A Guide to News Jacking: Everything You Need to Know

The field of digital PR has become an increasingly competitive space, particularly in the last few years when the competition for placements, relevancy and authoritative links has become an absolute necessity for the modern brand. 

That said, although the competitive landscape has become progressively crowded, the very best in the space know exactly how to take advantage of breaking news.

This process is known as “newsjacking” and in this piece we’ll be covering exactly what you need to know to get your brand front and centre in some of the most well known publications out there.

What is Newsjacking?

world news on tablet

Newsjacking has been a marketing strategy long before the term was coined.

This strategy involves riding on the coattails of a breaking news story and finding a relevant and organic means to gain attention for your business. Of course, this is a very broad definition, particularly since there’s a few ways you can go about doing this – from journalist outreach to carefully constructed social media posts. 

One of the most famous examples of newsjacking comes from biscuit brand Oreo, over ten years ago. 

After a power outage at Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans caused by a faulty relay, Oreo responded with a perfectly-timed Twitter post that went viral:

Media outlets are churning breaking news by the hour, which might lead you to think this process is a pretty simple, one and done type deal. This couldn’t be further from the truth, since there are so many different brands fighting for the same column inches, links and coverage.

Why Use Newsjacking?

Sure, it’s tough and sometimes more than a little disheartening, but it’s absolutely worth the effort. 

Newsjacking gives you a chance to position your brand as an expert in your field, which can land you in some pretty awesome top-tier publications.

That said, you can’t just throw your name around willy nilly and expect journalists to engage and let you contribute to their pieces. You need to be quite selective about where you’re casting your net. 

So, before we start looking at how you can get started with newsjacking, it’s important to take a look at what you stand to gain and some of the things that you might need to be a little wary of.

What Are the Benefits of Newsjacking?

stack of newspapers

Elevated Brand Awareness

If your brand can find a way to synchronise with a breaking news story, it’s possible to ride that wave through the duration of the news cycle. 

This can be absolutely massive for your brand in terms of valuable links, website traffic, product sales and the potential to have hundreds, even thousands of eyes looking at your brand. 

In addition to this, it also helps to cement your standing as an expert voice in your industry, creating numerous opportunities to solidify your brand presence long after the story is consigned to ‘yesterday’s news’. 

Engage & Share

Engaging and sharing content is the foundation of the modern digital landscape, so whatever your opinion on the whys and wherefores of social media, it’s important to give your audience something to talk about. 

(Carefully) outlining your opinion and professional perspective on breaking news, or creating/sharing relevant content you’ve created will give you a boost across social media – especially if you’re attaching yourself to a news story with some real legs.

Ultimately, the more you’re putting your thoughts and insights across, the more opportunities you have to cultivate brand traffic. 

Keeping Your Finger on the Pulse

PR content of all kinds is about keeping yourself on the curve of what’s new and insightful. 

It’s so easy for brands to become inward facing and lose touch of the trends that come and go in the industry. 

Newsjacking means that you must be on the cusp of current events, to ensure that your interjection is both timely and relevant. When you’re able to do this to catch the crest of the breaking news wave, you’re not only earning valuable media placements, but also continuing to build upon that reputation as a credible thought leader in your industry.

We managed to secure several very good quality links for one of our clients, simply by keeping an eye on Twitter and acting quickly on journalist requests, when they were looking for timely insight into planting wildflower seeds in autumn.

By jumping on a story early and providing expert feedback on behalf of one of our clients, we were able to get their comments featured in Ideal Home and House Beautiful:

ideal home story

What Are the Drawbacks of Newsjacking?

Alas, as with anything in life, newsjacking does come with a few drawbacks too. 

Newsjacking should be considered as a risk vs reward proposition, and it’s important that you fine tune this balance as much as you can. 

Some of the potential downsides include:

A Struggle to Stay Relevant 

News is just that: new!

So, yes, there’s more opportunities to get your brand into the news today, the short life cycle of a news story can mean that you’re no longer relevant tomorrow. 

You could be seeing fantastic numbers in terms of traffic, and social mentions but as soon as the news drops, so will these numbers.

Newsjacking for this reason requires agility and perseverance to continue to adapt and react to the ongoing news cycle. 


As you begin to develop more and more credibility in your niche, you’ll find that you’re managing something of a public image.

This needs to be very carefully managed; one message or comment taken in the wrong way can lead to some serious pain for your business.

Public perception is fickle and although modern media can build your reputation with one hand, it can be just as swift to bring you down again with the other.

On the other there are some attempts at newsjacking that just deserve derision:

It turns out that not all publicity is good publicity.

Being (Un)fashionably Late

News moves quickly, which means you have a super finite period to decide whether you’d like to put yourself forward to discuss a trending topic. 

Once you’ve missed the window, it’s likely that all of the effort you’ve put into attempting to get in on the story is for nothing – which is not the best use of resources. 

Another risk of pitching up late is that you may come across as desperate, with no real understanding of the industry you’re trying to comment on.

How to Run A Successful Newsjacking Strategy

Successful newsjacking does require dedication, both in terms of allocating resources and sheer determination to hone and perfect your ongoing processes. 

Here are our our tips for getting your newsjacking underway: 

Move Quickly

The best means to gain coverage, links or engagement, is to respond as quickly as possible.

The quicker you can move and offer your thoughts on a breaking story or a journalist query, the more chance you have of “jacking the news”. 

Quibble top tip: If you aren’t able to respond on the day the news breaks, don’t spend your resources on it – it’s likely that the opportunity has been missed. 

Journalists and media outlets are usually looking for responses as soon as possible – use this as your yardstick unless you’re told otherwise.

Keep Your Blog Up to Date

This is not a ‘reactive’ tip as such, but if you can keep your blog relevant and jam-packed full of useful and evergreen content that has obviously been written by someone who knows what they’re talking about, you’ve done much of the leg work already.

Most blogs and guides in the modern search landscape are written with SEO in mind, with topics, articles and FAQs that align with the search intent of searchers on Google.

What this means is that if you come across a query that relates to some of your blog content, you can repurpose this and get your commentary to a journalist before anyone else.

Think Ahead

As we’ve discussed, newsjacking is very reactive and at times there’s just no way you’ll be able to predict a certain turn of events. 

That said, you can steal a march on your competition by planning ahead of time for stories and themes you know will be newsworthy.

For example, in the UK, we have the same national holidays each year, such as Christmas, and Valentine’s Day which often require input when it comes to the likes of gift guides, unusual stories etc. 

When planning ahead for the year, there’s no reason why you can’t create a content calendar that pays special attention to holiday’s, sporting events, awareness days, and other events that will reliably roll around each year to ensure you have fantastic content ready for the inevitable stories that appear around these times.

What Topics Work Best in Newsjacking?

megaphone against purple background

Of course, technically speaking, as long as you’re in the right place at the right time, any topic can deliver some big results on the PR front.

However, it’s also true that B2B brands will always find their gap for reactive news is far slimmer than B2C brands. For example, a business that is known for selling B2B SaaS is going to have a harder time finding relevant journo opportunities, than say, a B2C toy company.

That’s not to say it’s impossible, it’s just about finding relevant opportunities. For instance, your average B2B SaaS company is quite unlikely to be offering their opinions on a roundup of the best kid’s toys of the year.

That’s not to say that you can’t be creative though, in a recent campaign we ran for our client we noticed a lot of noise around the charging ports on the latest iPhone 15, in which the cheaper models would continue to run USB 2.0, whereas the more expensive models would be utilising the faster USB 3.0.

So we developed a USB speed calculator for our client to calculate just how much faster the more USB 3.0 iPhones would be compared to their 2.0 counterparts.

This work secured over 150 links for our clients, including some top placements in Forbes, TechRadar, T3 and Yahoo!.

Quibble top tip: A great way to keep up with the latest journalist requests is to head to Twitter and search the hashtag #JournoRequest. 

Not only is this completely free, but it will also give you a good chance of picking up the most relevant opportunities for you and you’ll also get a good idea of whether you’re late to the party by how comments and shares the post has.

We’ve compiled a handy list of the best PR resources you should be using too. 

Not only is this completely free, but it will also give you a good chance of picking up the most relevant opportunities for you and you’ll also get a good idea of whether you’re late to the party by how comments and shares the post has.

We’ve compiled a handy list of the best PR resources you should be using too. 


In conclusion, navigating the dynamic landscape of digital PR requires a keen understanding of the power of newsjacking. 

In today’s highly competitive landscape, securing placements, relevance, and authoritative links is essential for modern brands striving to make their mark online. 

By honing the skill of harnessing breaking news to your advantage, you have the very real potential to take your brand to the next level.

If you have any questions about newsjacking or digital PR or would like to know more about any of our other services, please get in touch with our team of experts.