When topical news stories become a brand-building opportunity

By our News Team | 2023

The immediacy of social media and the 24-hour news cycle makes newsjacking a viable marketing tactic. But beware of the pitfalls. 

We live in a world where a lot happens every minute. There is such a deluge of content from various sources that it is tempting for marketers, in particular, to piggyback on a ‘hot topic’ for their brands. 


The danger, though, is that many marketers do not seem to understand that newsjacking is an art and, if used correctly, can deliver results. But, if done haphazardly, it is merely a risky waste of time and resources.


Illustration by Pixabay via Pexels

Since newsjacking is about real-time stories developing and happening in real time, you must determine the approach that will best get you the attention you desire, writes George Damson in the latest issue of Strategic Marketing for Africa, the magazine of the AMC. 


Damson is the Managing Director of Blitz Interactive Agency, a Malawian brand communication agency. He is also the current Vice President of the Institute of Marketing in Malawi.


Ensure you pay attention to brand fit


Newsjacking without paying attention to brand fit can result in reputational damage. It can also cause a loss of identity, as your customers may start asking if you really know the purpose of your brand – very dangerous territory.


Equally critical is deciding if you are going to use newsjacking as a long-term strategy or a one-off tactic. You can create a lasting impact with one well-placed newsjacked item, but that does not mean you need to do it over and over again. 


The issue of brand purpose is once again key here. If you are to use newsjacking long term, it requires planning and preparation – just as you would with any other element of your brand strategy.


Another important aspect to note is that newsjacking loses its impact if you follow the crowd. 


“This is a nonsensical approach to newsjacking, and there is absolutely no benefit to your brand. If you are to newsjack successfully, you must lead the conversation and do it so effectively that even if others jump on the bandwagon, you set yourself apart,” Damson advises.

You can read more about newsjacking in the latest issue (Issue 3 2023) of Strategic Marketing for Africa, the magazine of the African Marketing Confederation. Read or download the digital edition here.

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    Dr Kin Kariisa

    Group CEO - Next Media

    Dr. Kin Kariisa is an extraordinary force at the helm of Next Media Services, a conglomerate encompassing NBS TV, Nile Post, Sanyuka TV, Next Radio, Salam TV, Next Communication, Next Productions, and an array of other influential enterprises. His dynamic role as Chief Executive Officer exemplifies his unwavering commitment to shaping media, business, and community landscapes.
    With an esteemed academic journey, Dr. Kariisa’s accolades include an Honorary PhD in exemplary community service from the United Graduate College inTexas, an MBA from United States International University in Nairobi, Kenya, a Master’s degree in Computer Engineering from Huazong University in China, and a Bachelor’s degree in Statistics from Makerere University.
    Dr. Kariisa pursued PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radboud University in Nijmegen, Netherlands. As a dynamic educator, he has shared his expertise as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at both Makerere University and Radboud University.

    Dr Kin did his PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radbond University in Nigmegen, Netherlands. He previously served as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda and Radbond University in Netherlands.

    Dr Kin did his postgraduate courses in Strategic Business Management, Strategic Leadership Communication and Strategies for Leading Successful Change Initiatives at Harvard University, Boston USA.

    • Other current and previous roles played by Dr Kin Kariisa:
    • Lecturer of e-Government and Information Security to graduate students at Makerere University, Kampala and Radbond University in the Netherlands
    • Director of Eco Bank Uganda Limited, one of the largest banks in Africa
    • Chairman of the National Association of Broadcasters, an umbrella industry association for all Television, Radio and online broadcasters in Uganda.
    • Chairman of Board of Directors of Nile Hotel International, that owns the leading hotel in Uganda, Kampala Serena Hotel.
    • Chairman of Board of Directors of Soliton Telmec Uganda, the leading telecom company in Optic fibre business managing over 80% of optic fibre in Uganda.