How News jacking Can Benefit Your Business

An integral part of my role as an Account Manager in the PR and communications industry is to ensure I have my finger on the pulse of breaking news across multiple subject matters – that is, knowing who is talking about what and when, finding out why this is a hot topic and, most importantly, seeing if we can capitalise on this for a client.

In layman’s terms, if there is an opportunity to leverage your client and increase their chances of appearing in the media, then there’s an opportunity to ‘newsjack.’

To further explain this, I’ve shared the ins and outs of newsjacking below, as well as offering some insights into how this PR tactic could benefit your business in the future.

What is it?

From a PR perspective, newsjacking is all about taking advantage of an existing media opportunity and inserting your client’s brand, ideas or angles into breaking news. If you can respond to news quickly, accurately and with credibility, you assist your client in securing media coverage by being part of public conversation.

Why do we do it?

We newsjack so our client’s name can be thrown into the mix of breaking news as a credible source, offering valuable insight to the story. Establishing a client as a reliable source earns publicity but, perhaps more importantly, helps build their reputation in their industry.

Where did it all begin?

An American marketing expert, David Meerman Scott, penned the term newsjacking back in 2011. Today, journalists face the challenge of keeping up with the demand of a 24-hour news cycle. While the who, what, when and where are often easy to find, what journalists really need is the why. This is where we spring into action with clients and work to add value to the journalist’s narrative, without diverting from the issue at hand.

The do’s of newsjacking

  • Stay informed – in order to get the best results, you must act promptly and know what it is that you want to newsjack. Setting up instant Google news alerts relating to your industry and always being on the lookout for stories in these spaces are great ways to keep up-to-date with everything that is happening in the ever-changing media landscape.
  • Be quick – big news breaks fast and when this happens, journalists are desperate for any analysis or insight they can include in their stories. For your client to earn media coverage, make sure you’re the first to respond thoughtfully and accurately. If media last covered the topic more than a week ago, it will most likely be considered as ‘old news’.
  • Remain critical – make sure you’ve carefully thought about how your client will join in on the discussion. How does your opinion or insight position the client? Does having an opinion open your client up to media scrutiny? When you have agreed on what stance you will take, be prepared to stick to it.

 The don’ts of newsjacking

  • Don’t be afraid to recycle information from old content and re-frame it around new stories. This can be one of the easiest ways to be the first brand to make it into a news story.
  • Don’t use your client if they aren’t suitable for the story. Only join discussions on topics that your client knows about and wants associated with their brand. It can be a real time-waster and reflect on you badly if they aren’t competent or simply don’t want to align with the story.
  • Don’t pursue social media newsjacking unless you are sure there will be no ramifications. Making a meme, pun or image relating to a news story is a dangerous newsjacking tactic. In my opinion, avoid it at all costs unless you are certain the content won’t cause offence and can’t be taken out of context.
  • Don’t pitch a client in without their permission or if they are unavailable. Newsjacking needs to happen fast, so there is no point in responding to a story, unless you can follow through in delivering value on your end.

Need some help or want more information on newsjacking or any other PR tactics? Get in touch.


Blog post by Gabrielle Quinn, an Account Manager at P4 Group