The media. Two simple words that can spark a dodecahedron like debate. Impressive reference to a polyhedron with twelve flat faces, no? Basically what I mean is every man, woman, child and budgie has their own opinion on the media. Some stand up for the good, others condemn the bad and there are those who’ll scrap over the ugly.
So why then do organisations want to be at the centre of this opinion-stricken battleground? Don’t worry, this isn’t going to be some big PR 101 lesson, but have you ever considered exactly how the media influence our decisions? Television, radio, the Internet, cinema and advertising is something we’re all exposed to for long periods of time – on a daily basis!
Whether we’re talking about the good, the bad or the ugly debater, if they were to wake up in the morning and all media had vanished (whether they’d admit it or not) they’d be pretty lost, because we expect it to be present. This means the people controlling these things have access to billions of people. And those being written or talked about can quickly and easily get their messages out to the masses.
So how do we go about getting our client’s message out there? There are an infinite number of ways to do this. It’s all about understanding your client, its audience and the media. And then being a little creative.
One method we use to get clients into the day’s news agenda is:
Step 1: Scavenge through the morning’s news
Step 2: Pounce on a breaking news story that’s relevant to our client
Step 3: Enter the ‘newsjack’
Newsjacking’s a term used in the world of PR to describe how we can jump on the back of a breaking news story and generate media coverage for our clients.
Please return your seatbacks to their full upright position – here’s the basic overview of a newsjack:
A news story breaks, for example on the BBC or in the Financial Times. When this happens, journalists are instantly under pressure to update that story for the next edition or broadcast programme. They then want to create a more in-depth, comprehensive piece, so while the crux of the story doesn’t change significantly, journalists are keen to report additional details, gain further insights and include relevant expert comments. This is where our chance to ‘hijack’ the story with additional comment or insight comes in. If we prepare something relevant to the story which will add value in a quick and accurate fashion, then we can secure interest.
Just recently, I came across a story on the BBC in which Sir James Dyson called on the government to do more to boost the UK technology industry, warning of a shortfall of engineer graduates. He said that “the glamour of web fads and video gaming” was being put ahead of “tangible technology that we can export” and warned there would be a deficit of 60,000 engineering graduates this year.
This aligned perfectly with the messaging of my client and gave them an ideal opportunity to have their say on the subject. Securing thirteen pieces of coverage across national, trade and vertical press concluded in a happy client at the forefront of the news agenda. You’ve got to be quick and it may feel as though you’re working in a cross-fire hurricane but if you newsjack the right story then the results will be worth it!