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Five things... to consider about newsjacking

By Jana Cave-Ayland:

Newsjacking is the art of using a breaking news story to boost your brand’s message. It’s like catching a wave while surfing. Get it right and you ride the crest of public interest. Miss it and you’re left struggling to stay above water.

You’ve probably seen it on social media. Brands jumping on the latest trends, controversies or viral moments. Whether it’s a witty tweet from a fast-food chain about a rival’s blunder or a tech company weighing in on a trending topic, newsjacking is everywhere. It’s a clever way to grab attention and stay front of mind in a fast-paced digital world.

But newsjacking isn’t just for flashy consumer brands. In the B2B PR landscape, it might be less about viral tweets and more about strategic commentary, but the principle remains the same. For B2B companies, newsjacking can position you as an industry leader, improve your visibility and demonstrate your expertise. The key is to be timely and offer insightful perspectives that resonate with your target audience.

Here are five things to help your newsjacking efforts hit the mark.


1. Timing is everything

Newsjacking is all about speed. The window for taking advantage of a news story is narrow, so you must be quick off the mark. Aim to respond within the first few hours of the story breaking – the faster, the better. A well-timed comment or insight can position your brand as a relevant and timely expert. Remember, if you snooze, you lose. The story will move on, and so will the audience’s interest.

The face of a clock

2. Say something new

Originality is just as important as speed. Journalists are inundated with comments and insights once a story breaks. So, make sure your input brings a fresh perspective or a unique angle. Whether it’s an unexpected opinion, a surprising statistic or a contrarian view, always aim to add value to the conversation and not just echo what’s already been said.

3. Know your audience

Tailoring your message to the right audience is just as important as the message itself. Understand the interests and needs of the journalists you’re targeting. Are they looking for expert analysis, consumer reactions or industry implications? Match your response to their needs and the chances of your input being picked up and shared will soar.


4. Back it up with expertise

Substantiating your comments with genuine expertise and data will help you get noticed. Where relevant, back up your statements with data or real-world examples. Clear and simple language is crucial, as journalists won’t have time to unpick metaphors and jargon. Making your comment short, straightforward and compelling will make you sound more credible. Journalists appreciate well-informed sources who can offer depth and insight.

5. Be prepared

Preparation is the secret sauce of successful newsjacking. Develop a bank of pre-approved comments on potential news topics within your industry. This allows you to respond quickly without getting bogged down in approval processes. Having a well-oiled system in place lets you tweak and submit your comments quickly, so you’re always ready to jump on a breaking story.

One final note...

Newsjacking can be a powerful tool in your PR arsenal, but it demands agility, originality and preparation. To make an impact, offer something truly valuable and insightful. But remember, most comments don’t make it through to the final article.

Think of newsjacking as more than just a quick win. Providing unique and thoughtful contributions lays the foundation for long-term credibility and strong relationships with key media outlets. Even if your comment doesn’t get immediate media coverage, it’s still time well spent refining your brand’s messaging and opening doors to future opportunities.


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