In the coming weeks and months, the SourceBottle team is going to suggest breaking news stories that Sourcey subs can 'newsjack'. We'll be publishing these on our Facebook page (including our Expert Profiles Support Group page) in the hope that many of you might action these ideas and... 'ta da', generate some positive publicity for yourself.
But before we do this, we need to explain what newsjacking is and how you do it.
PR gun David Meerman Scott first used the term and as a result is recognised as the creator of the expression. He even wrote a book called Newsjacking that explains it more fully. As he puts it, 'Newsjacking is the art and science of injecting your ideas into a breaking news story so you and your ideas get noticed.'
To newsjack a story, you're really just adding more 'flesh to a story', ie. providing more in-depth insight to a story through another angle, and the best way to approach the tactic is to consider potential follow-on questions a journalist might ask someone with your expertise. And then answer them. Quickly! (Timing is critical when it comes to newsjacking.)
But to fully understand how to do it, you need to understand how the news cycle works, which is illustrated beautifully in Meerman Scott's diagram showing the news life cycle.
Meerman Scott highlights how important it is to act quickly just after a story breaks, as this is the time the media scurries around looking for what he refers to as the second paragraph, which explores the story more fully. In other words, the answers to the questions that flow out of the primary news story.
When it comes to piggybacking on a breaking news story, your job is to pre-empt what the media will be looking for and provide answers to their (soon-to-be-asked) questions.
Sure, this sounds straight forward enough, but despite this, seasoned professionals have stumbled (some badly - search: Woolworth's #freshinourmemories AT&T's #neverforget and Croc's #DavidBowie moment) attempting to newsjack a breaking news story or trend.
That's because there are a few rules when it comes to newsjacking and you ignore them at your peril.
To ensure you don't suffer the same fate, make sure you:
Take this simple story:
Gwyneth Paltrow posts this to Instagram:
Apple (her daughter) doesn't like it and comments:
"Mom we have discussed this. You may not post anything without my consent."
Paltrow replies: "You can't even see your face!"
Now while this is a simple story, it's picked up by major news outlets all over the world, in large part because... CELEBRITY.
But if I was providing PR advice to a privacy or parenting expert, or even an employment expert, this is the sort of breaking news story just ripe for jacking.
Ok, Apple didn't want her mum to share her pic on Insta. Simple, right? Wrong. There are plenty of follow-up questions that flow from a story like this. For example:
1. HR professionals and experts in employment might want to pitch answers to the following questions:
2. Experts in online privacy might want to pitch answers to the following questions:
3. Parenting experts might want to pitch answers to the following questions:
So there you have it. Newsjacking in practice.
Make sure you keep an eye out on our Facebook page as well as our SourceBottle Expert Profiles Support Group page (if you're an Expert Profile holder) for timely newsjacking ideas that you can action yourself by applying this basic technique.
Wishing you fame and good fortune!