What do you think about when you hear the term ‘newsjacking’? Do you think of the slang ‘to get jacked'? Well, if you use it right, that’s definitely what will happen to your content strategy — it will get ripped!

Are you ready to find out what newsjacking is and how your brand can benefit from it? Then let’s get started:

Newsjacking in a nutshell

In short, it's a way to earn media coverage in an affordable, strategic way by climbing aboard newsworthy stories. This can relate to fresh industry news that’s already gaining attention or popular trends that you see emerging.

Brands can then spot these newsy stories and find a unique angle that relates to them specifically. They will then develop content surrounding that topic and create brand awareness in this way.

Back in 2015, for example, the dress that broke the Internet was a trending topic that sparked many theories, memes and even fun family debates. While the world was fighting about what colours it was, brands were jumping on the bandwagon too. The result was media converge for their businesses with conversation cleverly crafted around #TheDress.

The Salvation Army South Africa created a campaign about gender-based violence that used the conversation around the dress. The angle was showing how hard it was to see the dress as black and blue. The organisation drew on wordplay to point out that the (black and blue) bruises of abuse victims are also hard to notice. This organisation found a way to use a newsworthy trend to create brand awareness for its mission.

Still relating to the same controversial dress, the famous donut brand Dunkin’ also generated awareness for their donuts by adding their thoughts. Although these brands are vastly different, both found their unique angle to use the trending topic to gain media attention.

The benefits of newsjacking

Now that you know what this term means, you must be wondering, “Why should I care about newsjacking?” Well, this is because it can be an easy and fun way to put your brand in the spotlight (for all the right reasons).

So, let’s take a look at three benefits to this phenomenon:
  1. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO): Hitching a ride on the perfect topic can increase your discoverability on search engines. If a user is searching for a specific topic, your content that includes the keywords about that story will pop up in the search results. So it directly improves your SEO. Just be sure to not use the keywords if it is not relevant to your content.
  2. Become a key opinion leader: Commenting on a particularly newsworthy event can elevate your brand or strengthen its footing as an industry leader. Journalists are always on the lookout for experts’ opinions to add to articles or to quote in articles.
  3. Improve content engagement: Choosing the right content to newsjack can improve your engagement. Why? Because a clever comment, fresh angle and new addition to a trending story means standing out in a crowd to an audience who is already engaging with the topic.
media update’s top tip: That being said, jumping onto a newsworthy event can be insensitive if you choose the wrong topic. So stay away from events that involve death, natural disasters and too much politics.

How to newsjack step-by-step

When you have decided to apply newsjacking in your content strategies, you will need to create a reliable roadmap to ensure you arrive at your destination. Right? So, how does one do this?

Well, your first step is to pay attention to industry news. These consist of topics that are about to be trends or that are gaining a lot of attention on social media. They will have a lot of views, reactions, comments or shares. But remember that when you find a topic you want to newsjack, make sure it’s relevant to your industry and your audience.

Newsjacking is a time sensitive strategy. One moment a topic is trending and the next it has been replaced by the next best thing — so be aware of timing.

Once you have chosen the topic you're hopping onto, choose the right keywords. This not only helps with your SEO but also ensures that your content is on the same track as all the other people riding the news train. If you look at the examples above, the ideal keywords to use were ‘black and blue’, ‘white and gold’ and ‘the dress’.

After this, you need to create high quality content to show to your audience. So create images, videos or posts that connect your brand and the newsworthy event or topic. You can identify different forms of content, media channels and lengths of content that work best to meet your brand’s needs.

The final step is to show your content and be available online. This means distributing your images or videos through the chosen channels. When people respond to what you’ve put out, you need to engage with them. When users search for your brand, you need to be reachable. So ensure your website and social media profiles are complete.

Have you used newsjacking in your content development? Let us know in the comments below.

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Now that you know what newsjacking is, why not empower your brand with more information? Take a look at this Infographic: How to use newsjacking to boost your brand.
*Image courtesy of Canva