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Our top five tips for nailing newsjacking

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If working in comms during the Covid-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that even the best laid plans can go awry.

With clients working in a range of sectors from travel to financial services, our team has had to embrace change over the last 12 months and a whole host of planned campaign activity was put on hold. But that doesn’t mean we’ve been keeping quiet.

We’ve seen more success with newsjacking over the last year than ever before as the fast-moving news agenda seeks reactive comment from industry experts.

So, if you want to nail newsjacking for your clients, follow these top tips…

1: Get in early

When it comes to newsjacking time really is of the essence, so the quest for coverage may mean an early start.

If you’re reacting to industry announcements or updates from the public bodies like the ONS or Bank of England, these are often released at 7am, so to be in with a chance you’ll need to beat your competitors to it and set that alarm!

We’ve seen this work time and time again, securing over 550 pieces of reactive coverage for our client, the Equals Group, last year alone, in titles including the BBC, The Telegraph, CityAM and The Sun.

2: Plan ahead

While some conversations dominating the news agenda will be unexpected and require a quick response, there are also opportunities for you to get ahead of the game and plan in advance for your brand.

Take a look at industry announcements relevant to your brand and plot them into a content calendar. You should also be signing up  to alerts, such as those offered by government departments, so you’re on the ball when it comes to the sector you’re working in.

If you can, it’s always best to draft commentary ahead of time leaving room to add in the key details once they’re confirmed. This way you can get the necessary sign off in advance to avoid any delays.

3: Make your opinion count

Even with all the best preparation in the world and the quickest sign-off you’re unlikely to see your comments cut through if you don’t offer a strong opinion, or provide additional value to a journalist.

We’ve all seen the inboxes inundated with PR emails thanks to frequent Twitter posts from exasperated journalists. So, in order to stand out from the crowd you’ll need to give them a point of view that goes against the grain, or offers added value with things like exclusive data or expert tips. Don’t simply relay the news to journalists or it will get spiked!

When a big story breaks, it’s best to think first about whether what you have to say is really all that different to your competitors, and if it’s not, can you offer anything else to enhance the story? If it’s still a no, it might not be the one for you.

4: Make it evergreen and don’t forget your data

While some events will be a one-off occurrence, there will be other opportunities where you can continue to grab a piece of the newsjacking pie.

If you issued a comment or a campaign at a particular time last year, for example at the start of the summer holidays, have a think about whether this is something you can go for again this year. You should also consider whether you can get any updated data to offer year-on-year trends as a hook for journalists.

We’ve put this into practice for our client, Admiral Insurance, and landed 245 pieces of national and regional coverage last year while utilising data on catalytic converter theft. This month, we refreshed the data and the angle and have so far landed 67 additional media placements.

5: Be targeted

You’ll no doubt have media lists carefully crafted for each of your target sectors, but when it comes to newsjacking it’s always worth double checking who’s covering the conversation you want to be part of.

Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Take a look at who’s been writing about similar stories or themes, and make sure you send your comment to them, tailoring your pitch so they know you’ve done your research.

Don’t forget things like live news blogs too – you’ll be able to see the journalists that are covering these and as they’re regularly updated, there’s a good chance your comment could be included.

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There’s no doubt that newsjacking is a great way to gain extra coverage for your client alongside planned campaign activity. With a little prior planning (and some quick thinking!) you could get hundreds of extra media placements.

Sounds like something you’d like to see for your organisation? Get in touch with us here.

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