We all know that publicity can lead to real world benefits. It can drive immediate business, increase your credibility, and boost your brand recognition. The problem is that getting publicity is not an easy task. Unless you’ve just invented the cure to cancer, it can be hard to attract the attention of the media.

Today, I’m going to reveal a method you can use to tap into the buzz surrounding current events, even if they have nothing to do with you or your brand. Using this method, you can establish yourself as a reliable news source and cement lasting relationships with journalists, A-list bloggers, and other important media outlets. The technique is called newsjacking. The name was cooked up by David Meerman Scott.
Newsjacking is the art of hijacking current events to grab some of the limelight. I call it an art because it takes subtlety and creativity to pull off. But, when you do it right, newsjacking can deliver amazing results.
Newsjacking isn’t like regular PR. It’s rarely about your brand. The regular approach to media relations still works – if your brand is newsworthy. But it’s hard to stand out amongst the millions of voices that are already clamoring for attention. Newsjacking gives you a way to become a part of the news without being “newsworthy”.
The first step is to realize that there is a constant stream of news in any field or marketplace. That means there’s plenty of attention to tap into. But with so many dramatic events taking place, your “business as usual” press release has little chance of making a big splash.
This all makes sense when you look at things through the eyes of a journalist. They’re under pressure to turn out high volumes of copy on relevant topics every week. The audience wants timely information about the issues they care about. Journalists have to focus on these topics, and they need to move fast. If they lose ground to their competitors, they’ll also lose a share of their audience – people go where the news is.
News sites and publications make their money from advertising, and their rates are based on circulation. So eyeballs are everything.
Real news stories happen all the time. And the audience wants to know about them. Major scandals, disasters, shocking developments, embarrassing blunders – these are some of the topics that get the most attention. Good news happens too – long anticipated products are released, disasters are averted, and everyday people become heroes overnight.

Now and then there will be a lull. Nothing big is making waves in the media world, and journalists have to dig to find stories to write about. This is when lazy journalists turn to the constant stream of press releases, looking for something interesting or entertaining. If your press release is genuinely newsworthy, you might get some media attention.

Even then, it’s unlikely. Every day, the PR networks churn through a virtual avalanche of releases. If your news item is buried under thousands of others, then good luck getting discovered.
Now let’s examine what happens when a big news story happens.