A How-To Guide to Newsjacking – the PR Pro’s Friend

April 24, 2024

I’m a morning person. Maybe you are, too.

If you are, congratulations! You have a leg up on folks who are not as early to rise. You see, when it comes to getting media coverage through newsjacking, the early bird gets the worm.

Before I explain why, perhaps we should hit the snooze button and first define newsjacking.

Newsjacking is a PR tactic to insert yourself into breaking news.

When a big story breaks, reporters at media outlets need experts to weigh in with new and interesting perspectives. That creates a newsjacking opportunity for public relations professionals working to gain greater recognition for their companies or their clients and position their executives and/or subject matter experts as thought leaders.

Identify trending news that aligns with your interests

The first step in a successful newsjacking effort is to identify relevant trending news stories.

Get a jump on newsjacking (aka trendjacking) by monitoring the media for relevant news stories first thing in the morning while you are drinking your coffee or walking on the treadmill.

MarketWatch and CNBC’s Squawk Box are great places to find the latest and greatest business news. Also scan Business Insider, The Wall Street Journal and top media outlets in your sector.

Get reporters and editors your commentary ASAP

Once you identify relevant breaking news, start work on a newsjacking quote immediately.

If you’re writing the quote for a client or a company executive or a subject matter expert, try to leverage some of the things that they have shared with you in the recent past. Also, use the words and kinds of language that the executive or subject matter expert would be likely to use.

Not sure to whom to attribute the quote? Write it anyway. You need to strike while the iron is hot, and news cycles move quickly. Attribute the quote to the person who you think is most appropriate. Then, share it with your client or, if you are an internal PR person, with the relevant internal stakeholders, to determine attribution and get the necessary approvals.

When sharing the quote for approval(s), be clear the quote has a limited shelf life. Be politely pushy in requesting that clients and colleagues get you their edits and approvals quickly.

Keep it short and snappy – and don’t forget the backlink!

Not every newsjacking quote makes it into a reporter story.

So, what can you do to position yourself for success with your newsjacking quote?

Briefly set the stage so the reporter and readers will understand what you’re commenting about. Touch on why the development is meaningful right now. Include a sentence or three offering your unique take on this important news. If you like, use language that makes the case for value proposition without mentioning your company or its solution. And include attribution.

Oh, and one more thing! Be sure to include a backlink to your company website in the attribution of your quote. That will make it easy for readers to learn more about you. (Some reporters and editors remove such links. But it’s definitely worth the effort to include them.)

Be open to speaking to broader trends and developments

Keep in mind that there doesn’t have to be a straight line between your company’s value proposition and the stories that you elect to newsjack. During the chip shortages, Bospar worked with an electronics supply chain solutions client to provide media with newsjacking quotes on everything from government policy to technical considerations to a dog-washing booth manufacturer that had to change its circuit boards as a result of chips being out of stock.

Now, stories about whether employers should continue allowing people to work from home or require them to return to office (RTO) is a recurring theme. This angle gets new life every time a major employer announces an RTO mandate or an organization releases a survey on the topic.

This isn’t an AI or automation story. Yet Bospar employed newsjacking to get coverage in CNN Business for our client Thoughtful, which provides AI-powered revenue cycle automation. This top-tier media coverage would not have been possible without Bospar’s understanding of media and fast action, and our client’s willingness to speak broadly to workplace trends.

Bospar, which has its finger on the pulse of what journalists are covering and thinking about, knew the CNN Business reporter was working on a story related to RTO. Our crack team of PR experts pitched the reporter commentary on which Bospar collaborated with the client. In sharing it, we also offered an interview to do a deeper dive on how the client was aiming to quantify workers’ production levels based on days in the office. This got the reporter’s interest and resulted in an interview with our client’s CEO – and top-tier coverage for this Bospar client.

The coverage helped increase the company’s visibility with – and note its growth to – a broad business audience. It also highlighted the company’s expertise in helping humans to solve complex problems and drive transformation to increase personal and business performance.

Make newsjacking part of your routine – in the morning and all the time

Earlier I mentioned that the early bird gets the newsjacking worm. That’s absolutely true.

But you don’t necessarily have to be an early riser like me to make hay with newsjacking. As we all know, the world is turning and news is breaking all the time. What matters most is that you and your team remain eagle-eyed – in the morning and all day – in identifying breaking news opportunities, that you move fast in crafting and getting approvals for your quotes, and that you quickly share those quotes to reporters and editors at the most relevant media outlets.

As a PR professional, newsjacking is your friend. In fact, it may be the fastest way to highlight your thought leadership and demonstrate to both media contacts and your target audiences that you understand what’s happening and can help them to identify the solutions they need.

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About the author

Paula Bernier is chief content officer at Bospar PR. She has more than 25 years of experience writing and editing for tech trade outlets, including Inter@ctive Week. Bernier is known for her ability to quickly produce compelling content on a wide range of business and technical topics. Areas of specialization include AI, cybersecurity and networking.