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Newsjacking – is there a place for topical marketing in professional services?

Cal Partners Professional Services Marketing - Newsjacking Blog
Congratulations to Her Majesty The Queen on her Platinum Jubilee, June 2022 (Image credit: The Royal Family/BBC)

Newsjacking is not new. Brands are quick to jump on a big news story, run an advert or post on social media, generating likes and shares and bringing their own name into the spotlight. Think about recently, when Elon Musk announced the purchase of Twitter – what followed was a stream of tweets saying, “To put things into context, Elon Musk could have bought [insert number] [insert product]”. KFC, Domino’s Pizza, Specsavers, Roblox and many other brands were on it!

While this strategy can work well for big brands with a large creative department on hand and an extensive following, the hype is generally short-lived, and you may be wondering whether this is even worth trying for your professional services firm. Here are some things to consider:

What digital marketing resource do you have?

If you have one person or a responsive team that ‘does’ all the socials, then having an ear to the ground, picking up topical stories, crafting a relevant and timely response and being present for any engagement that follows could be reasonably straightforward. Professional services firms will have a ‘tone of voice’ they are happy to use online and keeping everything consistent, even when time is short, is very important for your brand.

How complex is your social media sign off process?

If you have several partners or senior managers, all of whom have to sign off new social media posts, you may just miss the boat on a topical news story! Unless you can be super responsive, with posts being created and signed off within minutes or, at most, an hour or two, there is often little point adding topical marketing to your strategy. Time would be better spent creating high quality content that addresses clients’ and prospects’ everyday issues, in turn reinforcing your expertise and thought leadership.

Do you have anything to say?

Not all high-profile news stories are relevant to professional services. Think again about the Elon Musk/Twitter example – what could you have posted about that? Most service-based businesses could not have done what the likes of KFC did, talking about price and products. Feeling rushed and saying something flippant, in poor taste or ‘off brand’ could be more damaging than saying nothing.

Brand awareness

So how can professional services benefit from topical marketing? Get into the habit of following industry news online. Become a thought leader on LinkedIn or share your views on Twitter. What does your particular expertise add to a breaking news story?

Remember that it is not uncommon for radio or television channels to contact ‘industry experts’ and give them 5 minutes of fame! This could be a useful way to increase awareness of your brand locally or nationally. Most of these channels have a ‘listen again’ facility, meaning you can share links afterwards, too.

With some thought and a plan of action in place, topical marketing can form a useful part of a professional services firm’s marketing strategy. Contact us if you would like to find out more about how we have helped clients with theirs.

About the author

Alison O'Neill

Senior Marketing Executive, Alison, is a former Forensic Scientist who moved into professional services marketing in 2008 and is a Chartered Marketer and Member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (MCIM).

We are a specialist marketing, digital marketing and social media agency and business development consultancy working with you to attract ideal clients to your professional services firm.