Have you heard of newsjacking?
This is an effective PR tool. The term was invented by marketing expert David Meerman Scott.
Put simply, in publicity terms, it can mean adapting a current news agenda to initiate compelling media coverage ideas on behalf of you, your business or your PR client.
Brilliant PR author and trainer Jan Murray explains how to use newsjacking.
For me, there are three crucial elements:
- The ‘weight’ of the story – and how you write it
What I mean is – is your story really worth telling? If your ‘newsjacking’ story is too commercial or of narrow interest then it won’t work. You have to be tough on yourself, be cynical, see things from a journalist’s point of view. Ask yourself ‘so what?’ Why exactly might the media be interested? – Don’t for one second rely on any reputable media organisation featuring a thinly-veiled ad for your business – however timely it may seem to you. Be honest – you are a tiny bit biased after all! Write as succinctly as possible and don’t leave out key details. If you don’t know what these are – find out. If you are serious about gaining major exposure, at least study your intended media to research style and content needed.
2. Timing is everything
I’ve sat in countless meetings with seemingly enthusiastic PR clients who declare their commitment for piggybacking a current major story. Three days – or even weeks – later they are still deliberating and despite my best efforts they just won’t authorise information to go out in time. For newsjacking to have the best hit rate, it has to be done *yesterday.* And if yesterday won’t happen, how about getting your media information ready at 11pm or 5am? You have to be prepared to put the work in – immediately. News moves fast.
3. Knowing where and how to send it
Sounds obvious doesn’t it? You’d be surprised how many people take a generic ‘scattergun’ approach and hope for the best. Sometimes targeting specific editors or correspondents can work really well and other times, you may feel contacting a news agency would be beneficial. I used to be in touch with the Press Association a lot when I supported a national charity with its PR – and often gained ‘blanket’ coverage this way. This where the weight of the story really comes in – you really shouldn’t waste anyone’s time with a tale that doesn’t stand up.
I employed the above tactics to attain four major pieces of national online coverage today. We jumped on an opportunity and saw it through – it’s a buzz to see it happen. That’s millions of readers reached.
My client was the National Sea Life Centre and our press release is carried by the Mirror, Mail and Express online, as well as Yahoo News and several regional titles and broadcast interest secured :
I hope this real-life newsjacking example and pointers may be useful to you. If you want to give it a try – go for it – but do the groundwork first!