Linkdex: 6 Marketers on How to do Real-Time Marketing, and Avoid ‘Newsjacking’

By Lisa Lacy

Brands today walk a fine line between capitalizing on headline-making, traffic-generating topics such as Pokemon Go, Game of Thrones — or even more serious subjects such as the election or the Black Lives Matter movement — and ‘newsjacking’ which can naturally backfire.

How should brands and marketers ensure their content is relevant and engageable, and minimize the risk of coming across as inauthentic?

In this day and age, there’s virtually always a trendy topic for marketers to capitalize on. Advantages include potential exposure and engagement. But it’s also easy to come across as inauthentic if brands simply ‘newsjack’ – not to mention there’s a high probability of offending consumers and even ranking among the worst social media faux pas of all time if things go particularly bad.

In other words, beyond simply relevance, how do brands and marketers decide when to chime in and when to remain silent?

We surveyed marketers for their best real-time tips and their responses were twofold:

1. Plan Ahead.

Joe Maceda, Managing Director of the Invention Studio, Mindshare North America

In the real-time world in which we operate, anything and everything happening in culture can be an opportunity for a brand. But it is critical for brands to be rigorous in planning how to approach these moments. In fact, knowing when NOT to play might be more important than knowing when to engage.

Our Planning for Agility process identifies cultural moments — both established tent-pole events and less predictable news topics— that align with a brand’s DNA or campaign message. This establishes the moments and themes that are appropriate for the brand to inject [itself] into and sets the playbook for when those events happen in culture – it can be anything from a dramatic moment in sport to a new beauty trend, to an environmental issue and beyond. A major benefit to Planning for Agility is that it enables real-time responses across all paid, owned or earned channels, so brands can truly seize these opportunities at scale, rather than only via lightweight social activity.

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