Book review: Newsjacking by David Meerman Scott

Book review: Newsjacking by David Meerman Scott

If you’re working in the PR and marketing field, there’s no doubt that you’ve heard of David Meerman Scott. And you’ve probably read his bestselling book “The New Rules of Marketing and PR”. This book was a game changer – kick-starting social media awareness and introducing the industry to the power of these tools to spread brand awareness. Well, with his latest book “Newsjacking”, David takes the complicated relationship between journalists and PR people and spins it on its head.

David describes newsjacking as a way for PR people to inject their brands into breaking news stories in a way that’s relevant, interesting and guaranteed to get the attention of journalists. Essentially, this book is a guide on how to hijack the news and level the playing field. According to David, no matter the size of your business, you have the potential to newsjack – but one of the keys to success is never waiting for approval.

Newsjacking by David Meerman Scott

“If you are clever enough to react to breaking news very quickly, providing credible content in a blog post, tweet, or media alert that features the keyword of the moment, you may be rewarded with a bonanza of media attention. Newsjacking creates a level playing field — literally anyone can newsjack — but, that new level favors players who are observant, quick to react, and skilled at communicating. Sadly, most people (and nearly all businesses) are unable to get out of their own way when the moment is right. They check with lawyers and bosses and PR people and then it is too late.”


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As someone with a journalism background and education, I found this book particularly interesting. The book offers excellent graphics illustrating the life of a news story. When a story breaks, journalists scramble to get information on the topic as fast as possible in a race to beat competitors. They search for relevant related topics to fill the “second paragraph” – and that’s where newsjacking comes in. David advises PR practitioners to be actively monitoring the news, paying attention to what’s trending on Twitter, following brand relevant journalists, setting up Google alerts etc. Then when a story breaks, add a relevant new dimension to the story that features your brand.

If you work in the PR and marketing field, this book is a must read. It’s short and fast-paced, much like newsjacking itself. David offers step-by-step instructions on how to newsjack, supplemented by current, interesting case studies (Larry Flynt is a newsjacking master) and relevant warning tales (hello, Kenneth Cole #Cairo #Fail). After all, you already know that the traditional PR model is dead. With help from this book, you’ll soon be “gaining attention by harnessing the power of the wind”. And that sounds pretty cool.

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