How ‘newsjacking’ fits into a successful B2B PR strategy
What is newsjacking all about?
‘Newsjacking’ is the process of inserting your brand’s message into breaking news by offering relevant and concise comments. If implemented effectively and timely, newsjacking can help B2B brands achieve broad coverage, including in national press, raise their profile, promote brand awareness and drive more website traffic.
The benefits of using newsjacking in your B2B public relations (PR)
Newsjacking is an important part of your public relations (PR) toolbox that complements other activities, such as creating your own brand narratives and pitching them to press according to a pre-planned calendar of activities.
By weaving your brand and your spokespeople’s comments into current news stories, you:
- establish credibility,
- strengthen the authority of your brand,
- build valuable relationships with key journalists,
- and raise awareness among a wide audience group.
If it’s a recurring story that’s being covered in great detail and over a longer period of time, your spokespeople can become the go-to subject matter experts that journalists regularly turn to for comment and insights.
‘Newsjacking’ requires a deep understanding of the media landscape, journalists’ ways of working and editorial deadlines, as well as careful monitoring of emerging and current stories.
The challenges and opportunities related to newsjacking
In 2020, newsjacking has become harder for companies for a variety of reasons. The news in the UK has been largely focused on two major topics — the pandemic and Brexit —narrowing the scope of potential topics suitable for newsjacking. At the same time, new conversations have emerged around the environment and the future of the traditional workplace, creating opportunities for related comments and insights.
Strike the right balance when newsjacking
An important newsjacking challenge is to strike the right balance between offering a company’s view on a story while not appearing too self-serving. For instance, pitching your company’s comment on a recent official guidance on remote working might be useful and relevant, as long as it shows your expertise/offers relevant facts rather than describes your new solution.
Clumsy attempts at newsjacking can damage your reputation
Newsjacking can backfire when attempts are angled towards sensitive issues, human or natural disasters, or situations that people might find generally upsetting. We can still remember that Grenfell Tower pitch gone wrong! It’s important to read the room and consider what implications your ‘newsjack’ might have.
Also, pitching too much and too often without something relevant or applicable to the story will have a negative impact too. If journalists see your name popping up in their inbox often without giving them something valuable, this might damage the relationship.
It’s crucial to pick and choose your opportunities — one great opportunity is better than three mediocre ones. The same goes for picking the right media too. For breaking news stories, we might be tempted to hit up the news desks of every top tier outlet, but this scattergun approach isn’t always effective as your angle won’t be tailored to specific contacts. Instead, you should build topic-specific newsjacking media lists so you can reach the right people at the right time.
4 top tips for a strong newsjacking foundation
By following the below key steps, you will put in place a strong newsjacking foundation for when the right opportunity does comes up:
- Be informed – check the news first thing in the morning. Stay on top of the latest stories and be delicate with sensitive topics!
- Be the first – preparation is key so you don’t get lost in a sea of pitches. Have a bank of pre-approved canned comments that are ready to go within minutes.
- Be creative – set yourself apart from the others.
- Be relevant – yesterday’s news won’t do!
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