Newsjacking: A Quick and Awesome Way to Create Viral Content 

Learn the secret of leveraging breaking-news to create engaging and viral branded content

Today, the entire marketing landscape is in a state of change and in case if you have not noticed, content has been the epicenter of this digital marketing upsurge. Google’s ever-evolving ranking algorithm ranks sites based on the quality and relevance of their content like never before.

As Martin Jones — Senior Marketing Manager at Cox Communication, said-

“Social is how customers hear about you, search is how they find you, and content is how they will remember you”
Photo Credit:

(Learn more about Panda & Penguin algorithm as explained by an Inbound Marketer, NYU professor and founder of searchdecoder blog — Matthew Capala.)

It’s not just a recent trend though, the power of good content dates back to 1839 when famous English author Edward Bulwer Lytton said —

‘The pen is mightier than the sword’

As much true as the above saying goes, in today’s scenario it is also very true what Mark Schaefer, (@markwschaefer )thinks :

“ Power doesn't come from content, power comes from content that MOVES”

Producing great content that engages your target audience is one of the key mantras for your digital popularity.

What makes content ‘engaging’?

In my opinion, there are 4 main attributes that are common in all engaging and viral content.

1. Real World Problems

Content that addresses a real world problem engages more with its readers, it resonates like -“Oh, I know what they mean! I experience this problem all the time”

2. Correct Timing

Content that got published when it was most in demand. As they say “strike while the iron is hot”.

3. Elicits Emotion

Contents that inspire feelings of awe, anger or anxiety are shared more often than others. Since anger is usually generated at the topic which can lead to controversy, brands would usually go for awe; it’s pretty safe emotion and avoids controversy as well.

4. The Element of Surprise

As Seth Godin says in his article — ‘The Importance of Going First’, “the second person to write a story about a young boy and an escaped slave on the Mississippi wasn't a novelist, he was a typist”. The originator of the story always earns the lion’s share of attention. The second person may have a better perspective or explanation of the story, but he/she will always lack the element of surprise.

Ekaterina Walter — a famous blogger, co-founder and CEO of Branderati also shares the same opinion. Read her insights in her blog post ‘what content has to make you feel to go viral’.

In case, if you are already using these 4 attributes in creating content for your blog or social media, then you are successfully ‘Newsjacking’.

Haven’t heard of Newsjacking before? Well then continue reading. Without further ado, let’s break down what Newsjacking is and exactly how you can do it yourself.

What is Newsjacking?


As described by David Meerman Scott, Newsjacking is the art of injecting your ideas into a breaking news story. He popularized this term through his blog and book: Newsjacking: How to Inject Your Ideas into a Breaking News Story and Generate Tons of Media Coverage

Basically, news is breaking every second in this crazy world of ours. As marketers we can capitalize this opportunity to churn the popularity wheel of the breaking story to the benefit of our brand. The concept is very time sensitive and one has to get in early on the timeline of the news story to create that buzz.

Personally, I feel Newsjacking helps to get fresh and real context. The trick here is figuring out how to insert your brand into the story that you are participating in. It has to be relevant to your brand and just can’t be any news about something that’s going on in Afghanistan.

Watch this video to learn more about Newsjacking.

How to Newsjack?

Here’s 3 ways you can do that:

1. Add to the story

Someone breaks a story but you have something to add to it.

2. Interpret the story

Someone breaks a story but you’re bringing a specific set of information from your experience and you’re able to interpret that news in a way that makes it more useful for your target audience.

3. Add opinion

Someone breaks a story and you are jacking it up with your own opinion.

Using any of these 3 ways, you can create content that will have all the components to make it go viral.

Newsjacking has already created a buzz in the market that in turn speaks about its success and popularity. Most of us might have been doing Newsjacking already without being aware about the term itself. I feel it’s a very interesting and powerful tool for inbound marketing and in particular content marketing.

Examples of some brands that have done Newsjacking:

OREO jacked the breaking news of power outage at super bowl 2013. The Oreo Tweet was by far the best and resulted in more than 12,000 re-tweets before the game even restarted.

Photo credit:

KITKAT used the news of Michael Owen’s retirement from the game. This image was featured on Facebook, alongside the status ‘40 England goals, 89 caps and one devastating hat-trick against Germany. Michael, have a well-earned break’.

Photo Credit :

The status was Liked over 250 times in one day, and shared all over the social media platform in the following days.

Here are few more examples of big brands using Newsjacking

If you found value in this article, it would mean a lot to me if you hit the recommend button or share it!