Tying your content to a news event can lead to increased sales. But is it ethical…or icky?
Weekly email archives and occasional extra words that don't have a home anywhere else on my site.
A friend forwarded me a request yesterday from Help a Reporter Out, also known as HARO.
(If you’re anything resembling an expert in your field, by the way, I highly recommend creating an account and offering yourself up as a source. It’s self-fueled PR!)
A reporter wondered:
Many brands featured the Queen’s death in their newsletters and social media. Is it a genuine gesture or marketing tactic?
SURPRISE! I have opinions on this (both personal and professional). COMIN’ IN HOT!
Whether it’s a genuine, good-faith gesture or marketing ploy almost always depends on the brand. 🤨
Some questions to consider:
Branding is partly about consistency in messaging. And for some businesses who can answer YES to the above question, it’s completely on brand to share about this huge global event.
For others? Not so much.
There’s actually a term for what brands do here: newsjacking.
(I’m…doing a bit of it right now… 😬)
Tying social content or email marketing content to a news event that everybody’s talking about ups the chances of better engagement and could lead to increased sales.
It’s not the worst thing a brand can do, but I don’t recommend making a habit of it. This is me resolving not to make a habit of it.
And finally, we also have to consider the content of the marketing message.
Let’s be clear: Any brand offering free shipping with the coupon code KINGCHARLES is capitalizing on this news event purely to sell.
If you see an email promising “the royal treatment” or an opportunity to “save a Buckingham” in the wake of an event many are in a vulnerable grief state over? Yeah, that’s icky.
P.S. WoKe MoMeNt! Brands should also consider the whole of their audience before leveraging the Queen’s death with adulation.
There are literally 22 countries in the entire world that Britain hasn’t invaded, which means scads of folks have suffered under colonialism and other abuses perpetrated by the British monarchy.
There are entire populations who aren’t upset at all about the queen’s passing — including massive swaths of the African disapora — and for whom the wholesale erasure of her harms throughout her reign is deeply hurtful.
Just throwin’ it out there. 😑
F-S: Reserved for rest