How to Improve Your Marketing Strategy with Trendjacking

How to Improve Your Marketing Strategy with Trendjacking

suzanneLiving in an always-connected world has its benefits—especially for those marketers savvy enough to use it to their advantage.

When it comes to marketing one’s own brand, there are a number of ways to achieve this through content generation. Blogs, memes, videos, infographics, white papers, ebooks… You name it, you’ve probably created it.

And you’ve probably spent a lot of time planning out what sort of content will get viewed and be well-received by your audience, too. But what about the stuff you can’t plan for?

Think about Drake’s “Hotline Bling”:

No one could have anticipated that Drake would bust out those silly dancing-with-myself moves, but he did — and the opportunity was ripe for the taking. From dancing with Carlton Banks to throwing pepperoni on a pizza, everyone decided to get in on the Drake train with their Hotline Bling memes and gifs.

An example on the other end of the spectrum would be the recent terrorist attack in Paris. No one could have expected the terrorist attacks, but, nevertheless, people were watching and ready to jump into the story immediately. For instance, there was the artist who created the Eiffel Tower peace drawing. Then there was everyone else who made use of the Eiffell Tower peace drawing and France’s national flag colors all over their social media in a display of solidarity.

Another example of jumping on a trending topic quickly was in 2013 when Oreo decided to make light of a sticky situation at the Super Bowl.


Their marketing people could not have known there would be a power outage in the middle of the game and yet they still came up with this off-the-cuff Twitter post that was the perfect blend of brand marketing and current event commentary.

This is what is known as trendjacking (also called newsjacking). It’s when a person or brand leverages a trending topic to promote themselves—and it can be a really great tool to have in your marketing arsenal if you know how to use it right.

#1: Establish

Before you enter into any new marketing strategy, the first thing you need to do is establish who your audience is and how they will react. With trendjacking, it’s especially important to know what sort of trends will sit well with your target audience before venturing into anything. Your intent here is to entertain and educate, not to offend.

#2: Monitor

The next step in your journey to trendjacking is to regularly keep an eye out for trending stories. They’re not all going to be a good fit for your brand and they’re not all going to be appropriate for sharing, so stay on top of what’s going on. Google News, Feedly, Buzzfeed, Twitter, and other social media platforms are a good place to start.

#3: Research

Once you’ve identified a trend or story that would work for your business, do your research behind it. Make sure that there’s nothing super controversial about the subject matter and that all of the facts have been released before you do anything—because you can’t take it back once it’s out there.

#4: Differentiate

Once you’ve got your trend, you then need to determine what to do with it. Articles and memes are the two most common ways you’ll see marketers jack a trend. Just remember that if you’re doing this to give your brand a boost, your idea needs to be original and should fit well with your brand. If you do the same thing as everyone else, don’t expect the same results.

#5: Create

Create your trendjacked piece. Remember that it should be unique to your brand, should contain your voice, and should be done tastefully. Here are some companies that made great use of trendjacking:

With everything you do in marketing, you want it to make the greatest impact possible, so make sure your trendjacked piece is released while the topic is still relevant.

Trendjacking is an interesting and oftentimes exciting marketing technique to employ. It’s important though to remember that this should only serve as a supplement to your overall marketing strategy. Your other, more standard evergreen content will perform well with your audience so long as it’s relevant, timely, and well-though-out—even if it’s not the next 1-800-PIZZABLING.