LET’S JACK: creative ways of grabbing the headlines

December 1, 2015 |

Jumping on the back of big news stories and events to get clients an extra bit of coverage has been the staple diet of us PR folks forever, but now there’s a new kid on the block.

‘Newsjacking’ has been around a while but recently it’s become more widely used. It’s basically just hijacking breaking news stories or adding your ideas and angles to something big that’s going on in real time and some of the biggest brands are getting it very right.

Take Oreo for example, when there was a power surge during last year’s Super Bowl, its social media teams were fast to tweet how the biscuits could still be dunked in the dark. This simple tweet received thousands of retweets and favourites.

When Kate Winslet rescued Richards Branson’s mum from a fire on his luxury island, London Fire Brigade offered her the opportunity to train with its fire-fighters. This generated massive media coverage for the fire brigade in everything from women’s glossies to BBC news.

Another good example of newsjacking was Ryan Gosling announcing he was taking a break from acting. A British video on demand service called Blink Box, set up a 24-hour helpline to console the army of distraught fans devastated by the news. It created the ‘Gosline’ and played distraught callers a ‘soothing’ audio clip from his film The Notebook. This quick thinking response to a story gathering momentum gained the company big coverage in The Telegraph, Huffington Post and even NME.

It seems the rules of PR are changing, you don’t have to stick to a pre-agreed timeline of releases and with the growth of social media, the chance to respond to breaking news stories and events for clients is so much easier. This is where good relationships with clients are key, so when stories do break you can offer the journalist the content they need right now. Making thought leaders of our clients and ensuring they’re known as the go to brands for comment is forefront in our minds at Tank PR.

Sometimes attempting to hijack key seasonal events like The Budget can be hard work. Whether someone is the best fit doesn’t always figure, as everyman and his client is trying to get a comment into the media at this time. It pays to try new methods at times like this.

Recently we offered up budget tax tables to a newspaper from an accounting client of ours, knowing that these would be of use to the paper and have a great visual presence for our client – above the other accountants and business folk commenting.

It’s worth thinking about how you can help the paper with your client’s expertise in such a feature-beyond expert opinion. Infographics are a similar way to achieve this, and if not overly promotional, have great value to journalists.

As well as comment, think PR stunts. There are a lot of World Cup stories around at the moment, but Red Hot World Buffet is probably the only place to be making a giant 2mx2m World Cup cake, which stands half a meter high complete with life size chocolate world cup!