Newsjacking: When Is It Appropriate?




In this day of non-stop breaking news, opportunities to newsjack – capitalizing on current events or news stories to promote your company or product – arise daily.


But, just because you can newsjack, should you?


Joining the conversation around a major news story can be an effective way to get your name into the press and to build your reputation as a thought leader. But, if your effort to newsjack isn’t executed properly, you can do real harm to your reputation.


Before you start a newsjacking effort, read through the guidelines below. These guidelines – combined with your best judgement – are intended to help you determine whether or not a certain news moment is the right opportunity for you to connect with key reporters.


Don’t capitalize on tragedies.


If the breaking news event you’re looking at is a tragedy, stop. Don’t do anything. A tragedy is not the time to promote yourself or your company.


Do you have a connection to the news story?


If the big news story of the day isn’t a tragedy, then move along to this next consideration: why are you in a position to comment? Why should a reporter want to include you in their coverage?


Merely having an opinion about a news story isn’t enough to qualify you as an expert worthy of a media interview. To newsjack effectively, you must have a reasonable connection to the news story. Such a connection might be something as simple as the fact that you work in an industry that will be impacted notably by the news that has just broken.


Can you add value to the conversation?


Do you have something meaningful to add to the conversation around a news story? Do you have a unique point of view or perspective? Will sharing your comments with the media bring value to others, and to yourself?


Before you decide to introduce yourself into the media coverage of a particular news story, make sure you’re in a position to contribute meaningful and valuable commentary. A thoughtful, insightful comment on major news can help build your reputation as a thought leader.


Look at your schedule


Before you reach out to any reporters, check your schedule. If one of your media contacts bites and wants to set up an interview, will you be available to speak with them on short notice? Breaking news happens fast, and reporters will want to get their stories together quickly.


Note: If your newsjacking effort is tied to an ongoing story as opposed to immediate, breaking news, this consideration might be less relevant.


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Always use your best judgement when attempting to newsjack. If it doesn’t feel like the right opportunity, or if it seems like you’re forcing a connection in some way, just hold off. The news moves quickly enough these days that another – better – chance to join a breaking news conversation is likely right around the corner.