16/02/2023 • Steve Baker
Defined as harnessing a current event or breaking story to promote your brand or products, Newsjacking is a tactic that has become increasingly prevalent within the industry.
The uncertainty that came with the pandemic during 2020 & 2021 outreachers had to be more versatile and adaptable than ever before. PR’s struggled to plan and schedule their campaigns during this time, never knowing what was going to suddenly break the news and take over.
Newsjacking can still be undertaken alongside larger campaigns and other PR tactics however can also be utilised as a solo tactic to increase both brand awareness and links for clients.
Whether you’re new to the industry or not, reading headlines every morning and intermittently throughout the day should be part of your routine. If you have limited time, to cover the main news sites, utilise news round-up websites.
The reason this is so crucial is because it allows you to digest current headlines, discover stories you may not have even known of, and digesting this as the first task of your day, may help you to be more creative as you won’t be focusing on work already.
You can also take advantage of keyword alerts. Use Google Alerts to track important keywords in relation to your clients brand and services that will allow you to keep updated with news stories relevant to your industry as well as see which journalists are applicable for you to communicate with.
When you notice a story gaining traction in the media, try to ensure you’re thinking about ways in which your client can align with it.
However, don’t encourage clients to be opportunistic when it comes to catastrophic events or sensitive topics. This can result in backlash or being blacklisted by journalists, which would generate a loss of trust with consumers.
This method can be executed in several ways, but it all relies heavily upon the news cycle and getting your timing just right. Depending on the importance and impact of the story, there tends to be a 24- to 72-hour window for a topic, within which outreachers should strike.
You have the opportunity to offer up your clients for expert commentary or provide additional information such as data points or case studies on behalf of your client.
This highlights that the critical element of any newsjacking outreach is quick turnarounds and taking action as soon as possible. Because of this, clients need to be aware of this limited availability and work with you seamlessly to achieve success within the timeframe.
If your client does not have the capability to stick to this timeline and is slow to provide the assets needed, draft up quotes for them in their tone of voice and then get their sign-off, and get your clients to provide you with access to all new data and case studies as soon as possible.
The key for newsjacking is to keep concepts simple and to ensure there’s minimal resources needed. They aren’t always guaranteed to work and you don’t want to waste a week’s worth of valuable outreach days for a campaign that may achieve its purpose.
Newsjacking isn’t a tactic that will slow down over the next few years. The rapid adjustment PR’s were forced to make during the pandemic highlighted the success of newsjacking.
Alongside this, clients don’t necessarily hold the budgets they once did for their digital PR strategies. Newsjacking allows for brand awareness and trust with consumers to build on smaller budgets that still holds a large impact.
These changes in the industry have often forced agencies to adapt their outreach techniques and formats of campaign execution. Newsjacking showed the need for being able to adapt, change angles and quickly react and with news agenda’s moving so quickly at the moment, PR’s need to be agile with the stories they create and outreach.
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