We were recently in a new business meeting where we got asked about our news-jacking strategy – we’d only included a couple of lines in the proposal and perhaps, with hindsight, hadn’t given it the prominence it needed.
In our defence, this is because news-jacking is such a fundamental part of what we do at Firework in most of our campaigns, that we are guilty of forgetting to explain it.
News-jacking is something we’re quite passionate about – in a similar way to our focus on compelling content. Why? Frankly, because it is integral to good PR and it works – it instills a newshound discipline within the team which in turn enables us to gain attention with the media. It demonstrates that our clients have a finger on the pulse on industry issues relevant to their audience and, when carried out in a timely fashion, secures (often excellent) thought leadership coverage.
So we’ve put together a few top tips for those companies that don’t currently have a news-jacking strategy in place. It is not rocket science… but these will give you a starting point and hopefully help:-
- Decide which issues are close to your strategic business focus. For us, we track news on content marketing and one or two others that are close to our services and what matters to our clients
- Decide which media are most influential with your target audience – essentially, find out what they read – this will help you decide which media to track for news
- Think about how much time you have to allocate to news hi-jacking. If you’ve only got one or two hours per week for example, there’s no point trying to track more than one issue in more than a couple of newspapers or news sites
- When you find a relevant issue that you want to comment on, consider preparing some quotes in advance that can be ‘tweaked’ to the specific situation. This will help you hone what you want to say, with time on your side, so that you can review, fine-tune, simplify and get agreement within your organisation
- Make sure your messaging is clear. The most impactful coverage includes the message you want to communicate to prospects/existing customers/partners so when drafting quotes, check each one that it will resonate with those audiences, isn’t ‘selling’ your company’s products or services but is inherently communicating why it is relevant to what you are commenting on
- To manage the practicalities, consider when you have time to act upon this and who will own this within your company. If it isn’t the business owner/CEO, approval of content/quotes needs to be agreed in advance – this can be a simple process but needs consent
- Timeliness is key. For example, if you want to get into the nationals, you need to be tracking issues in the morning and reacting early afternoon with relevant content. If you don’t adhere to this, your effort is likely to be wasted as you’ll miss deadlines and the opportunity will have gone
- If prompt responses are too tricky, consider approaching the Sunday papers, who are interested in analysis features, or target monthly publications with more analysis led articles
- When first starting out, look back at past issues that you could have ‘jumped on’ and decide what you would have said. Build a bank of quotes around each issue – you’ll find those annual surveys come round quickly and if you think to pop them in your calendar, with a reminder perhaps one week in advance, you’ll be ready to react before everyone else
- Finally, if you’re finding it difficult to get started, another route is monitoring what your competitors are doing and saying. It’s a simple way of finding out what they think is important enough to comment. It will also give you easy ideas to progress news-jacking activities in the future.
What we’ve found is that companies that get focused on news-jacking begin to understand the value of PR – engaging with and influencing your target audiences with relevant, non-salesy content that resonates. It’s the start of an effective content marketing strategy that is all about strong story-telling. And what better way to hook those prospects by demonstrating that you understand their issues and – luckily – have relevant solutions to help them.
Let us know what you think.
Director of Firework PR