In this article, I introduced you to three ways to secure publicity and to the concept of newsjacking.

Here I’m going to talk in more detail about newsjacking and about how to increase your chances of being featured in the media when using this technique.

What is newsjacking?

‘Newsjacking’ is when you use a fresh angle on a current news story as a means of getting yourself into the press. It’s a great strategy for gaining free publicity.

If you see a news item break that applies in some way to you or your photography business, then this could be a potential opportunity for you to secure valuable exposure in the media.

Whether it’s a local or national story, if you can find a way of linking yourself or your work to the breaking news, you have a chance.

And, since even a small mention in the press can potentially expose you to an audience relevant to your business, this is definitely a strategy worth adding to your PR toolkit.

What can you add to the story?

Being successful at newsjacking relies on being able to add to the already-topical story.

You need to be thinking, “What can I add to the story or conversation around this news that would extend and enhance the existing story?”

So, when you hear of a news story that applies to you in some way, clarify in your mind what value you can offer a journalist who is covering that story.

  • Are you an expert on this topic?

Could you provide further information, an example or further clarity on an aspect of the article that was lacking in detail?

  • What opinion do you have about the subject?

Have you a counter-opinion to the one taken in the article? Or perhaps you wholeheartedly support the sentiment of the article and have a compelling reason why?

Perhaps you could share something that either illustrates the points made or that challenges them?

  • Have you had a personal experience that is relevant to the story?

Journalists love speaking to people who have interesting or unusual experiences. And some publications will even pay people who come forward and offer their story.

A common question I get asked is whether it’s worth trying to pursue a story that has relevance to your personal experience even if it doesn’t have any relevance to your business or work.

My answer to that is yes.

Personal experiences are worth sharing, even if they’re not at all related to your business. That’s because if you are quoted in the media, even if it’s on a subject completely unrelated to your work, they may even include a mention of your business name or occupation.

Newsjacking: How to increase your potential success

Being successful at newsjacking relies on you being on the ball and fast to act.

In order to do this, you need to have routines and systems in place within your business that help you to be aware of relevant stories as they break.

  1.  Keep on top of the news agenda

Quite literally, keep an eye on the news stories of the day.

  • I’d recommend that you check the news first thing in the morning and at regular periods throughout the day.

Perhaps have the news on a TV or second device that is visible from where you work (use the subtitles function if you don’t want the distraction of the sound), or the radio on in the background while you work.

National news publishers such as the BBC are my first port of call, along with selected local news media. You may also have industry-specific news media that you’d choose to follow.

  • Also check Twitter, which is a great (if not the greatest) online platform for breaking news.

Check both the newsfeed and the ‘trending topics’ section to see if anything related to your business is coming up.

Also, run a search by using a specific hashtag (e.g. #photography). This will bring up recent tweets that have included this hashtag. A quick scan of the content will enable you to identify if there is a news related story mentioned across multiple tweets.

  • Set up Google Alerts for keywords and phrases related to your business.

Google Alerts are completely free and easy to set up. You will receive an email when a specified search time is identified on the web.

Review the results to see if there is a breaking story that applies to your business.

2. Spot an opportunity? Then, act fast!

Then when you do spot an opportunity, react quickly and strike while the iron is hot!

Don’t delay in making an approach to the media. Yesterday’s news is old news.

You’ll need to get in touch with the journalist(s) or publication(s) you have in mind as soon as possible – whether by calling the newsdesk or sending an email or tweet – and clearly present the reasons why they should consider involving you.

3. But, prepare!

That said, do make your approach after you’ve carefully considered what exactly it is you are going to pitch.

Approach the media in haste and you may fluff your words or pitch something that you haven’t fully thought through.

Instead of rushing, take the time to practice your pitch out loud or write it out until you’ve got it just right before approaching a journalist – this needn’t take more than a minute.

Whether you plan to speak to them on the phone or approach them via email or Twitter, you’ll likely only get one shot at pitching to the media. A little practice may make the difference between success and failure.

4. Don’t be afraid to follow up

If the news story is only likely to be relevant that day, don’t be afraid to send a follow-up email, tweet or make another call a few hours later if you haven’t heard back.

If it’s less urgent than that, follow up in the next day or so to check that they received your pitch.

But don’t become a pest!

Journalists are often up against deadlines and overflowing inboxes. If you don’t hear back in a reasonably short time frame, chances are they don’t want to take up your offer.

Don’t take it personally. Perhaps consider reaching out to another publication which is also running the story.

Have you ever had success with newsjacking?

Keeping on top of the news is potentially the difference between getting coverage for your business and not. So, my advice is to implement the tips I have shared above and use your knowledge of what’s topical today to your advantage.

Let me know in the comments, have you ever used newsjacking to secure media publicity for your photography business?

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Related reading: How to secure multiple publicity opportunities for your photography business