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Reactive Newsjacking: A Powerful Tool for Brands and Creators

Newsjacking is getting your brand's narrative into the day's news or viral trends. In this post, we dive into how this can be a powerful tool for your strategy.
Reactive Newsjacking: A Powerful Tool for Brands and Creators

The world of marketing and PR never runs out of strategies to get a brand's message across.

One such tactic is 'reactive newsjacking'.

What is Reactive Newsjacking?

Reactive newsjacking, frequently used interchangeably with 'newsjacking' or just 'reactive' is a deliberate tactic where you integrate your brand's voice into the day's news or viral trends.

Essentially, it aims to tap into the current cultural zeitgeist, riding the momentum of the moment to boost visibility and relevance for your brand.

The term "newsjacking" was popularized by marketing strategist David Meerman Scott, who wrote the book on newsjacking titled "The New Rules And Realities Of Sales And Marketing”

Newsjacking is the art and science of injecting your ideas into a breaking news story in order to generate media attention sales leads and to grow business - David Meerman Scott
Trends such as viral memes or events also offer excellent opportunities for reactive newsjacking.

Benefits of Reactive newsjacking:

Diving into the world of reactive newsjacking can feel like stepping onto a high-speed train that's already in motion. It's exhilarating, a bit daunting, but ultimately rewarding for those who master it.

For instance, Ryanair became one of the most popular business accounts on TikTok, by focusing a dedicated team for reactive content as part of their strategy.

Let's explore these benefits more closely:

  • Brand Exposure

By associating your brand with a trending news story, you can harness its power to rapidly increase your brand exposure. This enhanced visibility can lead to improved brand recognition as well as reach new audiences.

  • Virality and Organic Growth:

There's a certain alchemy to creating viral content, and reactive newsjacking puts you in the laboratory with all the right ingredients. By responding to trending topics with creative, engaging content, you significantly increase your chances of going viral. This organic growth is the Holy Grail for brands and creators, offering exponential increases in reach, followers, and influence without the hefty price tag of paid advertising campaigns.

  • Link building

As your brand gains more visibility through reactive newsjacking, it naturally drives more traffic to your website or social media platforms. If your story is picked up by high domain authority sites such as a major publication this can lead to improved SEO.

  • Increased Traffic and Lead Generation

Reactive newsjacking can generate quality leads that may never heard of your brand and can convert into new customers.

  • Price

Reactive newsjacking can be free!

Tips for Reactive Newsjacking

Embracing reactive newsjacking can be a game-changer for awareness, but it requires some best practices.

Think of TTR:

  1. Timing
  2. Tone
  3. Relevancy

1. Timing: Reactive newsjacking is all about timing. The sooner you can respond to a news story, the better your chances of capitalizing on its popularity. Quick response time is key.

2. Tone: Riding a trend is tempting, but make sure the news story aligns with your brand's values and identity. Misalignment can harm your brand's reputation. Avoid newsjacking topics that would be seen as disrespectful.

3. Relevancy: Don't just join the conversation - add to it. Ensure your content brings a perspective such as humor or useful information to the table.

With the right story and timing, creativity is your key to unlocking an engaging, and memorable narrative that is a break from conventional marketing.

Hot Tip - Don't be afraid to change what you think your brand should be discussing. Audiences are everywhere, and every niche has adjacent niches to tap into. 

Tools for Reactive Newsjacking:

The foundation of successful reactive newsjacking lies in staying informed.

Here are some tools to help stay ahead and pick up on trends:

  • Exploding Topics: Utilize Exploding Topics to discover emerging trends before they hit the mainstream. This tool can give you a head start on newsjacking by identifying potential topics early on. (Cost: $39- $249/month)
  • BuzzSumo: Leverage BuzzSumo to monitor content trends and social media. This can help you understand what's capturing public interest and how you might creatively engage with these topics. (Cost: $199- $999/month)
  • Glimpse: Use Glimpse to track fast-growing consumer interests and market trends. Glimpse can offer inspiration for newsjacking by highlighting shifts in consumer behavior and interests. (cost: free)
  • Google Alerts: Set up Google Alerts for keywords relevant to your industry. This free tool can help you stay informed about breaking news and ongoing discussions related to your niche. (cost: free)

Potential Pitfalls of Newsjacking

Reactive newsjacking done incorrectly carries risks. Plain and simple, if it is done incorrectly it can make your brand look desperate or worse disrespectful.

The goal is to create a blend of your brand's story with the day's news and/or viral trends.

You do not want to be that guy forcing his mixtape down everyone's throat.

Don't be that guy!

Avoid News Overload: Jumping on every trending story can dilute your brand's message and annoy your audience.

Reactive newsjacking Examples:

Here are some examples of successful reactive newsjacking stories:

  1. Ryanair:

Ryanair is known for its unhinged reactive social media posts. The team seized the moment following a rumor about Prince William's sex life.

"It could be interpreted in so many ways, but we knew that the timing of it and when it went out, the audience will know exactly what would happen" - Michael Corcoran
  1. KitKat's #bendgate Tweet:

When Apple released its iPhone 6 Plus in 2014, users began to notice that the phone would bend under pressure. KitKat saw this as an opportunity to engage with their audience in a humorous and clever way. They tweeted a picture of a KitKat bar with the caption, "We don't bend, we #break," referring to their famous tagline "Have a break, have a KitKat". The Tweet was a hit, getting tens of thousands of retweets and favorites.

  1. Charlie Lawrence reaction videos:

This is a great example of a creator using reactive videos of trends to boost their followers and engagement.

Charlie reacted to another content Reacting to another creator's "Passive income Business Advice".

Social media is no short of business advice such as passive income ideas. Charlie jumped on the opportunity to create a reaction video to a creator's "5 Fastest Businesses To Make Passive Income At Any Age" video.

Within 24 hours he got over 1 million views and another million in the next 24. By day 58 it crossed 10 million views (source: Creator Playbooks)

He also went from 403 followers to over 100k in 18 days, creating a sizeable audience he can now consistantly engage with.


IT'S TERRIBLE ADVICE #passiveincome #ecommerce #digitalmarketing #financialfreedom #entrepreneur #investing #money #business

♬ Pink Champagne - Abby Roberts

He even has a section of his TikTok dedicated to reactive videos:

Timing, creativity, and a keen sense of audience sentiment are key ingredients for viral success.


The benefits of integrating reactive newsjacking into your marketing efforts are clear. It not only boosts brand awareness and audience engagement but also opens the door to viral growth.

Share your experiences with newsjacking or reach out to us to learn more about mastering this technique

About the author
Joey Labs

Creator Stacks

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