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The Art of Newsjacking

Brittany Martin

When it comes to getting our clients into the news, sometimes we have to be prepared to pitch at a moment’s notice. It’s a little something we like to call “newsjacking.” Newsjacking leverages current trends and timely news to position our clients as experts in their given fields. At Walker Sands we strive for creativity as we position our clients in the headlines.


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To land dream placements for our clients, we first put ourselves in the shoes of the reporters who would be writing them—What do the reporters want to cover right now? What is interesting to them and will catch their eyes as we pitch them our client’s content?

The most intuitive way to learn this is to see what these targeted reporters are already writing about, as well as what’s trending in the industry that they may be about to cover. This insight offers us a launching point to know what they may want to cover next so we can effectively have our clients join the conversation (and be heard) by offering our client’s related content and expert commentary on those same subjects.

As we stay atop news that is trending in the industries of our clients, we always look for the “golden nuggets” of newsjacking opportunities where the topic is in sync with the work of the client for them to comment on—a match made in heaven. We also see the “diamond in the rough” opportunities where the topic is a little stretched from the expertise of the client, but we can connect the dots for the reporter as to why our content is applicable for inclusion.


While not obvious as a fit at first, the seemingly “unrelated” trending news can be worth the risk in going for—we have found these risks sometimes payoff in earning the best placements, landing the client unique exposure they wouldn’t have had otherwise. For example, when some timely news came about on the possibility of drones entering into the delivery space for retail, we offered our client, Maria Haggerty, CEO of Dotcom Distribution, an e-commerce logistics company, to speak on the emerging trend as a thought leader in the space of e-commerce logistics. The newsjacking paid

off, landing her and Dotcom Distribution two great placements in MediaPost’s Marketing Daily and InformationWeek.

When pitching the Walker Sands 2015 Future of Retail Study, we looked for key phrases surrounding the study, such as “mobile payments” and “virtual reality” to weave the survey findings into existing topics in the news. As a result, the data and commentary we offered surrounding the study was used to earn us more than 200 placements to date—much more than we would have landed if we solely pitched our study without linking our news to current news, making for a newsworthy story for them to cover. The continued coverage proves not only that newsjacking works from a PR perspective, but that reporters want to hear from brands on forward-looking topics to have expert commentary to qualify their stories with reputable sources, making newsjacking a win-win for reporters and brands alike.

Have any more tips for newsjacking? Tweet us @WalkerSands.