A PR Pro’s Guide to Powerful Trendjacking

A PR Pro’s Guide to Powerful Trendjacking

Content marketers have one common goal: to stay relevant and to keep up with the latest trends. To make this possible, taking advantage of news-worthy events can be of great help. If there’s one simple, effective yet dangerous way to do it, it’s none other than trendjacking. 

At its core, trendjacking, also known as newsjacking, is the act of injecting ideas into a current topic to bolster one brand into the marketplace, reach its target audience, generate leads and increase profitable outcomes. Trendjacking can either make or break you. The result depends on how and when the message was sent. If done properly, your brand’s message can generate social media engagements and even press coverage. If done wrong, on the other hand, trendjacking can turn into an awkward or even offensive marketing technique that can cause a negative impact on your business. 

Advantages of Trendjacking

To help you realize how this content marketing strategy can contribute to your business, here’s a list of some of the advantages of trendjacking:

  • It puts your business in front of new audiences, in a larger conversation. 

Letting people find your business organically through posting usual, day-to-day content can be effective. However, it’s only safe to say that people searching for the products or services you offer are not as big as the number of people looking online for something that’s trending. Fortunately, trendjacking makes both of these things possible by taking advantage of the current news to reach a wider audience.

  • It demonstrates your stand in the society. 

To survive in the business world means to sell your products or services efficiently. But to be successful, having just enormous sales isn’t enough. In today’s era where customers have become smarter and socially-aware, expressing your stand in the society is necessary. Trendjacking allows you to tell your audience that you are one with your community. 

The Best and Worst of Trendjacking

Let’s take a look at some of the best and worst trendjacking techniques done by popular brands in the recent years.

The Best

  • Burker King’s “Big Mac-ish”

Burker King’s “Big Mac-ish”

After McDonald’s lost its exclusive Big Mac trademark on its legal battle against Supermac, an Irish-food chain, Burger King wasted no time and used the opportunity to launch powerful content marketing techniques about their own Big Mac-like products.  

Burger King has released their “Big Mac-ish” sandwiches claiming that theirs are bigger, juicier and tastier than the actual Big Mac products. 

This one is a great example of how businesses can take advantage of current news involving their competitors in a humorous yet professional way. 

  • Oreo’s “Area 51 Tweet”

Oreo’s “Area 51 Tweet”

With social media users endlessly talking about the plan to raid Area 51, a government base which conspiracy theorists called “the home of testing extraterrestrials,” Oreo found the simplest yet the best way to use this opportunity for a powerful content marketing plan. This popular American cookie sandwich brand went to Twitter with this hilarious question “What flavors do you think they’re hiding in #Area51?”

Thousands of people as well as other huge brands have instantly replied and shared the tweet. This is one of the best examples of quick, cost-efficient yet amusing trendjacking techniques to improve brand awareness and engagement on social media.  

The Worst 

  • AT&T and the 9/11 Tragedy

AT&T and the 9/11 Tragedy

In 2013, the telecommunication giant AT&T was widely criticised with its remembrance of the 9/11 tragedy. The brand tweeted ”Never Forget” with an image of a phone as a product placement. 

Tips for Effective Trendjacking

Eager to jump in? Wait a second. There are still some things you need to know and understand before you start trendjacking. To help you, here are a few tips you might need to consider to make the most out of this technique:

  • Know your audience

Your audience is your brand’s biggest asset. How they perceive your content will determine the success of each of your marketing strategies. As such, you have to understand them well, their pain points and what type of content really matters to them. By considering these factors, trendjacking can help increase traffic, generate more followers and improve engagement rate.  

  • Set up news alerts

A news story happens instantly and dies down quickly. To be successful in trendjacking, you need to be ready anytime a latest event happens. Setting up news alerts such as Google Alerts can be useful in this matter. Simply type in the topic you want to be notified about, choose how often you want to get notified then hit ‘Create Alert.’ You will then receive email notifications every time there’s a news about the topic you have set. 

  • Choose a content that’s on-brand

Remember to work on a topic that’s relevant to your brand’s personality, voice and values. When planning to deal with trending news to trendjack, make sure that it is aligned to what your brand is about and what your brand believes in. 

  • Be sensitive

Always think about how your customers would feel. Try to consider the kind of emotions that would likely arise once they have seen your content. Before the execution, it is best to find out the possible reactions of the public. You want to make sure that your audience would only feel positive emotions towards your content. 


Deciding whether or not to engage with trendjacking is a huge decision you need to think about. As such, you have to weigh its pros and cons before you hop onto it. When performed properly, trendjacking can be a subtle yet powerful tool in your content marketing techniques. 

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Chris Anne