When you’re looking for opportunities to raise the profile of your business, one golden rule is to look beyond the metaphorical four walls of your organisation.

Certainly, you would hope to find many good news stories worthy of media attention from within your business. You might be supporting a charity, have won an award, been accredited, or developed a new vaccine for Covid (wow! Well done if you have).

Maybe you are celebrating a milestone, like a business anniversary, or you’ve made significant appointments, taken over a competitor, diversified…

All these make great news but the opportunities don’t stop there. We want to talk here about piggybacking and newsjacking.

What is piggybacking in public relations?

The best way to explain this is by example. Our client, DMJ Computer Services, specialises in designing, hosting and caring for WordPress-based websites.

We’ve managed to get the team great coverage for a range of stories, including celebrating the milestone of 35 years in business.

But another success was when we sent out a press release about one of their clients – recording studio, Studio 6 – which had, thanks to DMJ just launched its first website. This meant a double whammy for DMJ: coverage of their great website work for Studio 6, plus the benefit of publicity for Studio 6 itself.

Another example is Danny&co, which created the branding for a new breed of gym, Solo60. The press coverage certainly helped Danny&co. and was a boost for Solo60 at the same time.

So that is what we mean by piggybacking on client news. It brings you publicity by showcasing what you do, and brings your client publicity, so fostering the relationship between you and that client.

What have you done for a client which, for them, is newsworthy, and which you can piggyback on? If you’d like to throw around some ideas, get in touch. We’d love to hear them.

And that leads us nicely on to…

Newsjacking and public relations

Here’s what newsjacking is, in a nutshell: it’s another form of piggybacking, but this time using the day’s news to your advantage. In other words, piggybacking on it to raise your brand profile.

Some great examples of national newsjacking include:

  • When Prince Harry and Meghan first announced they were stepping aside from royal duties, Madame Tussauds waxworks museum in London removed their models from the display and got extensive press coverage
  • Are you a fan of The Archers? If so, you’ll recall the storyline of Helen Titchener suffering mental cruelty at the hands of her husband, Rob. This led to an increased profile for organisations such as Refuge and Women’s Aid, which were able to run campaigns on the back of the Radio 4 soap, raising funds and much-needed awareness.
  • Gillette capitalised on the #Metoo movement by overtly moving away from its traditional ‘The Best a Man Can Get’ slogan and rhetorically asking in a new series of adverts ‘Is this really the best a man can get?’, so challenging the very stereotype it had been previously been promoting.

You may not head up an international, or even national brand, like Gillette or Madame Tussauds, but the day-to-day news will present opportunities.

Look at upcoming news events, to see how you can use them to a PR advantage. We’re nearing the Budget, this year more important than ever against the backdrop of Coronavirus. Can you put out pre-Budget or post-Budget comment?

There are a myriad of awareness days, weeks and months throughout the year. Many high profile, that you could be capitalising on. This month is National Heart Month, and we’ve been thrilled to get some publicity for our client, Heart Heroes, for the campaign they are running on the back of this.

Most importantly, keep an eye on the news and quickly jump on social media, or offer up a press comment, if it’s relevant to your business.

A word of caution though. Think carefully before newsjacking, to ensure what you put out is sensitive. Newsjacking can, and does go wrong. One famed example is a company offering discounted generators and air mattresses to survivors of Hurricane Sandy; it was insensitive at best.

Choose the right topic, and the right moment and newsjacking can reap rewards.

If you would like to talk about piggybacking or newsjacking as part of your PR (public relations) campaigns, please get in touch, we’d love to hear from you.