Newsjacking: How To Effectively Slide Into Their Headlines

Written by: Andie Levine

Newsjacking is a PR secret weapon and when utilized correctly, it can be an effective tool to earn media coverage. Newsjacking is the practice of taking advantage of recent news stories or other current events as a way to insert yourself, or your brand, into the news cycle. These opportunities can catapult you into the headlines without having to create an entirely new story or make an announcement. 

Newsjacking starts with setting up a successful news listening strategy. Considering the sheer number of outlets and today’s 24 hour news cycle, it’s impossible to catch every story. However, by identifying your most important publications, audiences, and topics, you can set up alerts to bring the most relevant information right to your fingertips. Signing up for industry newsletters and following journalists on social media are additional ways to catch the latest coverage. 

Once a story is identified as an opportunity, assess how to best relate yourself to the topic at hand. This should be done quickly, ideally in the first few hours hours of the original breaking news.  The key is to be aligned with the subject, but differentiated from the story’s lead. The outlet will consider your point of view if it is engaging and provides educational value to their audience.  

Sometimes the opportunities are easy to identify ahead of time, like holidays, sporting events, or awards ceremonies. Keeping an eye on general events adjacent to your industry can give you a longer lead time to prepare your pitch and get on the outlet’s radar early. But beware of trying to fit a square peg in a round hole; not every story will be appropriate for your brand’s voice. 

While newsjacking may be harder to land a placement than your typical pitch, the hidden benefit is increasing your credibility. By offering your point of view and expertise, the outlet is now aware of who you are and that you’re available to comment on the subject next time it comes up in the news cycle. While we don’t recommend making newsjacking the backbone of your communications strategy, it is an effective complement to any existing marketing efforts.

Interested in learning how PR can support your business? Contact our PR team here to see how we can get started.

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