Is Twitter the Ultimate Newsjacking Tool?

By Jeff Cheatham, Senior Account Manager at TrizCom PR

If you’re like most PR professionals, you have your own Twitter account. Presumably, if for no other reason, to tweet out your most recent media wins to your distant aunt and uncle. But Twitter also has the potential to become a powerful weapon in your arsenal when it comes to keeping up with trending news on behalf of your clients. If done correctly, Twitter can be your ultimate newsjacking tool.

Newsjacking!

Newsjacking. Like carjacking, but different.

Newsjacking. Like carjacking, but different.

Newsjacking? Yes, it’s now a thing, and it was born right out of the 24/7/365 news cycle. What it amounts to is injecting your client and message into a breaking news story, gaining a foothold in the voice and commentary of a developing story.

While you may still spend copious amounts of time polishing a quarterly PR action plan to execute on behalf of your clients, newsjacking offers you the ability to strike fast, strike hard, and rack up worthwhile media wins, often on a weekly basis.

According to one of the foremost experts on newsjacking—he literally wrote the book, “News Jacking”, author David Meerman Scott says, “The traditional PR model—sticking closely to a preset script and campaign timeline—no longer works the way it used to. Public discourse now moves so fast and so dynamically that all it takes is a single afternoon to blast the wheels off someone’s laboriously crafted narrative.”

So prolific. 

Take a look at one of Scott’s bell curve graphics, which displays the art of newsjacking:

Using Twitter to Newsjack

What two Twitter accounts might look like.

What two Twitter accounts might look like.

Here are some helpful suggestions for weaponizing Twitter to aid your own newsjacking efforts. First, if you use your personal Twitter account to keep up with friends and family, you may want to consider establishing a separate Twitter account using your work email address to register. That way, you can begin following only work-related content, delivered in 140 characters or less. Immediately follow the key reporters and industry news sites that cover your market. Repeat this exercise for each client you represent.

Once you’ve established a healthy list of key influencer accounts, check this work Twitter account one to two times daily in the pursuit of a newsjacking opportunity. If you find a suitable breaking news story, update or opinion that you feel your client should be in on, write up a quick pitch and start emailing key media contacts.

Here’s a real world example. I represent Dillon Gage Metals, an international wholesaler of gold, silver, platinum and palladium. In turn, I use Twitter to follow breaking industry news from clearinghouse sites such as Kitco News, The Gold Report and Streetwise. If I happen to note that gold prices have reached a 6-month high, I can then craft a quick pitch, asking reporters if they’d like any commentary from my own esteemed experts. At times, this approach works like a charm.

Let’s not get too hasty, though…

A word of caution, however. Newsjacking can be a tremendous tool to insert your client’s opinions into breaking news or otherwise. But the blade can be sharp on both ends if you’re not careful. Never—and I mean NEVER—send out a tasteless, craven attempt to gain your client some attention just for attention’s sake. The PR firm that attempted to use the tragic 2014 suicide of Robin Williams to advance their causes should still be smarting from the backlash they justifiably received. Be tasteful. Keep it professional. If you’re in doubt, seek a second opinion.

Twitter is my absolute favorite social media platform. Not only does it keep me entertained, but it also keeps me sharp and focused on breaking news opportunities from which my clients can benefit.

Jeff is a senior account executive at TrizCom PR

From national industry leaders and Dallas-Fort Worth’s largest companies to startups and growing enterprises, TrizCom PR provides public relations and social media services to a wide variety of businesses encompassing startup, healthcare, lifestyle brands, B2B, energy, tech, entertainment, food/beverage and beyond. TrizCom PR has a dynamic track record of local, regional, national and international media placements on behalf of its clients that, if monetized, would equal hundreds of millions of dollars. In 2014 and 2015, TrizCom PR has been named in the top 25 of PR Firms by Dallas Business Journal. TrizCom PR is a Certified Woman Owned Business Corporation (NWBOC). For more information on TrizCom PR call 972-247-1369 or visit www.TrizCom.com.

Jeff’s contact information:
O: 972-247-1369
C: 972-961-6171
JeffC@TrizCom.com
L: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jeffreycheatham
T: www.twitter.com/JeffreyCheatham