How to earn free media coverage for your business

Newsjacking is taking advantage of news and current affairs so as to promote your own brand, business or expertise

If your business is a professional services firm, newsjacking is one of the easiest ways to achieve free media coverage. Newsjacking is taking advantage of news and current affairs in such a way as to promote your own brand, business or expertise.

For example, when Beyoncé and Jay-Z file trademark applications over song lyrics, slogans or even their babies’ names, intellectual property attorneys are handed a news hook. Media savvy IP experts will seize the opportunity to talk about trademark law – the protections afforded by trademarks, what can and cannot be trademarked, the process of securing a trademark and so on.

Similarly, in the wake of a hurricane or earthquake, switched on engineers and environmental consultants will lead or contribute to the public discourse about how infrastructure must be resistant and resilient to natural disasters and climate change impacts.

And when an executive makes a career-limiting move at a corporate event, opportunistic employment lawyers will chip in with commentary about health and safety, workplace conduct, and sexual harassment.

Newsjacking sounds simple but because it’s reactive and time-critical it requires preparation.

  1. It goes without saying that your team must keep abreast of news and current affairs. You can’t newsjack unless you follow the news.
  2. When an opportunity presents itself, your media spokesperson must be ready, willing and able to respond. That necessitates they be media trained in advance.
  3. You must be able to rapidly connect with your media targets. Maintaining up-to-date contact lists will save valuable time when you’re rushing to pitch your angle or unique point of view while a story is ‘hot’.
  4. It will help if your media targets are already familiar with your brand, expertise, and key people. That way, you won’t need to prove your credentials when the clock is ticking.
  5. Remember, newsjacking requires you to contribute something original, be it an alternative or contrary point of view, a different angle, or the bigger picture. Draw on your subject matter expertise.