Newsjacking PR Agency

Newsjacking and reactive commentary public relations is the fastest way to build a brand. Getting it right though is difficult and this is where we can help. Our newsjacking team achieve huge results with reactive campaigns day in, day out.

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Our offering

We offer a range of tried and tested newsjacking services that are guaranteed to get media coverage, drive awareness, secure authority links and will hit your business goals. We have been carrying out newsjacking campaigns since we launched the agency and helped every size of organisation, company and individual get heard in their chosen sector.

Newsjacking public relations works well alongside a Digital PR campaign, and we have proven this time and time again. We know what journalists want from you, how to get your story out fast and how to make sure it lands with the online, offline and broadcast media.

Brands can be built from scratch using just Newsjacking PR and this is something we do day in, day out. Our team is always ready to work on newsjacking stories no matter what time of day or night and we know exactly where to go in order to get your comments run by the global media.

What is Newsjacking PR?

Newsjacking PR is also known as piggybacking PR or reactive PR and has been in existence as a public relations tool since the early 1900s. Essentially, it is all about putting you or your company’s position across in relation to a breaking news story.

You have to be quick and you need to have access and great relations with the media in your sector in order to stand any chance of getting your comment out there. By having a newsjacking team like 10 Yetis on hand, you can rest assured that the coverage will come in and we have proven this time and time again for big and small brands alike.

Along with helping to support Digital PR campaigns, Newsjacking PR is offered as part of our wider range of services to help brands, people and organisations. It is included as standard with our “Press Office Function” public relations services.

How to get the best results; a guide to Newsjacking PR

To get the most effective returns from your Newsjacking public relations campaigns, you need to be quick. Speed is important when it comes to getting your opinion and reaction out there along with a few other key factors.

You need to make sure that what you say is of interest and offers an interesting take on a current situation. Being beige is no good when it comes to Reactive or Newsjacking PR. You need to stand out. Existing media relationships are also important as they can be the difference between getting just one media hit or being seen as the main contributor to the story.

We know exactly who in the media we need to get your comments to in order to deliver the results that you need.

Best Tips for Newsjacking PR from 10 Yetis own experts

Rather than just trotting out information about the theory behind Newsjacking PR, we went around the PR team here at 10 Yetis, who are looking for opportunities for our clients every day, to see what tips they would give.

Sam Walker, Head of PR.

"Time really is of the essence when it comes to reactive PR."

"As soon as a story breaks, you’re effectively on a timer to get a comment from your client issued to the press. You want to ideally get a comment out within 10 minutes, but I’d say 30 minutes to an hour is the absolute cut off - unless, of course, you’re looking to provide supporting content (such as a snap poll or infographic)."

Example

As the coronavirus pandemic began to pick up pace in early 2020, the DVSA cancelled driving tests for a few days (before the government officially put the UK into lockdown). We worked with Bill Plant Driving School to issue a reactive statement on this which generated 311x pieces of coverage, including being featured on Sunday Times Driving, MSN, Yahoo! and the Express, as well as being picked up by Press Association Media.

bill plant driving school newsjacking

Oliver Taylor, Account Executive.

"The best time to attempt newsjacking is after a major story has broke and journalists are looking for additional information to report on. Make a swift decision on how any brands you’re working with can add to the story and think to yourself: why would a journalist report this and, more importantly, why should they?

Merely providing commentary on a breaking story likely isn’t going to result in any coverage, but offering additional information like relevant figures, insight or opinions will. Creativity and originality will often be rewarded too!”

Example

In March ’22, the British government announced its plan to scale back free winter flu jabs in England. We quickly worked with our client medino to pull together an expert comment reacting to the news. The comment covered the importance of the vaccination as the COVID-19 global pandemic had diminished people’s usual exposure to viruses over the last two years, making immune systems lower than ever before. Because of the relevancy of the story, the comment was picked up by major publications like The Guardian and Yahoo! News.

medino newsjacking

Liz Walsh, Account Executive.

“When it comes to reactive comments, you’ve got to realise that every PR out there with clients in the same industry as yours is going to be fighting to get their comments included in the conversation. A massive thing that you can do to give your client’s comment the edge over everyone else’s is to make it different!

Adding personality, character and quirk to the comment is going to be one of the best things you can do, as journalists will then have a fun option, that’s different to the other hundred comments in their inbox. Just being an expert isn’t enough, you’ve got to offer something new and exciting.”

Beth Cawte, Account Executive.

“When writing a reactive comment to a breaking news story, it’s really important to keep in mind that anyone and everyone in PR will probably be doing the same. If you want to stand out from the crowd, back your comment up with some fresh and eye-catching additional content, such as a snap poll, any data you already have available, or case studies you have to hand.

You want to be bringing something new to the table, so think about content that readers of the original article haven’t seen before. Your comment will join a flood of similar reactive statements in a journalist’s email inbox, so make sure that what you have to add is interesting and newsworthy.”

Example

The news has been full of stories in recent weeks (and months) about energy price caps and increasing bills. In response to this, we quickly pulled together a snap poll for our client Hillarys, asking UK-based homeowners about their energy bills - finding that one in three have been turning their heating down in a bid to keep their bills down. This was very quickly picked up by the Express, both online and in print, offering further insight into a story that was already doing the rounds.

hillarys newsjacking

Daisy Sawyer, PR Account Manager

“Forming relationships with journalists is key to securing good coverage for campaigns, but is also so important for landing coverage for your reactive comments.

There are many ways to form relationships, however the traditional way of meeting journalists for a coffee and a chat has become less frequent, with social media interactions and wholesome emails taking the forefront.

One of the most important parts to forming a good relationship is to ensure that you’re providing the journalists with quality content at a good speed and offering something that other PRs wouldn’t be able to.”

Example

During the summer of 2021 we launched the Love Island Growth Index, tracking the potential earnings of the latest batch of Love Island contestants through Instagram sponsored posts. We updated this weekly and pitched to journalists; within no time we started to form some strong relationships, including with the Entertainment Editor at the Metro. This one relationship secured us six pieces of coverage in the Metro, each with follow links back to 10 Yetis within the space of six months. This reactive project of our own also secured us coverage with the likes of The Sun, OK! Magazine, the Daily Mail and Tyla.

10 Yetis Digital newsjacking example

Naomi Williams, PR Account Executive

“When it comes to writing reactive comments, relevancy is key. It’s important to always keep an eye on breaking news and, if any relevant stories come out that could be linked to your client in some way, ensure to get a reactive statement out instantly – but make sure it’s relevant. Firstly, it needs to make sense WHY your client is commenting on the story. Secondly, it needs to be clear WHAT they are adding to the story (you can’t just regurgitate what the news outlets are already saying). As long as you can tick both of those boxes, there’s no reason your comment shouldn’t land – assuming you get it out as quickly as possible.”

Example

During the pandemic, the news was full of stories about Britons being unable to travel abroad and opting for staycations in the UK instead. In response to this, we pulled together a reactive comment about the travel restrictions faced by UK residents with the green, amber and red traffic light system and how this had caused a demand for domestic holiday, linking back to a bigger campaign we worked on around the British staycation boom for our client, Perrys. This was very quickly picked up online by the Express and MSN.

Perrys newsjacking

History of Newsjacking and Reactive PR

The history of Newsjacking and Reactive PR is very vague so we decided to look into this in more depth. The founder of our agency, Andy Barr, trawled the British Newspaper Archives to try and establish a more accurate history of Newsjacking PR. He gave us this summary:

I went back to the 1800s to look for evidence of newsjacking or reactive public relations and found no working examples until around 1909. In the newspapers that I looked at from the 1800s through to the 1910s, there was seldom any third-party mention or quote in any news story.

Stories were predominantly factual and written by the reporter without their independent view or any bias and the only quote used was typically from the organisation or company that the story was being written about. For example, if the news story related to a new announcement or decision by a government department, then only the government department in question was mentioned.

south shields daily gazette newsjacking

college newsjakcing

There was a form of newsjacking outside of these stories, but it was clearly a far slower process. Newsjacking in these early times appears to have been in the form of a “Letter to the Editor”, written by an employee (usually the boss of a company) talking about their thoughts on a story that had previously appeared in the newspaper.

Quite often these letters were edited down but they were the first examples of Newsjacking. As I moved forwards through the British Newspaper Archives, the first examples of Newsjacking comments being included in national stories was in 1909 by the Automobile Association (The AA).

The AA would be asked by journalists to give its opinion on the British Government’s announcements with regards to various driving, motoring or road based topics. Moving further through the archives, this type of ‘expert opinion’ steadily began to grow and appear more frequently until around the late 1960s and early 1970s where it became the norm.

AA newsjacking

Until carrying out this research, I had originally thought that the launch of the Press Association (PA) in 1868 would have seen the birth and mass introduction of Newsjacking PR but I was wrong. The Press Association was founded by a group of regional news outlets on a cooperative basis, and they began supplying news stories to the national media in 1870. I can only assume that the PA would have written and sent stories in the style and format that the national media were used to, so no third-party comments were likely to have been included.

Speaking to media commentators and experts as part of my research, it has become clear that one of the key originators in the mass acceptance of Newsjacking were regional news outlets. Historically, local news journalists would trawl the national media to find stories that could be linked to their areas and be written up accordingly. Often, these write ups would include the thoughts and reaction of an expert or businessperson who was known locally, which presented a great newsjacking opportunity.

As a side note, we are now seeing a resurgence in this tactic, albeit in a reversed and controversial format, especially by the likes of Reach PLC. In my opinion, Reach PLC appears to be moving to ‘hyper-local’ news platforms that serve small, regional, geographic areas and also showcase the bigger, or more interesting and controversial, news stories from other localities as a form of ‘news discovery’ offering.

This hyper-local approach presents a great opportunity for Newsjacking PR specialists such as us at 10 Yetis but can also lead to confusion by end users as to why they are reading, on their local news site, about a story from a town or city that is far away from their own location

Going back to the growth in reactive PR and Newsjacking, and in line with many other industries that were transformed by the internet, the mid to late 1990s saw the news media moving online and looking for ways in which to hook new readers in.

As news outlets became more search engine optimisation (SEO) savvy, the need to extend stories to cover every possible consumer question and search string meant that more and more content and opinions were being added to stories.

When I started my own career in media and public relations, online news was in its infancy but the companies I worked in-house for were already using reactive media opportunities as an effective traditional PR tactic. This tactic did not have the modern-day goal of securing authority links to help with SEO but was instead intended to help with the company’s strategic positioning and a way to ensure a share of voice and strong presence across the industry.

2009 to 2011 saw the term Newsjacking making its first appearance in Google Trends, although, as mentioned, the term reactive PR had been in use since the late 1990s.

google trends term newsjacking

Credit: Google Trends 2022


Fast forward to today and Newsjacking PR is a multi-million-pound industry and nearly every digital PR agency claims that they can successfully deploy these kinds of campaigns. I am very fortunate that several national and international news outlets come to me directly for me or my clients’ opinions on breaking news and this is because journalists know that we always deliver exactly what they need.


Get in touch

To hear more about our Newsjacking Public Relations or Reactive PR services, get in touch, 01452 348211, hello@10yetis.co.uk or @10Yetis on The Twitter.

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