MAY 02, 2018
Strike while it’s hot! That was a favorite expression of one of my news directors when I worked in broadcast news. And it remains true that there is no better way to get your company in the news than by capitalizing on the journalistic principle of timeliness. The when of your pitch will often determine whether your story finds its way to page one or is tossed aside to the cutting room floor.
The rise of technology and ability to connect to journalists quickly has made “newsjacking” easier. Marketing and public relations expert David Meerman Scott coined the term newsjacking, which means inserting your company into a breaking news story with journalists who need to find credible sources within small window of time. When we do this, our client becomes an “expert source” and is able to show off his or her knowledge.
Here are a few strategies that have helped me successfully newsjack for my clients at The Wilbert Group.
Automate for Efficiency
We of course read headlines from major outlets and stay current on news within our clients’ industries on a daily basis; that is PR 101. I also like to utilize push alerts sent to my phone with key search terms and my Twitter is set to provide instant notifications from journalists and other influencers. Automating my newsfeed is a powerful tactic to more quickly get on a reporter’s radar.
Understand Your Audience
Who are we trying to reach? Where do they go for information? It’s imperative that we have a solid grasp on who the audience is before attempting to connect with the media. Without that understanding, it’s hard to know what type of stories and news outlets we should be targeting.
Execute the Plan & Act Quickly
Many would-be newsjackers understand the concept but fail due to a lack of planning. I farm out assignments to each member of the team and keep a Word doc handy that maps out who is monitoring what. Any good plan should also list out the protocol for action steps once an opportunity is identified. There should be clear directives for who is coordinating talking points and media outreach, who is authoring a blog post and other thought leadership, who is monitoring social media, etc. The window of opportunity closes quickly, and all of those action items need to be occurring simultaneously. As Scott notes, “What’s most important is to be fast. When a story breaks, the members of the media and potential customers are looking for something right now — not tomorrow, not in five hours, but right now.”
Repurpose Your Pitch
Sometimes you can do all of the above correctly but your pitch will still fall flat. Yep, it happens. Especially when major news is unfolding and everyone wants in. I recommend repurposing the pitch and producing original content that offers expert analysis and insight. A blog, video interview or infographic are all great vehicles to pursue, and can be leveraged on social media. The goal is to position your company as a thought leader, but it doesn’t necessarily have to involve traditional media outlets.
The Wilbert Group
1718 Peachtree Street, Suite 1048
Atlanta, GA 30309
404 748 1250