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How to Hack the News Cycle for Social Success

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Author: Ariel Novak, Vice President at PAN Communications, headshot
Ariel Burch NovakVice President, Cybersecurity

Trend Jacking is one of the most effective tactics in our PR arsenal. It allows us to position our clients as thought leaders and include their perspectives in high-level coverage around industry issues. And, by incorporating commentary on breaking news into social media programs, organizations can position themselves as thought leaders and resources on hot topics.

But it’s important to plan ahead and have all the resources and processes in place in advance, so you can react quickly to breaking news.

Source: used under CC license.

Learn more about integrated marketing and PR, read: Implementing an Integrated Marketing and PR Strategy for Healthcare Brands.

Here are five tips for successfully hacking the news cycle for social success.

1. Act Quickly – Constantly monitor for relevant breaking news (whether it’s a data breach or a new regulation) via a social monitoring and listening engine. At PAN, we leverage our Real-Time Newsroom as our eyes and ears. There are a number of tools you can use, such as TweetDeck, to stay up to date. Once you identify news that you can comment on with a unique and relevant point of view, be ready to jump right in. Chances are, the news is also relevant to your competition, and you want to get ahead of it.

2. Be Strategic – It’s important to not just be fast but to also be strategic. Before you dive right in and begin commenting on the news, take a moment to think of how this maps back to your business objectives and messaging. Then analyze the current conversation around the topic. This will help you tailor your unique viewpoint, and allow you to identify the appropriate channel(s) to focus on.

3. Provide Value – In the case of a large data breach, for example, the conversation is going to be noisy; you need to make your voice heard. But don’t talk just to talk. Provide resources that are helpful. Have industry research? A checklist or best practices? A how-to video or illustrations? Share those and position yourself as a resource for information. You may even want to consider a paid strategy to further amplify those assets.

4. Continuously Monitor – Community management is an important piece of the puzzle. It allows you to monitor how the trending conversation progresses and engage in real time with the key voices that are contributing — influencers, reporters and even customers.

5. Report Your Results – This step can often be overlooked. If you just move on to the next breaking news item, you’re missing out on an opportunity to report on and learn from your campaign. Measure against benchmarks that you set at the outset of the campaign to determine follower growth, engagement, interaction with key influencers, and share of voice around the trending topic.

By following these five steps, you can become a leading voice in the next big news item. Share your social media trend jacking success stories with us @PANcomm.


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