5 Rules of Newsjacking in PR

Sabine Raabe
3 min readAug 1, 2022

As a tactic newsjacking is simply the name given to the activity undertaken by PRs whereby we monitor the external news agenda to spot coverage opportunities and inject our own angle into a news story. Otherwise known as riding the media wave. A successful newsjack will see a brand mentioned in a topical newsworthy article directed at their target audience.

Newsjacking is a great way to put your organisation into a relevant and current media context. It’s about being quick on your feet and responding immediately to an event, news, trend or customer behaviour.

The goal with newsjacking is to get the take on a breaking news story in front of journalists and relevant target audiences at the time they are looking for additional information. Messages can be made to stand out by using blogs, media alerts and social media. There are three broad areas to find stories for newsjacking opportunities: things one already knows, things one didn’t think to ask in the wider context of a breaking national or global news story, and widely known current events anticipated in the immediate future.

Newsjacking allows clients to be responsive and involved in industry debate. It works across traditional and digital media, and with many newspapers and publications now running ‘as it happens’ coverage of breaking business developments, there are more opportunities than ever to get your point of view across. Done right, it’s a technique that can transform a brand’s profile in the marketplace.

The most important rules for successful newsjacking in PR are:

Be Quick

The relevance of a news story comes to an end just as quickly as it rises. For your company to reap the benefits of newsjacking, you must constantly be ready to jump in when a story breaks. Timing is crucial when you ride the media wave. Track keyword alerts, hashtags and specific publications for relevant news stories.

Be Ethical

Not that it needs to be said, but never newsjack tragic events such as environmental catastrophes or the pandemic. As PRs we need to be cautious when newsjacking stories reported by others. Commenting on fake news could be as hurtful to a brand as being the subject of the original fake story.

Fresh Perspective

Differentiate yourself and present something unique, different and fresh which is of interest to your audiences. If possible, inject something humorous and light-hearted too.

Leverage Social Media

When organisations learn how to effectively navigate social communities like Twitter, newsjacking can help you resonate with your audience. Forget the usual self-promotional content. Think of something that shows your personality, insight and social responsibility to the world. Share the newsjacked story amongst social influencers who could help you to get the word out in their extensive networks.

Be Relevant

Understand who you are talking to. Take the time to research your audience to better understand what types of content they’re looking for and where they are looking for it. Consider how you think your audience might want to consume news from you.

The result of aligning your brand’s ideas with breaking news could demonstrate compelling and positive results by elevating your company and gaining awareness. While newsjacking can be hugely successful, it has become a form of brand marketing and is just one of many tactics PR professionals deploy as part of an overall communications strategy.

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Sabine Raabe

I help leaders craft their stories to #communicate and connect better. Think thought leadership, professional branding and reputation management.