News, views and you. How newsjacking can help to shape your brand’s own Happily Ever After

In today’s media cycle, where news comes hard and fast, evolving 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the potential for newsjacking has never been stronger. But to take advantage of it, you must first understand what it is, when to act, what to say and the situations to avoid. 

As the name suggests, ‘newsjacking’ is the process of hijacking the news cycle by hitching your wagon – so to speak – to breaking and evolving stories with complementary angles and information. It’s a strategy that creates a win-win situation. 

For media, it’s a chance to cater to their audience’s voracious appetite for constant coverage and breaking news, something that requires fresh angles and varied perspectives. 

For brands and businesses, meanwhile, it’s an avenue for thought leadership and profile building in an environment that offers readymade credibility.  

So let’s step through an example of how to newsjack a story.

BACKGROUND:  
A new survey reveals 30 per cent of men secretly love to read romance novels.  

CHALLENGE: 
How do you tap into such a colourful water-cooler conversation in a way that matches its tone and feel while advancing your own brand and profile?

Here are five ideas, depending on what business, service or cause you’re looking to promote: 

  1. If you own a bookstore: Come out and say the opposite – that you’d be lucky to get two men through the doors in a month and you have no idea where the 30 per cent lives OR go a step further and say not only do they come, but they always gravitate to the same book and why.
  2. If you’re a female romance writer: Talk about how you agree/disagree with this figure, based on the percentage of male fans you have in your mailbox, at your author talks and engaging with you on social media.
  3. If you’re a male romance writer: Tell your story and speak to the broader theme about why men are embracing the genre more and more, including how you got started – first as a reader and then as a writer.
  4. If you’re an advocate for targeting outdated gender stereotypes: Enthuse about how it’s time to smash the stereotypes and judgement of romance readers generally, both men and women. After all, their plots and characters are beautifully fleshed out and well written, Plus, what’s wrong with a happily ever after?
  5. If you’re a librarian: Add to the debate by throwing in some stats about an equally ‘unexpected’ (and we use that term loosely) figure for women. For example, 60 per cent of people who borrow Chuck Norris’s Guide to Being Manly (we totally made that title up) are actually women. You can also work in trends about reading generally and what’s going on at libraries. 

 

As you can see, every one of these ideas keeps the conversation going by taking it in a new direction, while also serving as good promotion and thought leadership. After all, if you’re a librarian looking to engage with people who mightn’t realise how great modern libraries are, what better way to tell them? 

Of course, that’s an example of positive newsjacking. There’s also the negative variety, an area in which you must tread sensitively.  

For example, if there’s been an extreme weather event that has revealed many people in your city are underinsured, you don’t want to start spruiking your own brand of insurance – that just tells people you’re totally not reading the room. However, offering education around insurance and how to move forward in dealing with issues like repair delays would probably be welcome. In short, be informative or helpful, not opportunistic.  

Then it comes down to timing. To newsjack well, you must be fast. You must be part of the conversation while it’s happening – not six months down the track after 600 people have approved a single media release or radio appearance.  

It’s about staying alert and aware to opportunities. And having conversations with your media and communications professional to determine how you turn them from opportunity to success.  

Want to hitch your wagon to a timely, engaging issue? Bespoken’s media and communications specialists are all former journalists, with the know-how to help you be seen, be heard and be bold

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