Newsjacking isn’t a crime unless you piss off your readers.
Making your readers walk is the last thing you want to do, when it can be avoided, unless you’re pruning.
Anyway. Breaking news is something that’s been in the spotlight for the last couple of months, thanks to an unpleasant event in New Zealand, so I wanted to share my thoughts with you.
If you don’t know what newsjacking is, it’s when you ride the wave of breaking news and somehow wedge yourself into it. Done right, it catapults brands into the spotlight, drives loads of traffic, and gives you a great opportunity to sell your wares. It’s in that grey ethical area where it’s good or bad depending on how you handle it, and what your pitch is.
As someone at the helm of a business’s publishing arm, you might get short of breath or covered in hives at the thought of whatever news has hit the internet.
- Disrupt your production schedule
- Make your social media look insensitive
- Make everything you’ve planned look irrelevant (or, worse, old hat)
How do you handle that?
Let’s say you’ve taken pains to block out half a day and construct your production calendar and related schedules. You painstakingly crafted every topic for the next 12 months. You sent calendar invitations with deadlines on them to each person in your team who needs to participate.
And then — bam! — something hits the news that makes your topic, position, or even your subject-matter(!) either irrelevant, or useless, or just plain old off-the-mark.
What do you do?
Well, you do the first thing you can do. Which is: Ignore your production schedule. You go back to crafting material on the fly until you can find the time to sit down and rethink what you’ve got.
It’s extremely rare that you would need to rework an entire production plan, though. Most topics can be tweaked. Worst-case, you’d need to rethink the flow of each piece, and rewrite your descriptions. But it’s not like you have to start from scratch.
Critically, you need to be able to add material to your schedule. That means: If you’re publishing back-to-back, multiple times per day, getting the space to wedge in a newsjacking piece will be as that steak your childless aunt cooked you when you were ten, which you try to swallow but instead end up choking.
You with me?
Leave space in your production schedule. Do it intentionally.
That way, you can add material in between your planned pieces, which allows you to capitalise on breaking news as and when you need to.
If you don’t have a production schedule, you can get the Queen Pixie’s personal assistance by going to https://brutalpixie.com/production-calendar.
Or, you can get her free daily tips by email: