Newsjacking—the wildly popular new form of public relations and marketing—comes wrapped in a paradox.
It one of the hottest trends for getting attention and engaging fans, yet it is one of the easiest ways for a brand to embarrass itself.
How, then, do you get it right when you try to cash in on trending news, events or hashtags?
A new guide from Ragan Communications and Red Touch Media—”Newsjacking as a Content Strategy“—offers tips and strategies for organizations trying to newsjack, whether it’s the Oscars, a major news event or a competitor’s acquisition of another company.
“You’re shoehorning your client’s message or story or point of view into a bigger story,” says Dorothy Crenshaw, chief executive of Crenshaw Communications, who has long practiced newsjacking under the name “newssurfing.”
The guide explains:
- How to watch for “serendipities” you can newsjack
- Why Google’s real-time indexing must change the way you work
- How to sell newsjacking internally
- Ways to use a “pitchstorming” session
- How to make money through newsjacking
- How to catch the second wave of news
- Tips for avoiding PR disasters when you newsjack
Newsjacking came into its own with the famous Oreo dunk-in-the-dark tweet during the Super Bowl blackout in 2013. Given that Google’s real-time indexing can draw reporters to something as simple as your blog post, there are easier ways to do it, says David Meerman Scott, author of “Newsjacking: How to Inject Your Ideas Into a Breaking News Story and Generate Tons of Media Coverage.”
Watch for everyday “serendipities”—breaking news and events around which you can logically position your expertise, Scott says. This can be done by a team of one, says Scott, who pilots his business solo.
“Where I think newsjacking really is exciting,” he says, “is in the story that you don’t anticipate, when you’re not waiting-when the rest of the world is asleep rather than the world all watching the same television screen.”
The guide highlights examples such as a London Fire Brigade blog post about actress Kate Winslet. It tells how Arby’s “slayed the Grammys” with a tweet about a hat. And it tells how Nam-mic, a financial services company in Namibia, Africa, newsjacked a rap artist’s African tour by offering a free Songz download.
Equally important, the guide explains how to cash in on cultural trends without overdoing it, so you’ll avoid angry tweets like this one from a London editor: “Seriously, if I get one more crummy irrelevant press release with a ’50 Shades’ theme I’m breaking out the whips and chains.”