The short answer is: yes, it is effective. But, there are certain conditions that go with it to make sure that your attempt to newsjack is effective. Recently, at Villa-Bali.com, we have managed to newsjack; the article received over 25,000 views and 1,000 social shares just over the weekend.
Here are my learnings and tips for success:
For our case, we provide villa rentals in Bali, hence, anything that affects Bali tourism is of interest. When the news about Mount Agung broke, it was extremely important to us. It affected our clients, villa owners and even threatened our bottom line.
Look through all the articles you can find and identify an angle that hasn't yet been covered. What is it that people are looking for? Do you have a different opinion on the subject matter? What can you offer and how can you add value to your readers?
Why should people listen to you? Right from the start of the article, you need to prove you're a subject matter expert, or provide reasons why people should listen to you.
Simply repeating what others have said won't work. You need to outperform other articles by offering more value to the readers.
Make sure the article ranks well on Google. While it's challenging to achieve the top results when there are so many news channels writing about the same topic, don't forget to optimise the article.
Relying on search engines alone won't spread your message far. It's crucial to promote the article on every channel you can think of: social media or via bloggers, influencers and partners interested in the topic.
Your job isn't done when the article is published. You'll need to constantly update with the latest information to make sure what you've written is still correct and relevant.
A few extra things to note about newsjacking:
Public interest will quickly move on to the next 'thing' so you need to act fast and strike while the iron's still steaming.
You'll be working within a very short time frame. And even when you're done, you'll still need to track the situation to make sure the article's still relevant. All of this can span only a few days!
Newsjacking is an effective PR tactic. While you can't ride every single news wave, it's important to be alert and act promptly when an opportunity arises. Fleeting as it is, the article can achieve tremendous results within a short time frame.