Here’s why focusing on #trending topics is a content marketing must.

As we’ve acknowledged in previous posts, keeping close tabs on what’s trending in your industry can be a tricky endeavor – but we can attest that it’s totally worthwhile.

But staying on top of niche interest groups isn’t the only way to take advantage of trending topics. Newsjacking – or the art of re-appropriating breaking news to promote your own ideas or brand – is another great way for your company to step into the spotlight. By piggybacking on stories with a more universal appeal, you can establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry while getting your message out to a much broader audience.

But don’t just take our word for it — here’s how other companies are using newsjacking to their advantage.

1. Oreo

To kick off the list, we’re throwing it back: when it comes to turning a piece of news into a clever, timely advertisement, few companies can compete with Oreo. Perhaps the most famous example of Oreo’s ingenious marketing occurred during a blackout at the 2013 Super Bowl, which Oreo responded to with the following tweet:

With more than 15,000 retweets and nearly 7,000 likes, this simple advertisement garnered Oreo an enormous amount of attention. What made it so effective? It was tasteful, well-executed, and most importantly, timely. By posting the tweet while the blackout was still going on, Oreo was able to embed itself into the conversation in a meaningful and humorous way.

2. 84 Lumber

Speaking of the Super Bowl, 84 Lumber’s seemingly pro-immigration Super Bowl ad certainly sparked an enormous amount of debate following this year’s game. The full, uncut advertisement, which FOX originally deemed “too controversial for TV,” is below:

Although the company’s CEO, who claims to be a staunch Trump supporter, has stated that many people misunderstood the advertisement, there’s no denying that the ad drove an enormous amount of traffic to the company’s website – so much so, in fact, that the site crashed shortly after the ad aired.

3. Midwest

As controversial as newsjacking political stories might seem, it’s often the best way to gain attention at a national level. Take Midwest Industrial Supply, Inc., for example.

You might not think that industry-specific content on railways, mining, and soil stabilization would provide fodder for many general interest pieces, but articles like this one — which discusses the future of the coal industry in Trump’s America — have proven effective at reaching a wider audience.

4. Casper

Speaking of the President: when it comes to newsjacking, not even his private life is off-limits.

When it came out that Donald Trump and his wife Ivanka don’t share a bed even when sleeping in the same city, mattress giant Casper decided to publish an article on Vanwinkle’s, their sleep-themed blog, about the phenomenon of bed-sharing (or lack thereof) among couples at large. In so doing, Casper doesn’t just expand its potential client base – it also demonstrates its ownership of the “sleep journalism” niche.

5. Virgin Airlines

When same sex was legalized by the Supreme Court, Virgin Airlines put newsjacking into action with this perfect graphic:


By making their stance on this legislative victory known, Virgin was able to communicate their brand values to a large audience while celebrating with the community they serve.

6. LaunchPad

Not all news is good news, so don’t be afraid to get a little more serious when it comes to newsjacking. Take LaunchPad’s carefully crafted piece on hiring in the wake of Brexit, for example. Rather than sugarcoating the impact Brexit will have on the UK workforce, LaunchPad provided a nuanced and thoughtful overview of the importance of workplace diversity. In that way, they turned a difficult topic into an industry-specific conversation.

7. Southwest Airlines

Finally, a great recent example of newsjacking came in the wake of United Airlines’ overbooked flight fiasco. The advertisement, created by United’s competitor Southwest, delivered an unambiguous message (to say the least!):

southwestAlthough the message might seem a little incendiary, the fact is that making a bold statement will certainly put your advertisement — and by extension, your business — on the map. So don’t be afraid to take Southwest’s example, and be bold!