Getting your story heard through newsjacking

07/11/2023 14:38:36
Have you heard of newsjacking? While it may sound like a buzzword, it is actually common practice in the world of PR, and can be a highly effective strategy to get your story heard.

So, what is it? Newsjacking is all about using the news agenda to your advantage when the opportunity knocks to position your business as an expert in your field. 

In business, keeping up with current affairs is crucial. Besides helping you stay competitive and relevant; it keeps you in the know when it comes to industry trends. However, when a news story directly impacts your sector, it may lead you to ponder the possibility of responding. That is where ‘newsjacking’ comes into play. 

Here our Senior Account Manager, Cherelle Jones, explains the delicate art of newsjacking, and how to use it effectively in your PR strategy

What is newsjacking?

The term newsjacking was originally coined by expert marketeer David Meerman Scott, but it has since become one of the most effective ways to get your message heard in an increasingly busy media landscape. 

It’s all about seizing the opportunity created by current trends and industry news and reacting tastefully to add value. If you have insight, statistics, or an opinion to add to a story, newsjacking will allow you to present your findings, boost business visibility, and connect with your audience on another level using timely and relevant content.

To be successful, you must first carefully monitor the news, and if you see something that relates to your industry, and you feel comfortable responding, then it's time to begin crafting. 




How does it work?

Now, while newsjacking seems like a very simple concept, it can be tricky. To get your story heard and cut through the media noise, you need to be strategic, which is where a PR professional comes in. 

A PR expert understands the subtle art of newsjacking inside out and will know how to respond to any given news agenda to ensure the best possible outcome. Our knowledge of the media and the news agenda means we are best placed to spot relevant opportunities and deliver an effective strategy.

For us, the first step is research. Our natural curiosity means we like to delve deeper into any given topic and have all the facts to hand. From there, we can identify what content is needed, and how best to present your information. 

The content we create will depend on the platform, and what insight you have around the topic in hand. If it's a small comment, we could carefully weave it into your social media agenda or create an opinion-led blog post to help drive traffic to your website.  

If you have insightful information, including statistics data, or an opinion that differs from others, you could consider broadening your approach to directly target the news agenda. Whether it’s comments, a press release, or a case study, we use our in-depth knowledge of the media to reach out to the relevant journalists. From there, we will use your insights to tailor a response that will enhance the story. In turn, this can help to increase your brand visibility, place you as the expert in your field, and encourage audience engagement. 

Sounds great, right? However, there are two important things to note. Not everything needs a comment, and timing is everything.

Timing is everything 

Remember, the news agenda moves on very quickly. If you want to get your story heard, you need to act fast.

If it’s a specific event you are considering newsjacking, your spokesperson and overall response should be lined up ahead of time. From a PR perspective, press releases can be planned weeks in advance, but we are always prepared to tweak and adapt last minute to maximise impact.

Another thing to consider around newsjacking is sensitivity. It goes without saying, that there are some situations, such as natural disasters, tragedies, and personal misfortune that should never be seen as an opportunity for gain.

If your comment has the potential to be taken out of context, comes across as insensitive, or could be offensive, it's best to avoid it. Negative attention surrounding your business can be detrimental to the reputation you have worked hard to build and maintain. 

In the spirit of making things a little easier to digest, we have listed some simple questions we would ask when planning an approach. 

•    Is this topic relevant to the business?
•    Would the business want to be associated with this news agenda?
•    Who is the target audience?
•    What relevant messages do we have?
•    Is there an interesting take on the situation?
•    Are there up-to-date statistics and a spokesperson?
•    Could anything we say be taken out of context?
•    What will this insight add to the conversation?

To give you an example: recently, a national news story broke about net zero and how the government could help homeowners prepare for upcoming changes. We issued a response to the contributing journalist to add insight from a heating manufacturer and get their voice heard at a national level. 
If you decide a newsjacking is the way to go, act fast. Executed tastefully, it can help elevate your brand and influence public perception, but strategy is everything.

Here at Partners PR, we are a talented bunch of wordsmiths, creative thinkers, and PR strategists with more than 35 years of experience in the business. We work with B2B organisations across the UK in the
manufacturing and engineering, food processing, building products, property and construction, and professional services sectors, helping them tell their story to the right people, at the right time. 

Contact us today

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