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What is newsjacking and how it helps PR?

By Lauren Reville - Comit, Tuesday, 23rd November 2021 | 0 comments
Filed under: Social Media, Digital Marketing, Public Relations, PR.

Newsjacking is a PR strategy that you or your PR agency can use to align your brand with a current event or breaking story in the news. Used properly, it allows you to become part of the conversation, gaining wide attention and becoming part of the story. This blog gives you an overview of what newsjacking is – in a PR context - and the key benefits of doing it.

Commenting on topics in the media allows an organisation to add value to the conversation and ultimately promote its brand. Sharing knowledge and expertise with the media and the public is always a great way to build PR profile as a respected industry thought leader.

For example, if a company specialises in cybersecurity and there is a large-scale cyber-attack, the organisation will have the expertise to comment on the event in the media. This would allow them to be aligned with the story and gain significant media coverage as the story grows.

There are risks associated with newsjacking and it must be strategic. If you are to get involved in the conversation, you must ensure that you are knowledgeable on the topics and have something meaningful to add, and a carefully thought through the reason for doing it.

Newsjacking opportunities must be well thought out to ensure that they will gain positive attention for your brand. If you are not knowledgeable on the topic, you could undermine your brand. Similarly, if the subject is not something you want your brand aligned with, it is best not to get involved. If you are unsure, work with a PR professional or specialist PR agency to identify the best newsjacking opportunities for your brand.

Three key benefits of PR newsjacking?

1. Increase audience

Connecting your brand with a current news story has the potential to put you in front of a new audience which boosts your PR profile. It is easier to gain attention when joining a viral conversation as your audience is not limited to those already familiar with your brand. If a story is covered in national media, an organisation has great potential to leverage newsjacking to build profile. This can create new leads for potential customers and increase social media following.

Think of how Irish cyber security specialists commented on the HSE hack, for example, placed themselves and their brands at the heart of the major national story that was dominating the airwaves and national newspapers. They looked like the white knights who could help businesses to avoid becoming the next hack disaster, and placed themselves at the top of shopping lists of companies who were moved to review and invest in their cyber security…and clearly many did that.

2. Become a PR thought leader

Commenting on topical issues in the media demonstrates that your organisation is knowledgeable about industry topics. This builds trust with stakeholders and allows you to show your value to your audience. Newsjacking is also a great way of explaining what your organisation does without being purely promotional. If you are interviewed or quoted in the media, this will build credibility in your industry and may ultimately lead to you being the go-to person to comment on issues and trends in your industry.

3. Improves PR brand recognition

A great way to strengthen your brand's PR reputation is to appear in the media, making newsjacking a great way to spread awareness of your brand. Newsjacking associates your brand with trending topics, which will make audiences more familiar with your messaging. As you become a familiar name in the space, your brand will grow and stand out.

There are clear benefits to newsjacking, however successful execution requires careful thought and planning. If you are interested in finding out more about using newsjacking as part of your PR strategy, check out our second blog : How to successfully use PR newsjacking.



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