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Dos and Don’ts in Newsjacking

Newsjacking is not a new practice, as businesses and politicians have been using it for decades. However, ever since David Meerman Scott coined the term, the potential of using current events to divulge your own brand has become one of the most efficient marketing strategies out there. Oreo exemplifies the effectiveness of well-done news jacking, ever since they took the 2013 Super Bowl black out and turned it into their own story with a simple tweet: “You can still dunk in the dark”. While some businesses excel at injecting themselves into a story, most others fall behind and even damage their image while attempting to do so. Here is a list of dos and don’ts to successfully enter the latest marketing trend:

Act fast and hit the peak of the story. As soon a breaking news comes out, there is only a small window of a few hours to connect your brand with a story. During this short window, reporters and news outlets are looking everywhere for any additional content to add to their story. Involvement during this short lapse turns your opinion into a fundamental part of the story if it falls in the right hands.

Don’t involve your brand with negative stories. Natural disasters, a diseased celebrities, any form of tragedy is, for the most part, best left alone. When the public sees a brand trying to adhere their advertising to a tragic event, the brand is perceived as greedy and exploitative. The only exception to this rule is when your brand is clearly related to the negative event. For example, if there’s a current controversial court case, a law firm could post their opinions on social media and remain relevant to the story.

Set up alerts, news break 24/7.  This goes back to the first rule, where your reaction time is crucial to a proper newsjacking attempt. Use google alerts, follow news outlets on twitter and always have someone checking for potential hits.

Don’t limit yourself to your own industry, the sky is the limit. It does not matter of you sell cookies or toilet paper, you shouldn’t wait around for a new story that relates to your industry. It only takes a clever twist on an unrelated story to make it your own.

Watch out for competitors in your industry. If you come up with a piece of news you’d like to infiltrate, look at the other businesses in your industry first. It is possible that your newsjacking idea has already been taken by one of your competitors, and repeating the same idea that someone else already conveyed can seem desperate at best.

Don’t follow up on all news stories. Newsjacking is most effective when it surprises your audience. If your Twitter account is littered with opinions on current events, no one will notice you when the big news hit. Laying low and being patient is the key viral exposure during a break.

Use social media to get your opinion out. Twitter, Facebook, Blogging. These are your tools to get your point of view to your audience. Use the former to write short, clever messages for quick exposure, and use articles and blogposts for developed opinion pieces.

Take a different stance. Taking a controversial stance in a trending topic will further raise your relevance. A contrasting opinion is more valuable as it will begin a discussion focused around your brand.

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