5 ways brand managers can ‘newsjack’

Communicators can jump on breaking news or trends, increasing brand recognition and offering helpful advice. Here are a few things to consider.

Cutting through the noise of the media and getting noticed by your target audience can be challenging. Taking advantage of the stories which are already getting noticed is an excellent place to start. Breaking news stories, the latest trends and current affairs are more likely to capture your audience’s attention, generate social sharing and encourage brand engagement.

Seizing stories that are trending in the news and online—a concept known as “newsjacking”—is an excellent way to share key messages where others can see them, provide expert opinions and build thought leadership. Follow these five strategies to successfully take advantage of trending news stories: 1. Choose the right news story.

Determine which stories are going to work for the message you have crafted. Only leverage stories which would engage the audience and relate directly to the brand and business.

If your client is an insurance company and you notice a lot of stories in the media about rising insurance premiums, you can pitch your client to a relevant journalist as an expert to comment on these issues. 2. Be prepared. Be proactive and prepare for possible opportunities.

Think about topics that relate to your client’s area of expertise and brainstorm any possible news events that could be related to these topics. You can then reactively pitch to news outlets when a similar story emerges.

3. Monitor news media and social media.

Monitor the conversations in news media publications and on social media. By keeping up to date, you will be better able to pick up on stories that will work.

Following journalists and news outlets on Twitter is an excellent way to stay informed of breaking news stories and find media relations opportunities. Twitter allows you to organize profiles into separate lists which can make it easier to view recent tweets from journalists and news outlets. Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter also have streams that showcase what news stories and topics are the most popular amongst users on those platforms. Accessing these trending topics provides an insight into what content engages your target audience, and what they’re talking about.

4. Be timely.

Timeliness is very important if you’re going to capitalize on breaking news. You must be aware of what’s going on and to understand the potential relevance to relevant industries—if there are any. When you do find something relevant to your client’s industry, and have something appropriate to respond with, post the response through your client’s social media, a blog post or a pitch to a reporter. 5. Be resourceful.

When responding to a trending news story, it is important to be as informative and resourceful as possible. Provide journalists with new material they haven’t directly written about before and ensure that you are offering an expert opinion or advice to back up your story. Offering a different angle to current trending news is an excellent way to pique a journalist’s interest in your story. Remember that not every news story will be suitable for a response. Approach the strategy of leveraging trending news stories ethically and sensitively. Think about the ways that you can use real time engagement authentically.

With the right approach, preparation and consideration you can leverage the latest new stories and trends to get your clients noticed.

Catriona Pollard is an author and the director of CP Communications, an Australian-based PR firm.

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