David Meerman Scott has the ability to tap the corporate communications Zeitgeist and does so again with this new book, which has the somewhat long full title ‘Newsjacking: How to Inject Your Ideas into a Breaking News Story and Generate Tons of Media Coverage’.
I saw Meerman Scott at a seminar in Sydney in March of this year, and he did the same thing there, bringing together various strands of how our professional lives are changing, and capturing these strands in a way that makes some sense.
At the time, he suggested that the era of the media release was arguably coming to an end, along with what he called the act of begging journalists to pay attention to something we might have to say or offer.
I thought that was an interesting observation, and wondered how he would square it away with his theme in this new book. Newsjacking something that’s just happened is a concept that inherently involves catching the eye of media editors.
But he does so fairly successfully.
Newsjacking might not be a new concept to some. But its relevance and impact increase with the Internet. Being able to react within minutes (he suggests an hour is about as long as you have to newsjack) and having search engines pick up the themes on your behalf are at the centre of newsjacking
Nor is newsjacking the preserve of smaller companies or of those new to public relations and generating publicity.
Large organisations can play. He posits that large companies now need to think how to engage in newsjacking and how to react to newsjacking, and how to create internal processes that can accommodate doing so without causing legal or other problems.
Meerman Scott outlines how media releases, blogs, and even direct communication can all play their part in newsjacking. As he puts it, the newsjacker seeks to own the second paragraph.
And of special note is his chapter on taking care. Just when you think that a free-for-all is the only possible result of newsjacking, he reminds you that you do need nerve, permission and the authority to act, clear messages, and the will to act quickly.
He makes it clear that you should not newsjack if you’re not up for it.
Newsjacking is different from spoiling a competitor’s story, and it’s not an exercise in being crass.
It is a legitimate tactic for those prepared to make it work.
It plays to today’s environment, to how journalists now work, and the way we all operate in an interconnected reality.
And it only works when there is a real connection, however thin, between the original news piece and your newsjack. The example he gives in his book links actress Kate Winslett, the London Fire Brigade and the fire at Richard Branson’s island mansion earlier this year.
The book is available as an e-book only, via Amazon, for US$7.99. It’s a short book and a quick read. If you think you’ve newsjacked before, refresh your memory. If you haven’t, here’s how to start. Take a look.