NEWSJACKING 101: What it is and how to do it well

Newsjacking is a technique used by many PR professionals to earn timely and relevant coverage by leveraging recent events or news items to promote a specific service, product, or company. It can be a useful tech PR and marketing tactic for a variety of reasons, and one that any good technology PR agency should be leveraging regularly. One benefit is that a brand’s visibility and exposure can be increased by capitalizing on interest in a hot topic or news moment — of which there are many in the ever-changing world of tech. Doing so may raise awareness and interest in the brand, which may encourage more purchases. Newsjacking can also help a brand position itself as timely and relevant, which can increase credibility and trust among desired audiences.

For example, many publications and news outlets are covering the economy, inflation, and the possibility of a recession. This would make for a great newsjacking opportunity for personal finance experts to insert themselves into the conversation by offering information to help people properly manage their money. It’s also a golden opportunity for a technology PR agency like MFG, since the global situation not only affects many industries, but also provides a platform for our technology clients that offer innovative solutions.

Yeah Nick, that sounds great – but how do you actually do it?

In order to newsjack effectively, it’s important to be quick and agile. This means monitoring current events and news stories closely and being ready to jump on any opportunities that arise. Pro tip from a tech PR director: Google, Twitter and TalkWalker alerts are very helpful to stay informed in real time.

It’s also important to be relevant and tactful and avoid exploiting sensitive or controversial topics for the sake of promoting a brand. That means being aware of your brand’s perception as well: you wouldn’t want to newsjack an opportunity only for your brand to be poorly represented in the final segment or article. All news isn’t good news.

Another aspect of successful newsjacking is providing useful and informative content that adds value to the conversation surrounding the current news moment. This can be accomplished by leveraging content like social media updates, blog entries, or other types of information that are pertinent to the current news issue. It could also mean offering insights unique to the story, providing expert analysis, or sharing relevant data or statistics. This approach accomplishes two things. First, your tech PR agency can raise awareness for your brand by capitalizing on a popular news story, and second, distributing valuable information that only your brand can provide both engages and educates audiences. Ideally, this will result in follow-ups and other future opportunities.

Finally, it’s important to build relationships with reporters, editors, producers, etc. Your first newsjacking attempt may not be successful, but that doesn’t mean you stop trying (PR is a numbers game, after all). In the case of a failed attempt, consider it an opportunity to build relationships so that your next newsjacking attempt works. You do this by keeping contacts informed and providing useful resources without the expectation of coverage. This helps to build a rapport and trust while also positioning you as a go-to resource for future reporting. In short, newsjacking can be a powerful media relations strategy and essential tool in the arsenal of a technology PR agency, when it’s done well.