Effective newsjacking

Real-time marketing cultivates an always-on culture for fans and brands. But this rapid response also creates room for error, requiring strategies to ensure precision execution.

Real-time marketing cultivates an always-on culture for fans and brands. But this rapid response also creates room for error, requiring strategies to ensure precision execution. Lindsay Stein spoke with experts in the industry to uncover best practices.

#Preapproval paramount
“Get preapproval ahead of time to create real-time content,” explains David Meerman Scott, online marketing strategist and author of the book Newsjacking: How to inject your ideas into a breaking news story and generate tons of media.

Getting the right people in a room together, such as stakeholders, the PR department, and legal executives, to discuss real-time social media efforts will help organizations feel confident in giving PR agencies the green light to post content quickly without wasting time getting permission.

Duracell global communications leader Win Sakdinan says, “The trick of [newsjacking] is to have the trust between agency partners and the client.”

The brand has been working with Citizen Paine for more than 10 years and trusts the firm to make last-minute decisions when news breaks. When the blackout happened during this year's Super Bowl, Citizen Paine emailed Sakdinan while simultaneously posting on Twitter, “If only Duracell was powering the lights,” along with a photo of the stadium in darkness.

#Know what's coming
Every month, Duracell and Citizen Paine plan online content for the next few months and look at how the brand can fit into approaching holidays or events in an authentic way, says Adam Pietrala, director at Citizen Paine. For July 4, Duracell planned a Facebook post in advance that showed an image of the Statue of Liberty in copper and black with fireworks in the background, accompanied by the tagline, “Electrified by the American dream.” The post garnered more than 31,000 likes and 7,000 shares.

Pizza Hut prepares for posts by holding weekly meetings with agency partner Zeno Group. For the last 29 years the brand has been promoting its Book It! program aimed at motivating kids to read. National Book Lovers Day on August 9 was the perfect event for Pizza Hut to newsjack, says Doug Terfehr, PR director at the Yum Brands pizza chain.

Pizza Hut posted a photo on its Facebook page of one of the pins and asked fans, “Ever score one of these?” with the hashtag #NationalBookLoversDay next to it. The image received more than 3,500 likes.

#Be ready for surprises
Breaking news adds a different element to newsjacking, and according to Scott, the “most interesting and fun [posts] are the ones you never saw coming.”

Pizza Hut saw an opportunity to newsjack a story around the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship tournament that no one else was talking about. The brand, founded in Wichita, KS, in 1958, noticed that the Wichita State basketball team made it to the Final Four and announced it would give free pizzas to all students for one day at the university if Wichita won the championship. Stories appeared in major media outlets, such as CBSSports.com, MSN.com, and The Huffington Post.

#Have the right structure in place
MasterCard's newsroom and Conversation Suite allow the company to engage millions of consumers and stakeholders in real time. The Conversation Suite is a mix of analytics tools and technology that helps the brand monitor, engage, and publish content across 43 markets around the world in 26 languages, says MasterCard's SVP of external communications Andrew Bowins.

Staffers can access the tool from their mobile devices or computers, as well as in person at one of the smaller versions of the suite in Toronto; St. Louis, MO; Miami; Mexico City; and São Paulo. MasterCard plans to build a suite in Singapore in 2014, along with 12 viewing stations for its European offices by the end of this year.

In addition to the suite, the company has a social and mobile newsroom called the MasterCard Engagement Bureau, which allows the brand to engage fans with stories, photos, videos, infographics, and more.

The newsroom also invites consumers to share ideas and content and, to keep the always-on mentality, MasterCard works with technology company Percolate to curate other relevant stories for the site.

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