Ten top tips to hijack the news agenda effectively

One of the most cost effective ways to get your brand mentioned in the media is to ‘hijack’ breaking news. This is about monitoring the media agenda and working out how you can contribute to what’s already going on. So how can you do this effectively?

Think about the areas where you can offer the most value

What is your brand about, why does the business exist and what are you an expert in? Once you’ve identified this, you can use this as framework to create a list of topics that you have the most authority to comment on. Whilst you can stray outside of your core business offering, there must always be a reason as to why you are offering an opinion. For example, a financial comparison client offered opinions on the winners and losers in the budget which was featured in the Independent. My client Tam Johnston from Fresh Insight Coaching is passionate about helping people combat stress. With national stress awareness day just around the corner this was featured in Psychologies Magazine.

Don’t ‘devalue the currency’

Some brands jump on everything that breaks. This is not something I would recommend as it can quickly damage your reputation as a credible commentator and generally devalue the currency of what you’ve got to say.

Never ‘spray and pray’

Journalists appreciate a quote which is tailored to their topics of interest and their readership. If you know there is a big announcement breaking that you want to comment on, make sure you research the journlalists you want to send it to in advance – don’t just ‘spray and pray’ to a huge list of contacts you haven’t researched.

Speed is of the essence

If news breaks you’ve probably got about 30 minutes to get your opinion out there. If you’re in a business with many layers of sign off, try to find a way to minimise this when you’re reacting to breaking news.

Accuracy is crucial

During the chaos, always make sure you check your facts. Never offer a journalist anything that you’re not 100% certain is accurate. One mistake, and it’s unlikely a journalist will use your commentary again. This is particularly important if you’re talking about another business.

Express an opinion

If you’re commenting on breaking news, sitting on the fence will not get you noticed. It may sound obvious but if you’re offering an opinion you need to express one. You can still be balanced whilst being clear about what you think.

Be punchy

Just saying how terrible the news is or how happy you are will not cut the mustard. Make sure your quote is punchy. Two lines which really nail your thoughts are far more effective than four paragraphs of waffle. Don’t be afraid to use the odd cliché, it’s often a good way to get your point across in an engaging way.

Always go the extra mile

Picture the scene, the news has broken that energy prices are going up and a journalist has got less than an hour to get their copy to the editor. Their inbox is bursting at the seams with opinions on this news, isn’t it terrible as it’s going to cost everyone more money – yawn.

But one email states; it will cost consumers an extra £450 a year, it’s now the second most expensive provider in the market, they’ve hiked prices five times over the past two and so on. Which one would you include?

If your quote doesn’t get picked up

Carry out a quick scan of the quotes the media used, who they came from and what they said. This is a great way to inform your strategy going forward and perfect your approach.

Tenacity is key

Don’t expect to see your comments on the front page of a national from day one. Building your reputation as a credible commentator takes time and patience. However, when journalists realise you’re a reliable source of information and commentary, you could soon become an invaluable resource for them.

Stick with it, patience and tenacity are key.  Now go get em!

At PR by NorthStar, hijacking the media agenda is something we do for many of our clients. If you would like a free consultation to see if we can help your business, please get in touch.