The toolbox of a public relations practitioner is one that is typically very full. One must-have tool is the tactic of newsjacking. Newsjacking is the act of capitalizing on a popular news story to amplify sales and marketing success.
Keeping an eye on trending topics and stories is the first step for successful newsjacking. A great way to do this is by utilizing Google Trends, a free service from Google that tracks what people are interested in. It includes featured topics and trending stories. The list is constantly changing, so be sure to refresh it. Google Alerts is another great tool from Google that can help you stay up-to-date. If you are wanting to keep track of specific topic, this is a great resource. At my internship, we have alerts set up for the different industries that our clients are involved with.
Newsjacking reaps many benefits:
- SEO boost
- Drives traffic quickly
- Improves brand reputation
- Low cost
However, to obtain these benefits, newsjacking must be done accurately and with haste. Remember, if you found out about a newsworthy event, that means someone else did too. Newsjacking is time-sensitive, so responding to a story quickly can make or break its success. Once someone has looked over it, it’s ready to go. There’s not a lot of time for perfecting or being picky.
A quick way to use newsjacking as a PR tactic is through Twitter. It’s simple because curating a 280-character message doesn’t usually take long. In addition to being quick, a follower base is already set up, so you don’t have to fight among other newsjackers for attention. And, it’s easy to do on a smartphone, so you don’t need to be in the office to create content. You can newsjack even if you are on-the-go.
Don’t newsjack just for the sake of newsjacking. Your content should add value to the story. Take a new angle to it and make it relate to your audience. It should also relate to you and what you or your company does. Bad newsjacking can end up just being time wasted.
Newsjacking as a PR tactic may seem intimidating, but, as with most things, practice makes perfect.