way to generate new content can be a great way to ensure that your blog is always fresh and topical. Often referred to by content marketing professionals as “newsjacking,” this practice requires a bit of creativity and a lot of social media savvy, but the rewards can be huge if you use it right.

Essentially, a proper newsjacking utilizes a subject that people are already talking about and adds your brand’s spin or insight. This can be great for experts who work in a particular field (i.e. what are the legal implications of a news story? Or, as a doctor, what do you know about a celebrity story that others may not?) or companies who sell goods or services (everyone’s talking about an event—does your company have any products that directly or indirectly would be great for that event?). 

Some examples include: Referencing a popular TV show or an event that’s particularly buzzworthy, like an award show or the Olympics. Try to think about how you can take part in the news cycle in a unique way, and you’ll be set up for a good newsjacked blog post or campaign. 

Newsjacking can be extremely effective because it addresses a major problem in content marketing, which is that often, we, as marketers, are trying to get readers or viewers to get outside of the news cycle to see our content. When everyone—everyone!—is talking about the Olympics, it can be difficult to get their attention with tweets or blog posts about podiatry or healthy eating...unless you attach the two. Then, you’ve got a story that fits inside the existing cycle. 

How newsjacking can go wrong

Newsjacking does come with one major caveat, though: It can go very, very wrong when brands choose to hijack the wrong news story. One of the biggest examples of this was when a whole lot of companies decided to tweet about Hurricane Sandy as an advertising ploy.

In these instances, newsjacking can look like a cheap way to co-opt a serious news event that has real-world consequences for thousands of people. 

Brands can also get the tone of an event wrong, or be unaware of existing narratives that can make their newsjacking appear insensitive or offensive. For example, when Ellen DeGeneres recently tweeted about Olympic runner Usain Bolt, she was accused of racism

Which is to say: If you’d like to try your hand at newsjacking, try it with something that’s easily discussed and largely harmless, and consider running it by a diverse group of people before hitting “publish.”

And when in doubt, the folks at efelle creative are always here to help you out. 

Need help with your blog? We can help!

efelle creative is a Seattle-based web marketing firm that specializes in website design and development, website content management, search engine optimization, and other online marketing services. Since 2005, efelle has worked with hundreds of businesses to help them with their web development needs. Call us at 206.384.4909 or fill out our online contact form to get in touch with a custom web design specialist.

See Also:

When It Comes To Content Marketing, It's Ok to NOT Do It All

The Blog Content Schedule to Get More from Your Marketing Efforts