Producing compelling content is at the heart of what we do at Rostrum. But what does it mean to create engaging copy that will really resonate with your target audience? 

For PR to be truly effective, it needs to not only be consistent, creative and commercial, but it also has to be current. One tactic we use successfully with many of our clients is ‘newsjacking’. 

So what is it?  

Sometimes referred to as ‘reactive commentary’, newsjacking is quite simply using the day’s news agenda as a platform for our clients to engage with their target audiences. By commenting on a suitable event or announcement, a spokesperson can reinforce their core messages whilst ensuring they remain relevant.  

Done in the right way, newsjacking can be a fantastic tool for building wider brand awareness and adding a spokesperson’s voice to the debate around a particular topic or issue. 

What is ‘the right way? 

As with many things, planning is key. Rostrum builds bespoke editorial and industry-centric PR calendars for each of our clients. That means, as much as is possible, we know what reports and publications are going to be of real interest to our spokespeople, and we know when this information is due to be released. 

However, the news agenda is ever-evolving. That’s why we track updates and announcements in real time to ensure we can react quickly to any breaking stories, giving our clients the best chance possible of at being heard 

Fastest finger first 

Timing is everything. You need to be quick off the mark if you really want your voice to be included. Rostrum account teams are industry experts – we know our clients sectors inside and out, so we not only understand what their messages are, but also how and why different breaking announcements could impact them. This means that as soon as a story breaks, we can produce compelling content which reflects our client’s position, is interesting to their core audience, and is sharable with the most relevant publications.  

What should you say? 

Even in an online world, editors have to make tough decisions on what to include in each story. Only comments that really add value to the piece stand a chance of being used. That value could come from bringing fresh perspective, introducing new insights or data, or taking a completely different approach to the topic. 

Treat every sentence as a soundbite. If a line doesn’t add something, cut it. Ask yourself, are you moving the debate forward? 

Pick your battles 

Effective newsjacking isn’t about commenting on everything, it’s about commenting on the right things. You should only be adding opinions to debates that are really relevant to you, your business, or your audiences.  

Do your research. Industry specific announcements are a great place to start. Remember, for your audience to engage with your content, you need to be sharing insights on topics that really resonate with them. 

To quote an expert 

George Orwell famously had six rules for writing. At Rostrum, we still think they’re relevant today 

  1. Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print 
  2. Never use a long word where a short one will do 
  3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out 
  4. Never use the passive where you can use the active 
  5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent 
  6. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous. 

For more details on our writing expertise, take a look at our Stable: