Shocking Content Marketing Lessons from Strange Bedfellows: Kate Winslet, Governor Rick Perry, and Larry Flynt

Kate Winslet and Richard BransonIt’s all about Newsjacking:  The Science of Latching onto a Hot News Story in Near Real-Time, and Making It All about You.

David Meerman Scott is once again the thought leader in helping us get more news coverage than we ever thought possible, whether we are Solopreneur or billion-dollar multinational.

His new book, perfectly titled, Newsjacking: How to Inject your Ideas into a Breaking News Story and Generate Tons of Media Coverage, teaches us how to make as much news as the biggest newsmakers in our individual arenas.

David opens his book with the example of Rick Perry’s surprise announcement of his run for the presidency simultaneous with the Iowa straw polls. He became the top news story and eclipsed coverage of any of the other candidates who had worked so hard to do well in Iowa. It was a perfect Newsjacking that took full advantage of our 24 hour a day news cycle and the never-ending demand for hot news stories.  Iowa was suddenly boring. Rick Perry was suddenly hot.

David teaches all of us how to become successful Newsjackers whatever our organization’s size or situation.

A number of current realities make Newsjacking possible and powerful:

  • We live in a real-time news world with thousands of global news outlets from traditional newspapers to niche bloggers with real-time Twitter feeds helping to accelerate the pace of news transmission.
  • At the same time, reporters are stretched to the limit, thanks to cutbacks in staffing that are exacerbated by the demands of their bosses to report right now about hot stories.
  • This means that reporters are desperate to crank out great, timely stories with the least possible effort.
  • The Newsjacking opportunity comes at what David refers to as the second paragraph of a typical news story. The second paragraph goes beyond the basic news details and gives meaning and color to the story. This is where a local firefighting brigade saved the bacon of reporters in the UK by turning a thin story about Kate Winslet and her rescue of Richard Branson’s mother into a fun and fascinating story. The typical second paragraph of stories to follow offered wonderful publicity to those local firefighters. More on this later.
  • It is now relatively easy to track news in real time thanks to  RSS feeds and Twitter streams that are targeted to your business, your industry or your area of expertise. Thus, 24 hours a day, you have the opportunity to spot a story that is right for Newsjacking. You can be the first to jump on it and to move that story in your direction.

Here’s how Kate Winslet came to the rescue, not only of that fortunate elderly woman, but of the UK press corps. The local fire brigade immediately sensed an opportunity for worldwide publicity by connecting their organization to the famous actress. So, in a story posted on their website, they offered her the chance to train with them:

The brigade, which has over 300 women firefighters, is inviting Kate to learn how crews deal with fires and also how people can prevent fires from happening in the first place. On the proposed visit, Kate would visit the brigades training center, meet trainees and experience the role of a modern firefighter. This would include operational duties such as trying out firefighter breathing apparatus and climbing a ladder pitched against the tower block.

For a brief time, this made the fire brigade as famous as Kate Winslet. But, most importantly, it allows them to get out the message about the importance of fire safety.

Saving the best–or possibly the worst–for last, it turns out that Larry Flynt is an expert Newsjacker. He pounces on the news of the moment with incredible speed. Thus, when Congressman Anthony Wiener found himself out of a job for reasons that might seem appropriate in a Larry Flynt kind of way, the infamous publisher of Hustler offered Wiener a job. That job offer grabbed more than a day’s worth of news for Larry Flynt and his publishing empire. It made for an irresistible second paragraph for news stories in print, online, and on TV.

You don’t have to be big to be good at Newsjacking. But you have to be fast, smart, sensible, and creative. David tells you exactly how.

I’m just hoping that this blog post may achieve a bit of Newsjacking itself, what with the mention of newsmakers Kate Winslet, Rick Perry, and Larry Flynt.

Be sure to go to and get a copy of David’s new book, which, incidentally is available only in a digital version. It’s short, to the point, practical, and as always, entertaining.

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