What is Newsjacking and How to Leverage it for Clients

Newsjacking, like catching the perfect wave in a sea of information, empowers PR professionals to ride the momentum of breaking news, positioning clients as authoritative voices in their industries. At first glance, the term “newsjacking” might raise eyebrows, evoking thoughts of taking something that is not rightfully yours. However, in the realm of public relations, newsjacking is a skillful strategy – a means of leveraging breaking news to position your client as an industry expert and put more eyes on the business. 

Below are steps to becoming a professional newsjacker:  

Have a Broad Industry Lens 

A public relations professional’s success hinges on being a perpetual student of the news. It is not solely about understanding your clients’ industries; it is about comprehending the broader landscape of national and world news. Working in PR, we wear many hats, and this knowledge enables you to make timely connections between ongoing news and your clients’ expertise. 

Collaborative Client Engagement 

Like most areas of public relations, newsjacking thrives on collaboration rather than isolation. When a newsjacking opportunity arises, the first step is to think it through. Below are questions to ask yourself: 

  • Would my client be able to speak adequately to the news at hand? 
  • If my client were to be an expert source on this topic, would it hinder or elevate them and their business? 
  • Has this reporter written any negative stories related to this topic in the past?  
  • Is this outlet in a specific market? If so, what? Is that market compatible with my client’s business? 

Once you answer those questions, reach out to your client immediately. Securing their approval is crucial, guaranteeing their comfort and expertise in the subject matter, thus averting any potential negative representation or unease.  

Building relationships with clients is essential in any industry. It is important to remember that you are the expert in your field and that your client trusts your opinion when presenting them with these opportunities.  

Research, Research and More Research 

When newsjacking, thorough research is imperative. It is about understanding the story and the ability to scrutinize the tone, stance and relevance of reporters and outlets involved.  

Pitch Perfect 

Crafting the perfect pitch involves more than just a well-worded email. Personalization is key. Referencing a reporter’s previous work establishes rapport. Also, timing is critical; in the ever-evolving news cycle, a well-timed pitch can make all the difference.  

After referencing the reporter’s previous work, you can then go on to explain your client’s business. Finally, offer a spokesperson to be a possible expert source and list the topics they can speak to.  

Newsjacking is not just about capitalizing on headlines – it is about agility. Newsjacking is about adapting swiftly to news cycles, being nimble in thought and action and perceiving unexpected opportunities amidst the chaos of everyday news.  

These helpful steps allowed our team to seize an opportunity during the Zillow crisis of 2021, which resulted in a client securing an interview with a real estate reporter from the Wall Street Journal. Another win came to fruition during the tequila shortage news just this year. From real estate to tequila, this demonstrates how newsjacking transcends industries. 

Embrace the news; it is your ally in showcasing your clients’ expertise and their business.