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Using newsjacking to build your B2B brand’s reputation

Building brand reputation is arguably harder for B2B-focused companies. Often, their target audience takes a practical, financial approach to buying decisions; perhaps opting for the cheapest supplier rather than the most trusted. Customers (i.e. members of the general public) take a more emotional approach, making branding a little easier.

However that doesn’t mean B2B companies can’t actively improve their brand reputation – far from it. There are many ways in which to appeal to a business-centric audience and one of these is the modern art-form of newsjacking.

News-what?

Newsjacking is the art of spinning breaking news stories or current events for brand-building or public relations purposes. Brands basically grab hold of news stories, offer their own take on them, then push this content out via social/marketing channels. Done well, it can establish brands as thought leaders in their industries and publishers in their own right... but done badly, it can break a brand into a thousand pieces.

For example, remember in 2012 when Hurricane Sandy was at its worst and American Apparel launched its 36-hour, 20%-off sale – with the tagline ‘In case you’re bored during the storm’? Advertised via an email campaign, the sale was met with significant scrutiny from the world and proved that not all publicity is good publicity.

That doesn’t mean your brand’s attempts at newsjacking have to go down the same route though, as long as you follow these key tips:

Do handle the topic sensitively – don’t forget that this news involves real people with real feelings

Only newsjack if the event is actually relevant to your brand, or is something you can realistically help with

Do offer a unique take on the news – otherwise, why should anyone bother reading your blog?

Don’t use it as a chance to sell your product or service. Just don’t!

How can my brand make the most of this?

There are four distinct steps you need to follow if you want to begin newsjacking:

  1. Set up a process for reacting to breaking news events and decide ahead of time what writers in your team are going to be responsible for this (taking into account their other responsibilities and any planned vacation)
  2. Monitor breaking news channels on Twitter - CNN Breaking News (@CNNBRK), Breaking News (@BreakingNews) and Reuters Top News (@Reuters) are particularly good. Set up a column on your TweetDeck for the hashtag ‘breakingnews’ and don’t forget to monitor keywords/trending search phrases on Google Instant
  3. When you find something, get your brand’s take written up – and pronto! Speed is essential here, but quality shouldn’t be sacrificed as a result. Make sure the piece is properly edited and all facts are checked before publishing on your blog
  4. Shout about the piece from the rooftops – publish a link on Twitter (be sure to include any associated hashtags), Facebook and Google+, as well as any other social channels you’re using. Send out a breaking news email newsletter to your database and ensure your blog is appearing on your RSS feed. 

Do it, but do it right
All in all, newsjacking is a powerful tool and can be phenomenally successful for brands – but only if done right. Follow these top tips and you should be better than good – you should find you begin building an audience and a solid reputation as a trusted publisher of high-quality news.