Brands have long employed newsjacking — the practice of using news and trends to promote their own B2C brand or products.
Thanks to social media, there are all sorts of ways to newsjack. The Empire State Building used a viral TikTok to promote … well, that the Empire State Building exists. Dunkin’ used the blue & black vs. white & gold dress controversy to promote their donuts on Twitter.
B2B brands have been more hesitant to jump onto the newsjacking bandwagon, but this strategy can help you connect with your audience by making them laugh or giving them content they can currently relate to. Newsjacking can also generate buzz and earn media attention, which can help put your brand on the map.
In this article, we’re exploring how to find the right trends to use to connect with your target market. We’ll also share examples for inspiration and a few tips for using the news in your B2B videos!
To find the right news stories and trends to use in your B2B videos, start by determining what your audience is looking for. You’ll want to think about topics of conversation they’re likely to be interested in and how different subjects relate to your particular industry or product.
First, listen to your audience directly. Review all customer notes, calls, and other information you have to learn what matters to your audience. Your customer feedback will tell you what people are talking about, what’s important to them, what they are looking for, and what questions they ask. This information can come from any customer-facing department (e.g., sales, contact centers, customer experience).
“Your customer feedback will tell you what people are talking about, what’s important to them, what they are looking for, and what questions they ask.”
Keep a finger on the pulse of your industry to find out what your audience talks about. There are many ways to stay engaged with the community or your industry at large. There are tons of Slack, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other groups for different niche areas of interest or industry. Use them to find and join relevant conversations and keep abreast of what’s going on. You can also stay on top of industry trends through Google Alerts, Google Search Console, and SEM research tools.
Once you have a better idea of what people are talking about, you can brainstorm different ways you can join conversations using video content.
Be sensitive around politicized or controversial topics. Newsjacking can be risky if you choose to weigh in on more controversial, highly political topics. eCommerce brand CEO Kenneth Cole discovered this when he tweeted about his new product line while mentioning the Syrian–Egyptian conflict. His tweets came off as insensitive and offensive. The best way to approach the more sensitive topics is to show your audience that you understand them — not that you want them to buy something you’re selling.
There are many brands that are already using the news and industry-related trends in their own B2B videos to entertain, educate, and engage their followers. Here are some of our favorites:.
With its Year In Search video for 2020, Google newsjacked just about every trending topic. Rather than highlighting its unique features or capabilities, Google showcased what its users most wanted to learn about — which was, of course, relatable, since most of us are part of that audience. The video’s captivating visuals reminded us that we’re all more connected than we might think.
Microsoft Teams saw an opportunity to newsjack when it rolled out a new feature called “Together mode” amid stay-at-home orders. Together mode is a feature that virtually pulls all meeting participants into a “virtual reality” together. Essentially, it makes you feel like you’re sitting in the same room as your colleagues. Remote teams that were struggling to connect with each other now had the opportunity to connect in a more interactive way.
Microsoft even partnered with the NBA and brought fans together (virtually, of course) to watch the games while stadiums were shut down. This made people feel less alone and gave them a slight sense of normalcy among so many changes.
The pandemic completely changed the way people work. We used the beginning of the pandemic to troubleshoot how to effectively create videos as a remote company — and then we shared that knowledge with our audience, who was also struggling.
When the pandemic started and everything shut down, the Wistia Studios team had to quickly pivot all production plans and figure out how to keep making videos while everyone was working remotely. We knew that if we were running into this problem, others out there were probably in the same boat. In an effort to help, Wistia created a series to show marketers that they can still produce videos remotely, without a studio or professional help.
Lending a helping hand as it relates to a current event — and in this case, a global pandemic — can show your audience that you are in tune with their needs and want to help meet them.
Now that you’ve seen some great examples, let’s talk about a few tips to ensure your newsjacking efforts are successful. Here are three key considerations to keep in mind as you develop your content:
How does the topic you want to talk about apply to your business? Make sure there’s some sort of connection there. Just hopping on something because it’s trendy can come across as inauthentic or off-brand to your audience.
The very nature of newsjacking means you need to think like the news cycle — in other words, you need to be quick. People have short attention spans these days and there’s a lot of content out there. If you’re talking about something that happened two months ago, many of your viewers are going to be lost (and not willing to invest the time to figure out what your content is about). Act fast when you’ve got something relevant to say.
Consider where your target and/or current audience spend their time and then create content appropriate for those platforms. For example, if you’re looking to reach a younger audience, use TikTok and Instagram, which is where a lot of the Gen Z population spends their time. If you have the bandwidth, break your content up into snackable bites for your blog, social media posts, and more.
We hope the examples and tips above have shown you how using a current news item or industry topic allows you to execute creative, impactful content that will insert your brand into the conversation.
Remember to listen to your audience to find out what they’re interested in and talking about the most. Then keep an eye out for what’s making waves in your industry — and start creating your own content around those topics!