What’s the story? Thoughts on Newsjacking

© Maksym Yemelyanov - Fotolia.com
© Maksym Yemelyanov – Fotolia.com

I just finished reading David Meerman Scott’s book, Newsjacking: How to Inject your Ideas into a Breaking News Story and Generate Tons of Media Coverage. Love it. But perhaps not for any conventional reason. Here’s a little bit about the content, then I’ll elucidate.

Scott introduces the term “newsjacking” into the practice of public relations. While not new in concept, he had the foresight to name it and write a book about it. [When will I learn?] Newsjacking is about taking advantage of opportunities that pop up for a fleeting moment then disappear. “In that instant, if you are clever enough to add a new dimension to the story in real-time, the news media will write about you.” It can be powerful, but only when executed in real-time.

From the day I started at my first PR firm, I was taught to read constantly, stay informed, and learn about the world around you. In essence, become a news junky. And that has stuck with me. In order for you to insert a client into the national dialogue—the news of the day, you have to know what that news is. It is intense and time consuming, and equally as exciting!

I won’t get into the details of how newsjacking works since the book does that, but here’s why I think it resonates. The bigger message here is that to make this work, it requires a seamless partnership between agency and client. Being well-versed on their business, knowing where their expertise lies, and having established a trust where they will let you lead them into an exercise like this. It is the only way to work as quickly as newsjacking requires.

If you are a business leader who has a PR team or agency (or is thinking about engaging one), a quick review of this book will offer insight into the inner workings of our discipline and perhaps encourage you to participate when you get that call on Friday at 4 p.m.

Scott says newsjacking creates a level playing field, but that new level favors players who are observant, quick to react and skilled at communicating. Absolutely. So much about our industry is.

At Full Tilt, we have had some recent successes in newsjacking which landed clients in some key publications. When the news broke on a national level about the Atlanta Public School cheating scandal, our team acted quickly to pitch our client, Growing Leaders, as subject matter experts on the long term effect of this kind of cheating on the students. The Washington Post education writer, Valerie Strauss, interviewed our client for an article. Likewise for Mom Corps, our client expert in the flexible staffing space, we jumped on a story angle for National Telework Week landing placements in US News & World Report and Salary.com among others.

I attribute these placements as much to our tight working relationship with our clients as much as anything else. They see the value our work brings to their bottom line and are willing to jump right into the fire with us. Do you have that relationship now?

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