How brands can make a difference with newsjacking

Without a doubt you also have them. Friends who, in the blink of an eye, react appropriately or funnily to someone else’s words or actions. Well, brands can also do this. We call it ‘Newsjacking’. And even though it can be a dangerous game, I love it.

OreoBrands now realize all too well that in order to reach their target audience they need to be on social media. Only looking at Facebook, there are more than 1.3 billion active users to instantly connect with. The flexibility and instantaneousness of social media are unprecedented. It’s just so much more difficult to tap into recent events in a magazine where you as an advertiser have to send in your publication days in advance before printing. Social media let you post your idea virtually as soon as you come up with it!

What you have to keep in mind, however, is that people aren’t on social media to be bombarded with publicity. They already get their fair share on television, in magazines and of course on the Internet as a whole. People mainly log into their social profiles to keep in touch with friends, share their life and read what’s happening in the world around them. And that’s exactly what brands need to tap into to discern themselves.

Of course a part of the shared content will still be B2C or B2B, but more and more it will shift to P2P, People2People. Why? The answer seems obvious. To some extent, people tend to consider a brand as a person, for some of them even as a friend.

As a person, we generally love those exact friends that share the funniest jokes or videos or the ones who succeed in writing witty comments on the news. Haven’t you ever thought “Oh! I wish it was me who came up with that!”? :)

5 types of newsjacking

Some brands are very good at newsjacking. But what exactly is it?

  • Regular Foreseen Content: Easy, we all know it’s going to be Christmas…
  • Unique Foreseen Content: Easy, we know a long time in advance when the next Star Wars movie will be released…
  • Unforeseen Content: Oooomph, tricky! As the name says, you can’t foresee it, unless you’re a fortune teller… One of the best examples? Oreo’s famous blackout tweet during the Superbowl.
  • Based on buzz: Not foreseen either. Remember the white and gold dress?
  • Done by users: Can be good, but it all depends on whether it’s from a fan or a hater…

Newsjacking content

So, to resume: what do you need to succeed in creating awesome newsjacking content?

  • A superb idea.
  • Speed in devising the idea: a great idea one week later is irrelevant.
  • Speed in validating the idea: if it takes 3 days to validate, it’s too late.
  • Maybe a limited promo budget: it would be a pity if nobody notices your pun.

But be careful, it’s a tricky game that can generate just as much good buzz as bad buzz!

Want more examples? Have a look on our Slideshare or below for our 75th Friday Session.


Candice Vanhacht

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