Brand Storytelling

Newsjacking–a refresher for PR pros

By Ruan Gormley

At MediaHQ, we know just how manic the Public Relations world can be. PR pros are constantly trying to find creative ways to promote products, increase sales and generate a positive public perception of their brand. One method used to do this is ‘newsjacking’. 

Not sure what newsjacking is? A term established by David Meerman Scott in  2011, newsjacking is the act of leveraging breaking news to draw attention to your organization. It refers to the practice of capitalising on the popularity of a news story to amplify your sales, PR and marketing success.


Companies that carry out newsjacking create blog content and social media posts that are related to popular news stories to instantly reach a wider audience.  In order to use newsjacking effectively, staying on top of breaking news is key. You have a higher chance of being met with an influx of traffic when the news is fresh, so beside to set alerts to notify yourself when new stories break. Trying to gain news coverage off a story that is dead or dying in the media will probably not get your brand the increased publicity it is hoping for.
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One of the main reasons why we urge companies to choose brand new news stories when employing the newsjacking technique is that breaking international news stories tend to be one of the most searched terms on Google. So, focusing on relevant stories and tailoring your keywords can significantly boost your SEO ranking. Especially if you curate a company blog, staying informed with current affairs and being able to comment quickly on pertinent stories is highly beneficial. Make use of SEO tips and successfully push your brand to the top of the search results.
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When piggybacking on a topical news story, ensuring that there is a clear connection between your brand’s personality or values and the story itself is imperative. Commenting publicly on a relevant news story can help your existing customers and potential customers understand your brands views and core values. Feeding off a news story can seem insensitive or exploitative if done incorrectly – particularly when breaking news stories are tragic or controversial. Thus, your brand needs to be careful when picking which story to hijack.
Oreo are well known for their clever and creative newsjacking during the 2013 SuperBowl. Following a blackout during the championship game, Oreo poked fun at the ordeal while promoting their brand in the process. It was a hit with the public, becoming one of the most successful ads that year.
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Newsjacking is often used to downplay a fault or incident concerning a particular business that has made its way into the news. The witty tweets from German retailer Lidl in March 2018 are a prime example of this. Following the destruction of its store and its subsequent looting in Tallaght last year, their tweets made light of the situation, boosted their publicity and ultimately increased their likeability among the public.
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Want to make the news? Let us help. Click here for more information, or call Gaye of (01) 254 1845. 




Ruan Gormley

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