One of the big trends in recent months has been real-time marketing. But is Newsjacking still a good idea? We will look at the practice based on a few examples but above all ask ourselves what are the implications if you bet on Content Marketing …

What is “newsjacking”?

Maybe you know the term carjacking that our friends across the Atlantic use to denote the theft of a car while its driver is on board. The idea is the same when we talk about Newsjacking.

Training & Co'm

According to David Meerman Scott the art and science (just that) of being able to mingle with a current event that benefits the attention of a particular community, or even a large number of consumers in general. The best definition I found (in French) is as follows:

“This method consists in seizing a fact of a company, a buzz, to divert it to the advantage of your brand, or company. Newsjacking is about feeling the potential of critical information that can make a buzz, catch it and transform it before it reaches its “peak of maturity” in order to make a buzz for you. “- Source: Neocamino’s blog

Scott perfectly illustrated the methodology in the illustration below:

How to make a good newsjacking?

One of the buzzwords right now is “real time marketing” or real time marketing. Scott explains, however, that this is not a synonym for Newsjacking:

Without going into too much detail, as the term suggests, real-time marketing is a set of tactics based on an organization’s reaction speed.

Some examples of Newsjacking

It is always good to use a few examples to illustrate the point. I have put together some examples of Newsjacking for you:

1 – The good students

The most cited example that you are no doubt familiar with is Oreo’s famous tweet “You can still dunk in the dark” in February of last year after a power outage during the Superbowl. Before this tweet, the brand had around 2,000 followers. It rose to over 30,000 in a few days!

The cookie brand is known for investing substantial resources in reactivity. An article in English in The Globe And Mail reveals how it goes during the Olympic Games. Many brands got involved at the latest after this resounding success, notably Heinz Ketchup.

In England, one of the best twitter accounts to follow in this regard is that of Oasis. The Social Media team regularly surfs on popular hashtags, making puns of varying quality.

Example of Newsjacking Oasis
Example of newsjacking by Oasis on the occasion of the election of the new Pope.

2 – Planned newsjacking: Hootsuite

I really liked what the Hootsuite social media management tool did in anticipation of the launch of the fourth season of the successful Game of Thrones series.

This shows that it is also possible to plan your move in advance, after all this video wasn’t done in five minutes! A well prepared editorial calendar incorporating these news that will inevitably be talked about and highly recommended!

3 – The false good idea

During Hurricane Sandy that hit the east side of the United States in 2012, the clothing brand GAP saw fit to take advantage of the hashtag and the attention of the general public to communicate a 20% discount on items.

A newsjacking missed by GAP

Of course, this attempt provoked strong reactions. The lack of tact of the brand which wanted to surf on a serious news event for marketing purposes caused a considerable Bad Buzz (notably under the hashtag #SandySaleFAIL).

Here is another example of a beautiful failure: the publication of Fish & Co on Facebook, when in December of last year, hundreds of people were affected by a riot in Singapore after the death of a young man. Needless to say, it was not long before the company issued a public apology …

Example of newsjacking missed by fish and co

There are many articles on the subject and, using a little Google search, you will find many other examples of newsjacking.

Good then, good or bad idea?

The whole point of the article is ask yourself if it’s still a good idea. The examples above (1) have shown us that a little creativity and reactivity can expose a brand to a very large number of people at reduced cost.

It is impossible to decide and say in absolute terms if the newsjacking is a good idea or not. Indeed, it depends on many parameters, the main two being:

  • The feelings about the news in question: is this a funny or unusual fact? Can we ridicule him without offending? Or is it a serious fact, in which case it is better not to try newsjacking …
  • Your Personas: Your content strategy is based on the personas you have developed. The social media team should also be aware of the audience you are speaking to so that you can be sure you are getting the right tone …

And in the context of a content strategy?

In my opinion, it is extremely delicate to do newsjacking in the context of a PAR content marketing approach, but it is necessary. Social networks are essential to Content Marketing because they amplify what you do on your own media (the blog). The greater the reach you have on these networks, the greater the reach of your articles.

The example of Hootsuite demonstrates that it is possible to plan these actions by including this type of event in its editorial calendar. This avoids making mistakes due to precipitation.

Diverting quote voltaire

When you engage in a Content Marketing logic, your goal is to establish yourself as a source of trust for your prospects and customers. You build trust with them (and with Google too). A misstep in the form of beautiful, missed newsjacking can seriously damage the trust capital you have garnered with quality content. Allow me to open a little parenthesis here: who determines what is good content? It is not its form or its cost, but the perception of your personas! They are the ones who judge whether your content is useful and / or entertaining or not.

Keep in mind that the greater your scope, the less you will be able to afford to make errors of judgment!


President Kennedy had previously noted that the Mandarin word for “crisis” is made up of two words. One means “risk” and the other means “opportunity.” This applies perfectly to wanting to ride the wave of news that gets a lot of attention.

It is all the more dangerous that if you bet on a content strategy (s), your credibility and established leadership is a precious commodity that it is about nurturing and not endangering …

So be careful …