Staying Relevant by Newsjacking Current Events and Trends in Your Field or Genre

Pluto has all eyes at its bright heart surface right now. I bet you’ve seen its close-up portrait ruling the web and as smitten as everyone else. Now, this new feat is a newsjacker’s gold mine when done right. How?

Let’s say you’ve witnessed NASA’s first New Horizon’s update. As a creative strategist, you thought of a way to blend your views, product, or book into this headline before it went viral. The next thing you know, you are being quoted by news sites as their second paragraph, all because what you posted was quick and relevant. In a single post, you became an overnight sensation – that’s who you want to be.

Learn more from the father of newsjacking himself, David Meerman Scott together with seven other experts below.


Newsjacking creates a level playing field —- literally anyone can newsjack —- but, that new level favors players who are observant, quick to react, and skilled at communicating. - D. M. Scott

David Meerman Scott Marketing and sales strategist

The traditional PR model — sticking closely to a preset script and campaign timeline — no longer works the way it used to. Public discourse now moves so fast and so dynamically that all it takes is a single afternoon to blast the wheels off someone’s laboriously crafted narrative.

Enter newsjacking: 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.

If you are clever enough to react to breaking news very quickly, providing credible second-paragraph content in a blog post, tweet, or media alert that features the keyword of the moment, you may be rewarded with a bonanza of media attention.

It’s a powerful tool that can be used to throw an opponent or simply draft off the news momentum to further your own ends.

David Meerman Scott

It’s also called ‘riding the news wave’ because the technique is mostly exploited by bloggers to sell ebooks, whitepapers and to promote their goods and services. - J. Souza

John Souza Founder of Social Media Marketing University

Pillar #1: Just The Headline Story – When you want to be first. Monitor the newswires, Twitter and burgeoning news sites.

Pillar #2: The Few Hours Later Review – When you need time-sensitive content with an angle. Monitor the newswires, then add in your own special ‘pizzazz or formula.’

Pillar #3: The Quick and Dirty Analysis – When the first reporting wave has crashed, but there is still some debate to be had about it. Monitor the newswires, but pay attention to the debates and opinions out there.

Pillar #4: The Incredibly Complex Story – This works best for news that lingers or has a long lifespan. If you see it resurfacing again and again, it’s worth it.

John Souza


If you’re prepared to jump on the opportunities and do it tastefully and with respect and desire to engage and inform, it can only be good for your business. - D. Wakeman

Denise Wakeman Founder of Marketing Trailblazers

Write a blog post about the dispute. Send an email to your fans. Use the social networks! Create a video for YouTube. Do a Hangout on Air to answer questions from your readers. Use Pinterest and Instagram. Use Twitter to keep fans up to date. Discover what hashtag is being used. Set up news alerts on Google or Feedly.

Denise Wakeman

Newsjacking doesn’t have to be about real time, we don’t have to capture breaking news.

Content creators had time to plan the posts they would share. For me this is where Newsjacking differs from Real Time Marketing. Time and planning will always surface better and more relevant content than off the cuff marketing. - A. Webb

Amanda Webb Small business blogger and digital marketing trainer

Be tasteful – It’s not always right to post tributes when someone dies or in response to a tragedy. At the time we might feel that we are sharing a gesture but to outsiders it can look like cynical marketing. Unless the tragedy effects your customers directly or is in some way related to your business stay away.

Be on time – There’s no point posting about a news story or event days after it has happened. Make sure you post your content when it’s most relevant.

Be different – Putting your own twist on a story is what newsjacking is all about.

Be relevant – When you put that twist on your content make sure it has relevance to you, your business or your customer. This will help cement what you do in the minds of your audience.

Amanda Webb


Tie your book, product or service to a holiday and you can exponentially increase your chances for free publicity from print and broadcast outlets. - J. Stewart

Joan Stewart Publicity expert

If you have a book that doesn’t lend itself well to an entire series, consider catching the media’s attention by pitching story ideas about the book that tie into specific holidays.

If you have written a biography, ask yourself if you can tie the book to an historical anniversary. If you can add significant historical perspective or anecdotes, the media might consider you as a valuable source. So let the media know which topics you can speak on as an expert.

Finally, remember that many major magazines assign stories six months ahead of the publication date. Give yourself plenty of time to pitch.

Joan Stewart

Avoid using newsjacking as a crutch.

Warm ’em up. Do your homework first and get to know your audience before you start throwing out newsjacking content to them. If you don’t, how will you know what they consider to be “news?” - J. Kane

Jennifer Kane Author, consultant, and strategist

Determine if the opportunity is appropriate. Before you newsjack, ask yourself; does it make sense for our brand to connect itself to this particular piece of news? What is the relevance and what are we hoping the payoff will be?

Put some effort into it. Like everything related to content creation, there is an art to pulling off a newsjack. Simply adding a trending hashtag to your content isn’t going to cut it.

Hustle, baby! If you’re going to newsjack, a quick turnaround is key (and the top reason why so many brands fail at this.) It doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t have to be fancy. But it does need to be fast.

Jennifer Kane


Ride the coat tails.

If you didn’t already know, 50 Shades started out as Twilight fan-fiction. The author E L James used Twilight’s main characters and put her own twist on their relationship (before editing said references out to avoid copyright infringement when the book was published). The huge success of the Twilight series acted as a springboard for James’s work. - B. Cooper

Belle Beth Cooper Co-founder of Hello Code

Once the Twilight book series was complete, fans had nowhere to turn for more literary adventures with Bella and Edward, except to re-read the novels. Their hunger for more of these characters provided an immediate reason to start reading an unknown piece by a new author.

Eventually the book sales went far beyond this group, but as a starting point the connection to Twilight was a way to hook readers.

Belle Beth Cooper

Most importantly Newsjacking can help you generate the high quality links that Google loves.

There is a symbiotic relationship between news media and the growing internet population. Both parties continuously raise the bar for instantaneous modes of communication and commerce. The pressure from the consumers is on, but those on the other end have adopted, becoming just as responsive and dynamic. - C. Dyson

Chris Dyson Affiliate marketer and SEO consultant

This exponential trend has kept online marketers and PR specialists on their toes, crouched and ready to spring at the next chance for the media spotlight to gain exposure to those consumers. The fluctuating nature of media and consumerism has revitalised the traditional methods that once made media coverage possible. Resultantly, the blueprint for online PR has evolved into what is known as newsjacking.

When you position yourself right, and properly implement a real-time PR strategy, you could be looking at a formula for overnight success. Now isn’t that just music to your ears?

Chris Dyson

Any fresh newsjacking tactics in mind? Let us know in the comments section below. 

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