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  • Writer's pictureMarc Primo

How To Use Trends To Boost Awareness Via Newsjacking

This is an article “How To Use Trends To Boost Awareness Via Newsjacking” by Marc Primo

People always search the Internet for the latest news and information about things that are relevant to them. Given the speed with which today's search engines and mobile browsers churn out results, marketers must keep their sleeves rolled up to discover opportunities that ‘newsjacking’ methods can offer.

Every marketer knows that there is art involved when taking newsjacking approaches. Fruitful efforts can lead to brands enjoying free PR, generating broader online interest, increasing audience engagement, and---most of all---creating enough social media buzz. However, there are consequences if you haven't got the faintest idea of how it works. Any content that appears forced and inappropriately spoonfed will always turn out to be bad press for business.

To learn more about effective newsjacking methods, check out this listicle of tips that can help you jack up your online presence and prevent your efforts from becoming the bad publicity you don't need.

Newsjacking defined

For new marketers who haven't heard of the term 'newsjacking,' it is basically a PR technique that can generate significant results for your awareness campaigns. What you do is take a trending news story then anchor your brand on that story, however way possible. Doing so can ignite a discussion among online users around your brand. In cliche parlance, it's a tactic that capitalizes on an opportunity to strike while the iron is hot.

Marketers who perform newsjacking often look for relevant and timely stories on the net and associate their brand's stance or values with potential audience engagement. What usually results are hashtag shares, mentions, and user comment threads or forums that can get noticed by other audiences.

Creating a newsjacking campaign requires quick-witted marketers who are aware of the current trends. It would help if you assembled a team of individuals who are keen on social media listening.

Not to be mistaken with another social media tactic called moment marketing, newsjacking aligns a brand with a current trend to generate more excellent thought investments from online users. On the other hand, moment marketing involves the creation of marketing collaterals based on more ongoing and seasonal topics.

Regular brainstorming sessions will allow you to balance your content and not become too sensationalized for social media platforms. Lighthearted and thoughtful posts and comments on trending topics encourage audiences to participate in discussions that revolve around your brand's association. Such a strategy can allow you to show your industry leadership and values as a top-of-mind brand.

How newsjacking works on social media

Social media is still the best home for anything that can go viral, including newsjacking content. In traditional PR, marketers will monitor news and draft press releases they think niche reporters will pick up for their publication's latest issues. Similarly, newsjacking also creates content based on a trending niche topic, though with a much faster turnaround rate and better chances for conversions on social media. This content management practice is now possible since there is no longer a need for third-party media outlets to screen content, unlike the way traditional PR works.

Once you create an excellent article about a trending topic, you can immediately post it on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter for all to see. However, it won't be advisable to post content without thoroughly reviewing them, even though platforms can enable you to delete previous posts. Once a user sees your post and captures a screenshot of it, good or bad, consider it immortalized on the web, forever.

Tips on newsjacking efficiency

Newsjacking content can also give you the opportunity to be taken up by more prominent media outlets that can regenerate it as a story by itself. Google's annual #yearinsearch campaigns are probably one of the best examples of brilliant newsjacking. Every December, they release the post as a year-end retrospect for users, comprising trends and events that will immortalize the year. The campaigns boost the brand and its family of marketing tools like Google Trends and Analytics as well.

When trying newsjacking for the first time, always remember that your main objective is to generate attention and a broader audience reach. First, monitor current niche trends through alerts from credible news sources and social media platforms. Tracking topics on Twitter is a good start with the help of tools such as Google Trends or BuzzSumo.

Once you get the alerts, get your think tank into a room and choose which trending topics you can leverage for your brand posts. Review each one based on the pros, cons, and insights that you derive from social media listening to avoid offending individuals or groups with your posts.

Also, make sure your brand's messaging is relevant to the issue. Forcing your brand on something irrelevant will only make it appear incoherent to users.

Finding the right time for newsjacking

If no issues are relevant to your brand, you can take one from the book of moment marketing, such as regular events like Mother's Day or Christmas. While the two take different approaches, aligning them for a more reinforced content management campaign can get audiences to pay more attention to your brand. Plus, it eases the competition when it comes to newsjacking the best trending topics of the present.

The secret lies in your timing and how well you can relate your brand's message to your audiences. News changes quickly, so be sure to talk about topics that can last for the long term and those that can affect people personally.

For most marketers, the ideal time to release newsjacking stories is right before public excitement mounts and when journalists are scrambling for more information. One good example is how Burger King related the 'Big Mac' trademark to its products. The move came after Mcdonald's was about to lose a legal battle for the 'Big Mac' trademark against an Irish restaurant called Supermac's.

It wasn’t long before Burger King released content that pushed their Big Mac-like products online, even claiming that their products are ‘better than McDonald's', resulting in significant media buzz over the campaign.

Once you've gotten hold of a potential news story that your brand can comment on, all you have to do is make the necessary alignments, consider overall sentiments regarding the issue, and act quickly. Doing so will elevate your brand’s status to a more socially active entity that anyone can relate to, support, and follow.


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