Newsjacking: When is it appropriate?

Many companies piggyback their news on current events, but in situations like Hurricane Sandy, when should they draw the line? A PR pro weighs in.

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Newsjacking is the (sometimes) clever, quick-response PR tactic of piggybacking on current events with an angle that benefits you or your client’s company.

The strategy is not new, but it has become increasingly popular over the last several years with the rise of Twitter, and brands’ constant struggle to stay relevant and timely. Today, news stories can be buried within minutes.

Marketing strategist David Meerman Scott’s definition of newsjacking is the “process by which you inject your ideas or angles into breaking news, in real time, in order to generate media coverage for yourself or your business.”

To appropriately execute newsjacking, you must stay abreast of breaking news stories, know your target audience, and, most important, use common sense. As a result, you can increase search rankings and exposure to new customers or clients.

If you fail to heed these rules, you will:

1. Fall on your face in a desperate attempt to promote a hardly-relevant spin on a topic.

2. Most likely anger a social community of very vocal citizens.

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, I felt the need to bring up the most sensitive and, more often than not, inappropriate newsjacking that occurs during a tragedy.

Take a look at this gem:

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