Are creative juices running low? What if we told you there’s a way for you to still churn out content to potentially double your views, increase your following, and maybe even catapult you into Internet fame practically overnight? Yep, there’s such a thing, and it’s not some spammy gimmick either. It’s called trendjacking.
And if you haven’t tried it yet, it’s time to put your work hat on and get right to it.
What is Trendjacking?
Trendjacking is a technique often used in social media marketing and PR that involves riding on a topic that’s trending or viral. The idea is to jump on the high volume of searches that these topics generate–resulting in an increase in your engagement as well.
A trending topic can be anything from current events to special occasions to happenings that, for whatever reason, are gaining more traction online than usual. Think of events like the Olympics, Miss Universe, Christmas, or even the latest viral meme format!
When trendjacking, there are two main types of topics to watch out for: trending and viral content. Viral topics are pieces of content that shoot to popularity from seemingly nowhere. These are usually user-generated content that attract attention because of their novelty.
Trending topics, on the other hand, create a widespread buzz that sparks both online activity and offline conversations and debate.
To successfully leverage these topics to your advantage, you have to be careful about picking what to ride on and how.
Benefits of Trendjacking
Trendjacking can be pretty tricky, especially if you’re picking a controversial topic to latch on to. But when you find your audience’s sweet spot — hello, benefits!
Increase Your Following
When you jump on a topic that’s already being widely searched online, your chances for visibility and potential for engagement increase. What happens when people search for the FIBA World Cup in Manila and you create content around the same topic? People you haven’t reached before are more likely to find you.
It’s a chance for a new potential audience to discover that they like the kind of content you put out, and follow you.
The trick isn’t to merely jump on the bandwagon but to provide something unique, catchy, and useful for the audience that you’re targeting.
The more visible you are, the more people are more likely to engage with you, especially when the topic is relevant to your personal brand.
An example of this is the beauty queen and mental health advocate Pia Wurtzbach’s TedxP&G Singapore Talk “You Are Not Alone”, where she shared her battle with depression and imposter syndrome.
Only a month after posting the video on her YouTube channel, the video exploded with over a million views. It’s clear that her audience found a common struggle with Pia. And it was only a matter of time before the empathizing comments came pouring in.
You can learn something here too: the video encouraged engagement because it came out when mental health was becoming less taboo and more a pressing concern. The message resonated with the personality’s brand. There’s a winning formula!
Trendjacking is also a way to level up your exposure without having to spend on a big marketing budget. All it takes is the right opportunity, a splash of creativity, and the appropriate platforms. Notice how many viral posts today don’t need a large production? A live video, a tweet, or an Instagram photo can all generate online attention if you know how to ride on the latest tea.
Take for example RC Cola’s #RCSarapTalaga Facebook post of the ultimate Pinoy meal: the all-time favorite adobo, lots of rice, and a bottle of RC. The photo was captioned “Basta adobo ang ulam, ‘matic na ang unli rice at RC sa tanghalian!”
It was a simple Facebook post–no tricks, no big production, yet just like that, the post gained record organic reach and became one of RC’s best-performing posts. The secret? They published it just as “Pinoy adobo” became the #1 trend on Google.
No fancy tools or a large team—just reliable data and good timing to create content that catches on. If you know what to latch on to and when, a little bit of creativity will go a long way.
Risks of Trendjacking
As great as the benefits of trendjacking may be, there are also drawbacks.
Turning Audiences Off
When trendjacking, you risk turning segments of your audience off. As they say, we can’t please everyone. What may be fun or even encouraging to some may be offensive to others. It’s important to emphasize, then, that not all trends are worth riding on, and there has to be a careful consideration of what your audience can tolerate.
Have you ever watched Dave Chappelle do stand-up comedy? He’s not known to mince words, and his comedy is a mix of derisive and hilarious–a dangerous balance that’s hard to perfect if you’re not truly sensitive to your audience’s taste.
Missing the Mark
In an effort to be relevant, you might use a topic in a way that just doesn’t work. This typically happens when you’re relying on luck instead of doing your homework on why a viral piece of content is so popular.
While it’s true that sometimes things just “click”, there’s a reason why content resonates with people. That’s what you need to find out if you want to approach content creation strategically.
How to Trendjack Effectively
Here are four ways:
Plan Strategies Around Tentpole Events
Tentpole events that happen regularly are very easy to plan around. It’s no accident that we’re seeing so many posts about the “Ber” months and Jose Mari Chan. We know that September 1 means the start of Paskong Pinoy, hence similar themes going around on social media.
Planning your content strategy around tentpole events will help you use every opportunity for traction, so you’re not scrambling for the next post when a special occasion comes around.
Pick Out Relevant Trending Topics
What’s tough about trendjacking is that a social media post is “live” very briefly. The lifespan of an Instagram post, for instance, is only about 48 hours. Your tweets may live even shorter–18 minutes! This means trends come and go way before most of us even have the chance to find out what’s going on.
So to know what topics you can use, you have to be above the Internet talk. Monitor hashtags, use tools that feed you all the relevant news at once, and analyze online goings-on to anticipate trends.
Create Catchy Content Early
If you want to latch on to a trend, you have to do so early. Joining the party late is just as bad as not joining at all. As soon as something big happens, create content that’s tailored for your audience, and publish it immediately.
Take it yet again from RC Cola. Their hilarious ad “#RCLitro Balot” went viral and garnered over 2 million views in only two days! The ad pokes fun at the Filipino culture of bringing home food from parties and fiestas. Are you even Pinoy if you haven’t done this?
Needless to say, it struck a chord with Filipinos, making it an instant hit. Note that it was also released just as Sharon Cuneta’s song “Bituing Walang Ningning” with the iconic line “Balutin mo ako…” was starting to regain popularity. Talk about perfect timing!
Work with a PR Team
For trendjacking to work, you need to be in the loop before news gets hot, anticipate trends and plan for them beforehand, and put out catchy content at precisely the right time. We don’t know about you, but that’s not very easy to do.
The pressure of having to publish content pronto can mean sacrificing quality for the sake of putting anything out. But with a PR agency in the Philippines to work with you, you get to create a content strategy that allows you to be your unique self and put out content that resonates with your audience, without having to make do with what could…maybe…work for now.