Newsjacking Amid a Pandemic

by | Sep 11, 2020 | Media Strategy

Over the last few months, the idea of getting your message across the stormy sea of COVID-19 news updates has been daunting, but we have some guidance to address your frustrations: Ride the wave.

OK, enough with the metaphor. The best way to make the news when there’s too much of it is to join the conversation. One of our favorite ways to ensure that the right people learn about our clients at the right time is through a strategy called “newsjacking.”

Newsjacking is the art of infusing a brand’s message or initiative into breaking news or pop culture stories. Timing is everything in the eyes of the media, and being able to talk about what’s going on right now and how your business is involved or has expertise to share is key to newsjacking success. Current events happen in real time and can affect large groups of people, meaning reporters are interested in credible input from a variety of sources. COVID-19 has affected nearly everyone in every industry in one way or another, which has created a number of opportunities for experts to comment and advise on how it is affecting their business in their industry. That’s where you come in. 

Benefits to Newsjacking

Newsjacking is beneficial for PR and social media efforts and has the power to shine a spotlight on a business or brand amidst heavy or viral news cycles. The top benefits include:

  • Attention. Since newsjacking is based on breaking news and hot topics, people are already looking for stories related to the trending topic. If you have valuable insights or data to share, being included in a relevant story can generate a lot of attention, especially if you are featured in the headline of a breaking news story.
  • Timely and Relevant. While a content calendar and evergreen topics are great, newsjacking can highlight your relevance at the moment. By plugging into current events, you can gain some attention to your brand while the audience’s attention is already on the topic of interest.
  • Thought Leadership. When your target audience sees your name and insights alongside a current event, especially if it adds new or interesting context, they will see you as a thought leader in your industry. Appearing in articles about current events alongside other media coverage generates authority for you and your business and trust among your audience. It can also be great for positive word of mouth for new leads and increased sales.

Who Should Utilize Newsjacking?

Every brand! Newsjacking isn’t specific to any type of business or industry, and anyone can use this tactic to elevate their media outreach efforts. Additionally, newsjacking doesn’t just coincide with news media stories, it can also pertain to current social media trends.

Pattern89 provides AI technology to customers to predict how well their social media ad campaigns will perform. As the pandemic escalated in the U.S., Pattern89 analyzed how digital advertising trends were changing on Facebook and Instagram. They found that images depicting cleaning or washing were up 600%, while pictures showing crowds were down 54%. Our team used these stats to connect with reporters writing about social media and advertising during the pandemic, and secured coverage in publications including The New York Times, Business Insider and Adweek.

How Dittoe PR Can Help

At Dittoe PR, we pride ourselves on our ability to secure coverage for our clients in top-tier publications like we did with Pattern89 by proactively brainstorming new story ideas. Newsjacking is just one part of this. The pandemic has been a devastating experience for many, and we watched the current events unfold with trepidation. We also continued to communicate with our clients on how they were operating through the pandemic, which led to ideas that the media would be interested in from various experts. 

For example, in early March, higher education institutions were forced to make an urgent pivot to digital learning, affecting more than 14 million college students. As the media scrambled to push out the news about colleges and universities nationwide, we immediately saw a newsjacking opportunity for Beloit College, a small liberal arts college in Wisconsin, to share how they were navigating the pandemic.  As COVID-19 spread, Beloit began developing a ground-breaking plan for when students could return to campus with new safety guidelines. We were able to share that Beloit was one of the first colleges to develop an innovative module implementation and generated local, trade and national coverage including Forbes, USA Today, Yahoo Finance, CNBC and more!

Successful newsjacking is a blend of awareness, finesse, and great timing, which can lead to numerous pieces of coverage, brand visibility and engagements. Don’t be afraid to dive into the momentum and see where the current takes you 🌊 

Think your company or brand could benefit from newsjacking and other proactive media relations? Contact us to learn more!

Dittoe PR

Dittoe PR is a nationally recognized public relations and social media management agency.

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