Flexibility Required for Newsjacking and PR Success

February 14, 2012

By: Rachel
Marketing expert David Meerman Scott released his latest book on the subject of what he terms “newsjacking.” What is newsjacking, you ask? It is essentially piggybacking on a breaking news item and inserting your company's expert opinion on the subject. When a story breaks, reporters need to get the “why” part of their story, often from an expert source whom they can quote. Ideally, this source will differ from those quoted in already-published articles. If newsjacking is done correctly, it can generate a boatload of press coverage.
Says Scott, “It is about taking advantage of opportunities that pop up for a fleeting moment, then disappear.” For PR executives who are already closely following their beat reporters and understand their clients' markets, this process is nothing new. For others, it's more important than ever that they figure out how to do what Scott has dubbed “newsjacking.” (Here at Metis we call it “issues response.”)
Here are a few ways you can get into timely news stories:
1) Pitch your subject-matter experts and your data – Journalists want trusted sources and proven data points. Capitalize on the news trend but provide more value to the story. Don't pitch the journalist on your product or solution; pitch him on your meaningful analysis.
2) Take a first-mover approach – Because this is such a real-time process, it's not effective if you need multiple levels of approvals or corporate scripting. Jump on the story and be prepared to talk about it. Journalists don't have time to sit around and wait; they want to get their stories out first.
3) Act as a conduit – You may not be the focal point of the issues response, but if you know someone or have a partner that can shed some light on the issue, quickly offer that person as a resource. Journalists don't forget who got them the right information at the right time.
4) Provide a counterpoint – If you think a story is only focusing on one perspective, then offer another angle. Even if the reporter is unable to use your information, she might keep you on file in case something else opens up.
We highly recommend this book for all companies and individuals that want media exposure. Issues response (or newsjacking) is a great way to capitalize on breaking events and, in turn, get great PR results.

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