Independent Thinking Blog

Newsjacking is Easy, But Should You Do It?

What do you think about Amazon’s plan to use drones to speed up delivery? Depending on who you talk to, this is either a great idea rife with possibility, Skynet scary, or long-term-dreaming and short-term nonsense. Either way, Jeff Bezos accomplished what he set out to do: get his company massive media coverage just in time for Cyber Monday.

See what I just did there?

I took a hot story (Amazon! Drones!), added a reference to The Terminator, and created an instant blog post around the hot topic of the day. Now if I’d just added an attention-grabbing headline (Why Amazon’s Drones Are the Next Big Thing in Customer Service) and published the post on Cyber Monday, I’d have been all set to take advantage of one company’s story to drive traffic to my own business.

That’s newsjacking.

David Meerman Scott, who coined the phrase, defines newsjacking as:

“the process by which you inject your ideas or angles into breaking news, in real-time, in order to generate media coverage for yourself or your business.”


Newsjacking is not new. For as long as there have been media companies, businesses (and their PR teams) have been placing their two cents into existing stories.

What’s new is that this isn’t about traditional PR anymore. As we become publishers, we get to dispense with the gatekeepers and write our own stories. Drive traffic directly to our Web sites (ideally converting that boost in traffic into brand awareness and sales).

Should you newsjack?


There’s nothing wrong with newsjacking done right. Oreo’s You Can Still Dunk In the Dark tweet was brilliant. Kenneth Cole’s joke about rioting over its spring collection, however, was not.

Before you think about newsjacking, ask yourself:

  • Is this a news story that we should be commenting on?
  • Is our article, tweet, video, or photo consistent with our long-term marketing strategy?
  • Is our article, tweet, video, or photo consistent with our brand?
  • Is it in good taste?

Has your business experimented with newsjacking?


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