Newsjacking? Not if you turn around as fast as an oil tanker

Tony Hallett

Tony Hallett

Managing Director

May 8, 2013 8:38 am

One day last week I had two very different meetings back to back, one with a company that wanted to use newsjacking, another with a focus on long-form content.

It was fine. Each knows where their particular strengths lie.
One reason – not the only one – is that the first company is an agile start-up, the second a large multinational.

Thumbs up - sign-offNewsjacking is about jumping on something that has just happened or is even still taking shape and crafting content that dovetails with that topic. (It can be long-form content too, I get that, but rarely is.) I don’t believe it is about trying to exploit bad news or exploiting hashtags with vaguely related posts. Both of those tactics are likely to lead to problems rather than the type of engagement you are after.

Meanwhile long-form is increasingly recognised as valuable on the web. Reader apps and extensions that allow offline consumption help. But for many of us, however we find and consume it, there is always a need to dig deep and that can be satisfied by white papers, ebooks, features, guides and more.

They are just two approaches that work depending on what an organisation is trying to do with content.

But what if a big multinational wants to do newsjacking? It won’t work if it takes them longer than hours or, at most, a day to sign something off.
Newsdesks in the media don’t have the kind of sign-offs that exist in marketing. There are – necessarily – checks and balances. But they’re nothing compared to the lengthy rounds of sign-offs that happen in most companies.

Some brands are getting around this by embracing a newsroom mentality and even a newsroom set-up, replete with corporate journalists. They get lots of attention. But they are the exception.

So for any type of content in your marketing mix, always ask this question: Will our sign-off processes allow this to be successful?

This is the latest in a series of posts about the practicalities of brand journalism.

*photo credit: striatic via photopin cc

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