The Newsjack Hack

As real-time marketing has continued to explode ever since Oreo took over the 2013 SuperBowl during the blackout, newsjacking has been right by its side as a social media marketing tactic that capitalizes on relevant news: i.e. what is happening NOW. “Why should I care?” is becoming less of a question as marketers are finding ways to relate their marketing to what people DO care about. newsjackWhile newsjacking doesn’t have to be quite in real-time, the more relevant, the more effective it is. After all, you want to “ride the popularity wave” of a story before it crashes. What is essential however is that it has to appear seamless and fit in with the story naturally.

One way you can implement this marketing tactic is by linking your marketing to a trending topic. Twitter is a great social network for using this tactic, since it always has a stream of trending hashtags and there are many tools you can use to find which hashtags are trending within your demographic. Right now #OlympicPickupLines is trending, for example, and if you have a product that you can tie in (perhaps something that you can tie to Olympic sports, flirting, dating, sex, or something creative that has nothing to do with either the Olympics or pickup lines and you’re just brilliantly witty), you can expand your post visibility without having to resort to any sort of promoted posts or other paid Twitter advertising.

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While Twitter provides probably the easiest platform for newsjacking, brands have been able to implement it in their email marketing, blogs, actual ads, and other social networks. From well-known brands such as Spirit Airlines to charities such as Save the Children, many have been able to use newsjacking to their content marketing advantage, taking their marketing to the next level.

Newsjacking can also be used for B2B marketing as well, especially when asserting your expertise in a particular space. Social media professionals use this tactic often, inserting their voice into webinars, tweetups, etc. since the nature of the profession often ensures that those with similar interests will be involved in those conversations. This week I have been unable to attend #SMWNYC events live due to a busy work week, but through following specific hashtags and luckily catching some livestream events, I have been able to inject myself into conversations and act as a fairly active voice, despite not being present. As long as your posts pertain to the topic of discussion, and you respond only after active listening, you can become an organic presence in the conversation.

While newsjacking is a fairly easy way to tie your message to a topic with more traffic, it takes careful skill, setup, and precautions must be made:

  • Depending on your brand, you may want to check with your legal department before jumping on a trending hashtag’s bandwagon on Twitter, as it may “belong” to another brand/company, and they may ask you to take your posts down.
  • Be wary of tying into controversial or devastating
    news unless you have a very well-thought out plan to do so (perhaps as a publicity stunt). While it may make sense, for example, as an insurance company to tie your posts to reports of the temperamental winter storms that have been striking this winter, and illustrating how you can help, you are opening your brand up for potential backlash and outrage at exploiting the devastating effects the storms have caused.

Newsjacking is a great way to convert your target demographic’s interests into increased traffic for your brand, and is also an excellent tactic for potentially reaching new demographics that you wouldn’t otherwise reach. By tagging onto something people are already looking to because they find it interesting, you can then make them interested in what you have to share as well. 





Millennial Marketing: Living in a Material World

its-all-about-meMillennial: That beautiful buzz word. That materialistic, entitled consumeristic generation. That parasite of the expanding digiverse: We consume everything, feeding off of media, product placements, and, of course, the notion that we deserve everything. And we are that beautiful breed that marketers can’t get enough of these days.

So what does this mean for marketers? How valuable is this “#genlike” demographic in reality? Pretty damn valuable. The millennial generation is a self-serving one, always asking “What have you done for me lately?” However, we are also quick to act as brand advocates, it just comes at a cost. We are a generation that feeds off of attention, be it Likes, Shares, RT’s, etc. That means that we will be quick to promote a product (often unknowingly) for free, but we seek confirmation in the meantime. After all, we are the Me, Me, Me Generation” which means that we want you to make it about us. We expect brands to interact with us – to have active social customer service, to engage us in conversation, to be a “voice for the people.” Static brand advertising is a thing of the past; brands need to be on 100% of the time. “I want it now” has never been so spot on as it is when marketing to the millennial, which means you have to have it all. 

While this may be daunting, it provides a lot of opportunities for brands to go beyond tradition marketing and actually reach their customers on a personal level. Brands like Progressive have done an excellent job of giving their product a voice and persona. They’ve taken a pretty mundane product and have given it life. By entertaining and relating to their audience, they have made themselves more appealing, and therefore are seeing the results. Millennials aren’t necessarily an affluent demographic, but we spend a lot of money. We are a generation that revolves around constantly comparing ourselves to our peers, made especially easy through social media, and our spending habits reflect that. This is where marketing becomes extremely important; signifying your brand’s products as a valuable commodity that will set us apart (or make our lives easier since that’s also often a priority with our generation) is essential for convincing us that our money is best spent with you.

This is where social media becomes an asset for brands, because it’s an easy and inexpensive avenue for reaching the millennial market. We are the demographic that spends the most time online, and we can be reached through so many avenues there: YouTube, ads on Hulu, Facebook advertising, Twitter accounts that we follow….the list goes on and on.
There’s so many ways to reach us  that it would be foolish not to get into the digital space. With the whole world at our fingertips, why would we as millennials go offline?

The online universe has taken the marketing world by storm as millennials migrate to the Internet for everything from TV viewing, to shopping, to social interactions, and even dating.
With millennials at the helm of it all, the shift towards marketing in the digital space is rapidly growing, as marketers scramble to find new ways to capture the attention of this easily distracted demographic. From real-time marketing to native advertising and even “memevertising” (so adeptly coined by, marketers are seeking ways to elude the obvious, and capture the millennial dollar without being overt about it. The best advertising after all is the kind where consumers don’t even realize that’s what it is.

So basically, when it comes to marketing, millennials are a necessary evil, and we are a demanding demographic. What can you do for me? Woo me. Make me feel special. Give me what I want, and more importantly, give me what I need. Most importantly, and at the most basic level, just make me believe that’s what you’re doing. After all, “we are living in a material world, and I am a material girl.”