Why Newsjacking Is The New Black?

Why Newsjacking Is The New Black? 5 Things You Want To Know About Newsjacking

5 Things You Want To Know About Newsjacking

Newsjacking can be a great tool to increase your exposure and following, but be careful – it can make or break your strategy!

What is newsjacking? Newsjacking is taking advantage of the next big story or breaking news and incorporating it in to your content. Newsjacking is pretty popular these days and it’s clear why: whenever there is a trending hashtag on social media or there is a spike in searches for articles about that big story, your content has a chance of getting in front of these people that otherwise wouldn’t see your messages.

The most frequent examples of that are things like snack recipes around Super Bowl that have a title along the lines of “Tailgaiting snacks before the Big Game” or wardrobe tips along the lines of “How to Watch Oscars in Style.”

The creators of these content know that there is an obvious interest in these big events and that they can boost their exposure by simply aligning the content with those huge events. Could they post these same snack recipes some other time and just call it “yummy snacks you can enjoy whenever?” Absolutely, but that would not get as much interest.

One can also argue that Oreo’s “blackout” tweet during the Super Bowl

or Arby’s tweet to Pharrel during Grammy’s are all examples of clever newsjacking.

Let’s examine these two instances as a fine example of successful and effective “newsjacking.” What does your content need in order to succeed at newsjacking?

1. Activity

Keep time constraints in mind when creating such content. It might be relevant only for a short period of time. If you’re not invested in this experiment actively, don’t bother. You have just a little bit of time to juice this story out and promote your content on social media aggressively. If you’re just going to write a post and leave it hanging there hoping that page rank will magically bring it up on the first page, chances are it won’t happen and you need to create the traffic by heating up the interest.

2. Timeliness

This is the most important thing. You have to come up with, create and package your content faster than everyone else. This is the most difficult part, because it pays well. If you take 3-5 days to create content about Oscars, forget about it because everyone already discussed the outfits, the acceptance speeches, the host jokes, the nominees, the winners, everything. There is no much room left for unique content. Unless, you have a completely unique perspective that may be shocking or you create an in-depth analysis of the event and that requires some time to see the full outcome.

To truly “newsjack” you have to be one of the first people to get on a trend.

If you’re watching red carpet arrivals and writing an article about the outfits, you need to be blogging (or tweeting) in live mode. Not only will your content reap the most initial exposure, live blogging (or publishing) will also get you in a habit of creating content fast and react to anything unexpected instantly.

Oreo reacted to an event within 15 minutes of its happening; this is why it was so edgy, because their response was ready in the moment’s peak.

3. Cleverness

You can create “meh” content and get that initial exposure, but readers will leave your content as soon as they start reading. Remember that people will get on the trend and the best content will win. Average content will be lost in the sea of other average content and only outstanding content will stick with readers. Your content or tweet doesn’t have to hilarious, but it needs to be interesting and unique enough to be remembered.

4. Good-spiritedness

Make sure that the event you’re touching upon is positive or at least neutral. Don’t try to exploit a negative situation that has bad consequences. Not a lot of people will find it funny. You want people to connect to your message and your brand, not posting angry comments underneath it. If you decide to make a joke, make sure it’s not too edgy and offensive for some. Don’t cross that line, because this is where newsjacking can break you.

There are multiple stories of companies that had to apologize after their unsuccessful attempts at humor. Just not so long ago, Best Buy had to apologize for a joke that was related to TV series “Serial” about a murder in Best Buy. People found it offensive as the series were based on a true story. Again, if you can’t come up with a clever joke fast (I don’t judge), stick to a smart content that informs or expands on the event.

5. Relevancy

While arguable Oreo has nothing to do with football (although they’re advertisers during Super Bowl) and Arby’s has nothing to do with music awards, they made the best out of situation. The reason for that might be that about 30 people on a team put their heads together. If you’re doing this alone or maybe with another person, practice on events that are more relevant to your industry and are less urgent.

A good example of that would be a big car show for automotive industry, where you can inform readers on new vehicles revealed while inserting your messages into the story. Something like “The new Ford Focus looks edgier and sharper than the previous model; however, the old model boasts some great interior features, so don’t hesitate to inquire about it today.” Or if you’re in food and culinary business, you can talk about a cooking competition and how you have a similar dish or your ingredient is great for that recipe they showcased last night.

It’s always great to have a plan, so check the calendar and see what celebrations, events and anticipated news might come your way. Draft it in your calendar and start thinking what you want to say before you say it. What is the anticipated moment or outcome of the event? Will there be losers and winners? If so, how can you incorporate that without making anyone mad?

Newsjacking Infographics

Here are two Infographics from David Meerman Scott, author of the book “Newsjacking: How to Inject your Ideas into a Breaking News Story and Generate Tons of Media Coverage”. You can check out his book here: newsjacking.com

The first one “Life of a News Story” shows the importance of timing. To effectively newsjack, you must be quick.

Life of a News Story by David Meerman Scott

The second one “How to Newsjack” shows the various steps to effective newsjacking.

How to Newsjack by David Meerman Scott

Have you tried newsjacking?

If so, how did it work for you? Leave the comment below.

[Main image: Orange Is the New Black TV-series by Tilted Productions in association with Lionsgate Television]

About Lesya Liu

Lesya Liu is a photographer and a social media expert whose background includes years in journalism and marketing. She was born and raised in Ukraine. Her passion lies in art and marketing (and combining the two). She shares an interesting relevant content on topics of social media, email marketing, digital marketing, content marketing strategies and so much more on thesocialmediacurrent.com.

View all posts by Lesya Liu

5 Responses to “Why Newsjacking Is The New Black?”

  1. David Meerman Scott Says:

    Looks to me like that infographic lifted many of the ideas in my pioneering 2011 book “Newsjacking”.


  2. Lesya Liu Says:

    Hi David, Thank you for your comment. The infographic was created by MediaCause and not by us. We went with this inforgraphic because ideas mentioned in there were pretty general. What parts were lifted?


  3. David Meerman Scott Says:


    Much of the language in the infographic appears to be from my book. For example, the subtitle of my book is “How to Inject your Ideas into a Breaking News Story and Generate Tons of Media Coverage” which looks really similar to the “What is Newsjacking?” part of the infographic.

    I pioneered Newsjacking. It wouldn’t exist as an idea unless I had written about it. While I love that the idea has spread way beyond me and I don’t claim exclusive ownership, I do resent when my stuff is stolen without attribution.

    Thanks, David


  4. Lesya Liu Says:

    HI David, Thank you for your input. Sorry you feel this way. If you have any feeling that your ideas were stolen, please reach out to MediaCause.


  5. David Meerman Scott Says:

    Since I left my original comments, we’ve been in contact and you’ve kindly used several of my graphics instead. I appreciate that.


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