How to participate in the news
With the right tools, outlook, and preparedness, you can cut through the usual day-to-day chatter and elevate your business.
- Keep a lookout. Twitter is one of the best social media tools to keep up with breaking news. Using its algorithm that highlights trends, you can see stories that are getting traction in your area and more widely. Google Trends and Google Alerts also show you which newsworthy happenings are getting attention online.
- Plan what you can. Although much of the news revolves around unexpected incidents, you can plan ahead of time to use many cultural moments in your PR strategy, like major awards ceremonies, sporting events, or elections. If the outcome of the event won’t be known until a later time, you can prepare content for multiple possibilities and post what proves relevant.
- Move quickly. Reacting fast, and ideally first, to an event will increase your chances of getting press coverage in relation to the story. But even if you’re not first, giving a clever, creative spin on the news can still set you apart.
- Use good taste. Respond to news and cultural moments tastefully. You don’t want to seem opportunistic or insensitive. Join the conversations in which you have something authentic to say, and don’t exploit someone’s misfortune just to get attention.
- Respond in-depth. Some newsjacking opportunities might call for a longer response than a post on social media or a quote for publication. If you have something to say that doesn’t fit in a caption or tweet, try writing a blog post, newsletter, or guest post. Then, of course, share it on your social channels.
- Contact journalists directly. If you have expertise related to a breaking story (or an event you know will be written about), try contacting journalists who cover those stories to let them know what knowledge you can contribute.
- Practice, practice, practice. The more you search for opportunities to respond to the news and observe other businesses do the same, the more ideas you’ll generate. Even if it doesn’t generate success in terms of exposure or engagement at first, the more you join in, the more likely it helps you get seen someday.
- Be original. Keep your response to the news unique to your business and your audience—don’t replicate something you saw from someone else. Not every audience will care about celebrity culture, sports, or politics, so create the content your audience wants.
Newsjacking can pay major dividends for your small business. It can help you grow your audience, position yourself as an industry thought leader, and boost your web engagement. The best part? It doesn’t have to cost a thing.
Written by Lucy Werner for Mailchimp. Lucy is an expert in PR for small businesses.