Newsjacking for small brands: The whole world just became a member of your brand marketing team


Companies and brands are continuously looking for ways to get more eyes on them and their products. As a marketing strategy, newsjacking is not, well, news. But the dynamics of incorporated in this technique makes it evergreen. And the great thing is: you don’t have to be a big brand to take advantage of its benefits.

What is Newsjacking?

In simple terms, newsjacking is a way to get the spotlight of the breaking news to shine your way. 

Let’s say an event happens that the entire online community is going wild about. Links get shared, certain hashtags’ trending is sky-high, and Google autocompletes the searched keyword after only the first letter is typed. And you’re sitting there resharing the same news, while begging your friends and co-workers to like your brand’s Facebook page, asking yourself when’s your website going to get as many hits. Are you doing anything wrong? Yes. You are not using an opportunity.

How to newsjack and when?

The other name for newsjacking is real-time advertising. This makes it clear that to be successful in newsjacking you need to be fast and spontaneous. Of course, creativity, sense of humor and being witty are implied. Look at the graphic below to see the basic lifeline of a news story:

illustration of a life of a news story

When a newsworthy event happens, you have to spot it. This means that someone from your (or our) team needs to be watching and waiting almost constantly. When an opportunity is spotted, act immediately. Contact management, get an express approval and start your campaign. Stay close to news from all kinds of niches. The important thing is to inject your idea into the event and when the event hits its peak, you can find yourself right there on the top with it.

Use all the resources you can: trending hashtags, keywords and tags to get the attention to yourself. But be careful not to be insulting. It’s not newsjacking when a famous actress wore a beautiful gown at the Oscar’s last night, but you think that she would look much better in something you designed, tag the actress, the designer and the event. That’s just being jealous. 

Especially if you are a small brand, you have to pay attention to how your posts will come out, even if you mean what you said in some other way. Be friendly and likable, since you don’t have anything else to cling on to (like social proof that your product is amazing, helpful, life-changing and so on, which we are sure it is). 

For example, if we were to go back a few years ago and our DresSnap app was just published in the time of the “What color is the dress” discussion, we probably would have done something like this:

newsjacking example for dres snap app

What else do you need to start newsjacking?

Nothing. That’s the greatest thing. Stay clear of controversial situations, and make sure that the lucky ones on your marketing team who will deal with real-time advertising matters have a sense for sensitive events. In terms of funding, these kinds of campaigns require a minimal budget, just a dedicated team (we have one on loan, wanna meet them?).

And one more thing, try to have fun while you’re at it. 

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