🚀 The Event Playbook: Proven strategies to level up your next event!

🚀 The Event Playbook:
Proven strategies to level up your next event!

The Ultimate Guide to Newsjacking

What is Newsjacking?

Newsjacking, as bestselling author David Meerman Scott defines it, is about injecting your ideas into breaking news stories.

Essentially, you give a breaking news story (or trending twitter hashtag) a personal twist with a very quickly published blog or social media post. 

Benefits of Newsjacking

Journalists look for experts to quote in their second paragraphs, and if you’re one of the first to cover a situation, they may find your post and reference you. 

From the Author

In his digital-only book —  Newsjacking: How to Inject your Ideas into a Breaking News Story and Generate Tons of Media Coverage — Scott lays out a three-step process for effective newsjacking. 

This infographic covers a lot of ground. Let’s break it down a bit with some detailed tips: 

Step-By-Step Guide to Newsjacking

Step 1: Set Up Alerts — A big part of successful newsjacking is being first to the action. You want to keep a close watch on trends in your industry and big news in general.

  • I am a big fan of www.talkwalker.com/alerts‎ – they’re free and much more thorough than Google Alerts.
  • Also, I highly recommend the contentgems app inside of hootsuite – which pulls trends from 200,000+ sources and puts it right into Hootsuite where you can easily sent it out to all your social channels.
  • Follow all your favorite blogs in one place with feedly, my favorite RSS reader

Step 2: Check Keyword Search Volume — incorporate the most popular related phrase in your title.

  • The Google Keyword Planner will give you estimated month search volume for any phrase and give you recommendations for related phrases you might not have thought of. Sort by

Step 3: Read About Your Topic — read the original news story and what else has been written.

Step 4: Write Quickly, but Accurately — don’t obsess as timeliness is key

Step 5: Differentiate Yourself — Always inject your own angle, and/or be more thorough, more clear, offer how-to’s, or provide more meaningful examples. (tip: the longer you wait, the more detailed and unique you need to be for this to be successful)

Step 6: Get the Word Out — don’t just share it on your social media pages, do all you can to hype it up big time

  • blog about it
  • re-tweet and re-facebook it using trending hashtags
  • share it on related facebook pages and @mention relevant twitter profiles
  • email it to your lists
  • foster long-term relationships with partners and journalists

Step 7: Watch the Reactions — Look out for negative reactions. Many-a-newsjack goes wrong and offends people. If this happens, apologize and take down your blog or social post.

Read more – The above “How to Newsjack” steps are summarized from HubSpot’s Complete Guide to Newsjacking

Successful Newsjacking Examples

Newsjack Live Events on Social Media

Oreo Cookies — During the blackout at the Superbowl, Oreos send out this genius tweet:


The Result: Their creativity was rewarded with 15,000 tweets in 24hrs. With the game on pause for so long, many people went online to discuss and Oreo took advantage!

Newsjacking Social Movements

While many brands are afraid to take a stand on political issues for fear of polarizing their audience, Banana Republic “came out” for marriage equality.

The Result: 5,000 likes and 800 shares

Newsjacking Your Competitors

Eloqua — When one of their biggest competitors was purchased by Oracle, Eloqua’s CEO Joe Payne wrote a detailed blog post. The next day, when journalists went to cover the issue, all they found was a very generic press release by Oracle and Payne’s excellent write-up. Payne was quoted in numerous articles on the acquisition including BusinessWeek and PC World. (Read more about this standout move here.)

The Result: $1M in new business for Eloqua within a week!

Mediocre Examples

While great in theory, this newsjacking formula doesn’t always generate huge results. Take for example, Pardot’s post on what B2B marketers can learn from instagram’s billion dollar payday. A well written post, the day after a big news event, posted with a unique spin.

The Result: 5 sites linked to it and 0 shares on social media. Why wasn’t it more successful? Basically, they followed all the steps and didn’t do anything wrong, but it’s missing the humor, extreme-usefulness or controversy that generally makes this technique rock.

If you try to latch on to a big news story without adding any value or real creativity, you might end up on the wall of shame at the CorCondescending Corporate Brand Page.

Newsjacking Fails

Cairo protests

Kenneth Cole’s tweet about their Spring Collection referencing the Arab Spring is infamous. Had nothing to do with fashion and was very insensitive.

Kenneth apparently ascribes to the old adage “Any press is good press”, because just recently tweeted “”Boots on the ground” or not, let’s not forget about sandals, pumps and loafers. #Footwear” in response to the CIAs statement about Syria. This has spurred someone to create a parody Twitter account, churning out offensive witty newsjacks on their behalf. 

Hurricane Sandy

Hubspot wrote a post about how to newsjack Hurrina Sandy and really rubbed a lot of people the wrong way.

However, they did the right thing and apologized, changing the title of their post to “Is Newsjacking Hurricane Sandy Right or Wrong?”, asked for feedback and responded the wave of responses without censoring negative comments. 

Spamming with Irrelevant Hashtags

Including hashtags that have nothing to do with your services or your post just makes you look cheap and spammy. Don’t be that brand. 

George Zimmerman Trial 

Is Newsjacking Worthwhile?

Unmetric analyzed data from 10 infamous twitter newsjacks (5 positive and 5 negative). Their results show an average 0.7% increase in followers, ranging anywhere from 100-2000 new followers.

We & Goliath

We & Goliath is an award-winning, top 100 worldwide event agency known for increasing conference attendance by 7X and profits by 3X through beautifully designed virtual, hybrid, and in-person events. Since 1999, their team of innovative strategists and creative designers has worked with global enterprises, SMBs, non-profits, and other organizations to engage audiences and exceed expectations.

A black background with a red, yellow, and blue square.
Shopping Basket
A woman sitting on the floor with a laptop.

We create iconic events that generate buzz.

Let us help you smash your engagement goals and set attendance records.

Free for a Limited Time ($500 Value)