Newsjacking: Be the second paragraph

PR and marketing pros know one of the ways to get free PR or earned media is to piggy back on an existing national story and make your own news. Now there is a word for it. Newsjacking.

David Meerman Scott coined the term in his new book Newsjacking: How to inject your ideas into a breaking news story.

Here’s how it works: There’s a breaking national story that you can make local or is relevant to your organization. Newsjacking incorporates the real time component, essential in today’s communication plans.

In Scott’s interview on the Marketing Over Coffee podcast he explains how newsjacking works. Journalists are reporting on a breaking news story, so they hunt for that “second paragraph.” What can they add to their story to make it different?

For example, remember last year the story about the Chilean miners who were trapped underground for 69 days? Oakley (the sunglass manufacturer) provided sunglasses for each miner to wear as they were rescued. It cost them next to nothing, but it’s estimated they received $41 million worth of free media because of that simple gesture.

Finding a unique angle to the story is the easy part. News moves in real time now, and the trick is to move fast. And that’s tough. Some organizations have to clear it with their legal department. Some don’t know how to look for the newsjacking stories. And some just don’t have the time.

A recent example of newsjacking is the media some credit unions earned around rising bank fees news and the resulting Bank Transfer Day on November 5. Credit unions injected themselves into the rising bank fee articles, reminding consumers that credit unions are not-for-profit financial alternatives to for-profit banks.

What’s the first step to find that news story? Monitoring breaking news. Set up Google alerts, monitor Facebook and Twitter, act quickly and distribute your news. Call your media contacts, post the information on your website, and post to your social networks.

An hour of leg work now, can really pay off later.

What’s your second paragraph story?

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