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By Dan Ahern

Just consider — breaking news is happening that directly impacts your industry, and is making headlines. For sure — media influencers are watching the story like hawks for the latest developments and scouring their Rolodexes for sources to trust for added outlooks and insights. Journalists are trained to report on breaking news by providing the story’s facts in real-time. Providing different perspectives is crucial to maintaining journalistic objectivity. Here is an opportunity to get your brand into the conversation, but how?

It’s time to “newsjack.”

Newsjacking, a term coined and popularized by marketing and PR strategist, David Meerman Scott, is the practice of inserting your ideas into the narrative of a breaking news story to promote your brand and its subject matter experts as leaders in your respective field. Between earned media and owned media, it’s a race to the finish line to make your brand’s voice heard.

Newsjacking has become a staple of the public relations industry. Crafting a response to a current event or breaking news story is an art, balancing eloquence and authenticity. Here are some tips to help your company newsjack effectively and efficiently.

DO Speak Authentically

Provide your outlook on a subject that is consistent with your brand and directly impacts your customer base to yield the best results for your brand’s long-term PR strategy and SEO. This is a chance to prove your expert understanding of a rapidly shifting industry landscape, while demonstrating that your company is responding to a current event or crisis with immediate action.

Do your homework to understand the facts of the story and what they mean for your business, your customers, and the industry’s future. Then, put yourself in a position to predict where the story will go next. Finally, get ahead of the news to establish trust with your audience.

DON’T Self-Promote

Journalists reporting on a breaking news story are looking for insight and what you’re witnessing as a leader on the front lines of the issue. They are not looking for an advertising angle touting why you’re better than your competitors at responding to the news and its industry impact.

Address what is happening, why it’s happening, and who it’s impacting. In certain situations, like a live interview, you can add context to answers by alluding to how your company has responded to the news. But it should NOT advertise your company…media are looking for news insights to guide their reporting, not promotional language. Injecting your ideas into a breaking news story, establish you as an expert in the space and, by extension, will promote your brand name.

DO Have a Sense of Urgency

Media influencers are hustling to enter the fray and report on breaking news stories, and competitors are racing to enter the conversation. Time is of the essence; know the facts, craft your response, and beat your competitors to the punch. The window to connect with your audience through newsjacking will close quickly.

DON’T Repeat the Facts

Reporters and journalists are looking for a unique, first-hand perspective from industry experts on breaking news stories. Whether that perspective is positive or negative, supporting or contradictory to existing sentiment, this is your prerogative. Do not repeat the facts of the story. Earned media is EARNED through original thinking.

From an owned media standpoint, a brief overview of the story and its facts are acceptable whether you’re writing a blog article, LinkedIn post, or otherwise. Still, the content should include a unique, thought-provoking outlook projecting industry impact and/or where the story will go next.

DO Establish an Approval Process

Moving newsjacking commentary up the flagpole for approval can take time, which presents a challenge pitted against impending reporter deadlines.

Similarly, providing insight on a breaking news story via owned media channels, will require timely movement and communication between your marketing team and executive leaders. Establish approval processes for these scenarios internally to newsjack proactively.

DON’T Overcomplicate It

In expressing your knowledge of the subject matter, it is important to be detailed and concise. Get your point across, but do not overcomplicate your insight with too much industry jargon or unnecessary details.

Newsworthy current events are guaranteed to inspire a wide variety of perspectives. However, long-winded or jargony ideas will drive journalists reporting the news as well as audiences absorbing the news, to rely on information elsewhere.