Newsjacking Done Right at the PRSA International Conference

Updated: Apr 5, 2019

By Rachel Brockway, PR account supervisor, Serendipit Consulting

Recently I was able to attend an amazing professional development conference, the 2018 PRSA International Conference in Austin. While there were so many great sessions, my favorite session was “Newsjacking: How PR Pros Can Capitalize on Real-Time Journalist Insights to Succeed at Major Events” by Natan Edelsburg, chief operating officer from Muck Rack.

While newsjacking is not a new concept in public relations it is always beneficial to hear new stats and what other PR pros are doing getting results! And for those wondering what newsjacking is, it’s basically when you take advantage of breaking news to promote your product or service.

A couple of stats that were of particular interest from the session included:

1. More than 41% of journalists consider the potential “shareability” of a story when deciding what to write about.

2. 63% of US journalists track how many times their stories are shared on social media.

What this says to me is that if you are pitching you need to think about how the story will play across social media and how likely is it to be shared (not only by you and your client) but by others as well.

Another stat that stood out from Edelsburg included: 27% of journalists choose Twitter as their primary news source. While not a huge number, this means that approximately 1/3 of journalists use Twitter to find news stories. Are you pitching here too?

The most important concept from this session was about newsjacking and making sure you are getting in on the story before or when a journalist is looking for information. i.e. as soon as breaking news hits. According to Edelsburg there are four ways to capitalize on real-time journalist insights to succeed at major events:

1. Set up alerts to discover newsjacking opportunities

2. Find and research relevant journalists

3. Send personalized tips and pitches

4. Measure Success

I think that all four of these are great tips not only for newsjacking but also for public relations in general. Helping journalists as much as possible is always beneficial!

For information on the 2019 PRSA International Conference (in sunny San Diego) please visit:

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