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Smart communicators know the value of earned advertising – free media publicity – and they’re successful in obtaining it.

They leverage certain principles to get top-of-mind awareness of their content marketing.

One method is newsjacking – the art and science of obtaining mountains of free media coverage and social-media spin by getting your content injected into late-breaking news stories.

This is true based on my 2 decades+ as a broadcast journalist for local and national media operations, and 2+ decades as a consultant obtaining news coverage for my clients.

Here’s how to successfully newsjack:

1. Strive for friendly relationships

One of the first things I learned was that trusted PR agents have an open door with the media.

They effectively get in the door to talk with journalists.

They also initiate communication, and submit their contact information including social-media accounts in advance of breaking stories.

2. Know two target audiences

Determine whom you’re trying to reach and why – both in the media and the journalists’ core audience.

Understand what will pique their attention. Know what interests them.

Learn what they surf on the Internet. Ascertain how both journalists and consumers consume their information.

3. Diligently monitor the news

It’s hard work, but stay up-to-the-second on the latest news. Constantly check news sites, RSS feeds and social-media networks.

Start by setting up Google Alerts for key phrases, keywords including names for your industry and company.

Be sure to monitor social media to understand what’s said, what isn’t.

4. Work quickly

Act immediately. People on social media and journalists at media operations are obsessed about time.

For their breaking news coverage they’re more likely to consider good content if you make it available right away.

5. Be a thought leader

In commenting on a story, be well-versed in how the news story affects your sector. Be bold with your opinion.

For a great response to your efforts, remember the acronym, WIIFM — what’s in it for me. Adequately explain your points.

Be accurate, but do not be so controversial that you invite a lawsuit.

To achieve top-of-mind awareness, consider the potential of e-newsletters as part of your marketing mix.

6. Answer questions

Journalists will depend on you for informed, and possibly comprehensive answers. Try to anticipate their questions.

But keep your sentences simple and short. Typically, reporters speak and write for consumers’ ears at the 6th-grade level.

7. Consistently blog

To attract the eyes of social media aficionados and journalists, companies of all sizes by blog and promote their content on social media. If you haven’t already, add a blog section to your site.

You’re also more likely to make sales. If a media site publishes your domain name, you’ll grow beyond your expectations.

It helps to be trustworthy and to be a great storyteller. The best blogs share nine common traits in content.

8. Be selective on hashtags

Don’t overload Twitter with extraneous hashtags.

So when you create a good graphic or meme related to a news story and circulate them to your followers,  make sure they have relevant and timely hashtags.

9. Stay focused

Don’t comment on everything unless it’s meaningful to your brand and industry. Otherwise, you risk looking cheesy.

10. KISS

When commenting, keep it simple and understandable with relevant keywords. If blogging, link to the news story.

11. Avoid death, religion and politics

Only comment on stories that are truly relevant to your company or sector.

12. Repurpose

Newsjacking can also be effective with evergreen blogging topics. It doesn’t always have to be on current events.

For example, several years after the BP Oil Spill, a piece published on this site and periodically updated remains among the top 10 most-popular month after month (BP Crisis Management, PR Misfires — a Case Study).

From the Coach’s Corner, related tips:

How to Leverage the News Media to Brand Your Web Site — Social media is OK for promotion. But if you need blockbuster publicity, use best practices in marketing.

Maximize Your ROI from Your Next Event with Social Media — Will you maximize the return on investment in your next event? Whether you’re a nonprofit or business, great social media strategy will promote your event and your brand. In addition, even after your event it’s possible to enhance your return from social-media investment.

How to Attract Fans with Your Blogging, Social Media and PR — Businesspeople have discovered social media is a work in progress. It takes huge amounts of time, not only to implement innovations, but to succeed.

For a Bounce in Revenue, Try Strategic Press Releases — Ever wonder why some companies are always in the news or how they succeed on the Internet? It’s a good bet they have a good PR consultant or have mastered the art of writing press releases. You, too, can level the playing field with effective press releases.

“If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.”

-Milton Berle


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.