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The rules of ‘newsjacking’

Posted by admin on 28th May 2010

The key element to any newsjacking is wrapped up in its name; news!

And any PR worth their salt will tell you that newsjacking can only work if you know what is out there to hijack. Like a good car thief, PRs need to go on a stake out, know the routine of the owners and monitor their behaviours to optimise your chances of a successful steal.

But the growing popularity of social media, coupled with the huge number of online news sources, is adding a whole new dimension to the traditional newsjacking model.  Here, we set out some of the new rules of newsjacking.

Keep your eyes and ears open – constantly

Gone are the focused morning slots when a PR would watch the breakfast news and scan the morning papers to find that news piece to hijack.  It’s still true that the early bird catches the worm, but with news breaking across social media channels 24/7 that PR opportunity could come at any time, so make sure you are set up to constantly monitor social media channels and online news sites.

Turn things around – fast

In a fast-paced, online world that’s increasingly governed by social media, yesterday’s news is no longer ‘old’ news – it’s prehistoric! Make sure you are lined up to go in all guns blazing as soon as an opportunity is presented.

Be relevant

Remember, all the buzz in the world is not going to make a difference to your brand unless your content is genuinely interesting. Get this right and you can build valuable journalist relationships, brand advocates and market authority.

Embrace multiple channels

Spotting an opportunity is probably the easiest element of newsjacking. The tricky bit is putting the right strategy in place to make an impact. Be aware of who you’re trying to reach, there is a big difference between newsjacking a very factual hard news business piece in the Financial Times and commenting on a consumer watchdog story in The Daily Mail. Be aware of what this audience will be interested in, know what journalists at the media outlet are likely to talk about and what types of comments they usually receive and publish.

Pre-empt newsjacking opportunities

How many events are you confident you can say will happen?  I’m pretty sure Christmas day is going to happen on 25th December every year, and then there’s that football competition that’s happening in a few weeks isn’t there.  I’d also bet that there’ll be travel chaos over bank holiday weekends, some kind of air strike, Apple will announce something ‘big’ in 2011 – and we’re bound to have some extreme weather come January.

Think about what you know, pre-empt the big news agenda and plan your activities in advance to maximise their impact.

Here at Wildfire we’ve got some excellent examples of our newsjacking campaigns (why not check out our latest Cup Classics campaign for Humax?), so why not give us a call so we can talk you through them?

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