We talk a lot of the benefits and value of newsjacking here on SourceBottle, and that’s because the practise of taking advantage of existing events to generate media coverage for your company or brand is becoming more recognised as an effective technique to use to 'hook your wagon' to the news cycle.
So, as more and more companies grow media-savvy, this technique is becoming an important weapon in the public relations arsenal - whether you're trying to get media coverage for your own business, your client's business or even a charity.
But it's not enough just to try to newsjack - you need to be able to execute, and listed below are 10 tips to gently guide you through the process.
It doesn't matter if it's an hour-long speech, a milestone in your client's history, or something that happened today. Whether you're taking advantage of something that has already happened or are creating something that never happened, it's important to identify breaking news or an event you’re able to newsjack…(ie. leverage 😉).
Recognise that you can’t (and shouldn’t) newsjack everything. Admittedly, this can be a tough call to make. See pointers below on what you definitely SHOULDN'T newsjack.
Newsjacking is a way to get your brand in the limelight by leveraging a current event to promote your brand, so keep your nose to the ground and KNOW what’s going on.
The only way you can effectively newsjack the news is by getting out in front of it. Speed is the name of the game. Media outlets are often receptive to further analysis from experts who offer up a unique angle on a story, but you’ve only got hours - not days - to beat the queue.
Don’t assume the news hook is enough to sell the story. Ensure you still provide the sizzle (in the form of conflict, human interest, significance etc.). Being beige on an issue will guarantee one thing... crickets.
Journalists don’t have time to read between the lines. Make sure you’re obvious and clear about the story/angle/commentary you’re offering up and its relevance to the current news.
Be succinct and to the point. Make every word count. (Just like that.)
Think hard about the sorts of questions that are likely to be asked after the dust has settled on the principal story, and answer them. Offer up your unique take or expert analysis in your answer.
Always consider if the connection appears obvious enough. If it feels like a stretch to inject your brand/angle into the story, step away from the pitch. Connections that feel contrived are likely to be perceived as exploitative – even if they’re well intentioned. Just ask Burger King.
Always be respectful and avoid newsjacking a tragedy, unless you offer some medical, legal or other constructive insight into the situation. (It might also be best to get a second opinion prior to pressing send.)