You’ve seen the phrases “stealing someone’s thunder” or “piggy backing” used many times in the media, right? Consider those terms yesterday’s news.
The recently coined phrase, “Newsjacking”, by the clever David Meerman Scott (Newsjacking, The New Rules of Marketing and PR) breathes new life into a PR maneuver as old as the invention of soft soap. With the advent and rise of social media and the 24 hour news cycle, “newsjacking” has found a name and place in today’s media tool box by creating a level playing field in the world of communications.
Literally anyone can newsjack; but not without taking risks. Players who are informed and observant, quick to react, and skilled at communicating in today’s media world are the ones best suited to use this on-time, real-time maneuver.
Think of it as a powerful weapon that can be wielded to confuse the competition or simply to borrow momentum from an already moving news object.
Scott describes newsjacking as “the process by which you inject your ideas or angles into breaking news, in real-time, in order to generate media coverage for yourself or your business.” The only new news here is that Scott recognizes and teaches PR pros and business owners alike the best way to piggy back a story onto a more widely recognized story in the heat of the moment. (Slow reactors need not apply.)
If you have a good PR person on your payroll, they should know about this tool already; if they don’t, either they’re not using their analytical skills well enough, or they’re not staying up on the latest and greatest.
Any good journalist knows that news is only as interesting as its relevance and that it’s always all about the timing. It’s the same with public relations. Today more than ever, If your story has no relevance to the mood of your audience, if it doesn’t reference a current, relatable event, you might as well be selling ice cream in a blizzard.
Never forget this: news moves really fast these days. Before you know it, an interesting, relevant story can become completely irrelevant and tired in only 24 hours. Therefore, by ‘newsjacking’ (see this graph that demonstrates how fast you need to be ready to jack up your story and get it out there) you are helping make your message, your story, your idea something meaningful and relatable.
1: be good at real time monitoring. This means having all the current media tools at your disposal.
2: be realistic about your expectations. If you weren’t quick enough or your news fell through the cracks, don’t be discouraged. If at first you don’t succeed – there will be another chance.
3: be aware of when, how and where your voice is best heard. That means knowing what platforms best get our your message to the right people.
Have you read either of Meerman Scott’s books? If not, do it. If you have, and you’ve tried some of his methods, let us know. We’d love to hear about both your successes and your failures. We’ve had both; and we’re happy for each experience.