Newsjacking: What It Is and How to Do It
April 25, 2017
Those whose livelihoods are tied to the news cycle—journalists and PR professionals—know that riding the news is much like surfing at high tide on a stormy day. The world is changing every minute, and the media follows each trend, giving consumers what they want—with each wave of news crashing to the shore as thousands of other waves come barreling in to replace it.
That’s why it’s so important for PR to keep a finger to the wind, so to speak, and to use the mercurial news tides to our advantage.
Here’s an example:
Does your client provide performance analytics for major retail brands, ensuring that their websites don’t crash? Use the Black Friday shopping rush as a way to make your client stand out above the rest, showcasing its customers’ websites as examples of websites that don’t crash under pressure. Or is your client debuting a sleek new headset that allows for cinemascope-grade movie viewing? Why not leverage the entertainment awards season to showcase the product?
This technique is called newsjacking, and it’s one of the most important tactics in PR.
Following are a few tips to help you master the art of newsjacking.
Spend ten minutes each morning reading the news in your key industries, whatever they are. For me, this is usually tech, business, finance, economy and national news; yours might be consumer electronics, cybersecurity, fashion and the supply chain. Whatever industries you’re tracking, you’ll need to know what the biggest headlines are each day in case any are relevant to your clients.
Find an in
The whole concept behind newsjacking is to figure out how and where you can insert your client into a story that’s already trending. For example, after Yahoo! had its latest major security breach, we pitched survey data from a cybersecurity client about how long it takes consumers to reestablish trust after hacking incidents, resulting in hundreds of placements for our client.
You’re looking for an in. Once you’ve found one, you’ve got to figure out how and what to add to the story—and get pitching fast.
Keep one eye on the competitors
In addition to keeping track of what stories are trending generally in your key verticals, also keep a close eye on what stories your competitors are putting out. Can your client, for example, top a trending competitor story with data or information of their own?
Have proof points ready
Leverage customer case studies to prove that your client is an expert on topics relating to their industry. Also, never underestimate the power of internal data.
Last but not least: get creative! If there’s a larger, more evergreen story afoot, take the conversation someplace new.
For a time investment of about ten minutes each day, newsjacking can propel your clients into a world of breaking news that they can leverage to their own media (and business) advantage.