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August 18, 2012


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Dan Moyle

For someone to dismiss an idea without actually understanding it is certainly ridiculous. It sounds like Mr Stamm sims doesn't like new techniques, and would much rather stay with an antiquated system. It's really unfortunate. Small businesses (even medium and large) can benefit from understanding newsjacking and have a relevant message rather than throwing a bunch of cash at PR and "hoping for the best."

Chris Turner

THANK YOU for this well-reasoned response. I came into PR and corpcomm from newspaper years ago. The thing I HATED about PR people was the entitlement mentality when it came to news coverage, as if our paper owed their client or organization space simply because they called. When I became a media relations manager I wasn't really sure what I was going to be, but I certainly knew what I didn't want to be. I've always tried to serve reporters along the lines you outline, and in turn it obviously served my organization.

I'm now on my own helping organizations and people communicate better but that core idea remains: serve others. Reporters get fresh perspectives and help without having to spend valuable time tracking down leads and organizations with whom I work get the exposure they desire. PR people still in campaign mode come from a "user" (loser?) mentality and are in it for themselves.

David Meerman Scott

Thanks Dan. Many people want to live in the past. Fighting the future usually doesn't succeed.

Chris, thanks for jumping in. I really appreciate your perspective as a former journalist who is now doing PR. I worked at Knight-Ridder for six years - I think an understanding of "both sides" like we have is valuable


Also like how the mainstream media generally treats the term "hacker" as a negative label, yet it isn't, within that community they have their own term for someone who does bad things with the hacking skill set. :)

I read the article by Alan Stamm. I think he took the term "newsjacking" out of context... and branded all "advocates" of newsjacking under the "frame" of his article.

David Meerman Scott

Joseph - excellent point on the term "hacker" - I hadn't thought about that parallel before. thanks!


Having watched the MSNBC interview, and read the article by Alan Stamm, I think the difference in their opinions is the respective experience they have.

JJ Ramberg told us that she had completed some kind of PR work for her own business, and is a huge advocate of 'Newsjacking'. However, Alan Stamm describes himself as 'a marketing communication consultant in Birmingham, Mich., is a former print and online journalist.' Maybe some journalist's would agree with Alam Stamm.

I find what he wrote sad, as 'Newsjacking' isn't about jumping on every story that pops up, but waiting for a story relevant to you, and helping Journalists with detailed information that in turn helps you.

All in all, Stamm doesn't understand 'Newsjacking'. Maybe send him a copy of your book?

David Meerman Scott

Thanks JosephDKelly. Newsjacking is ebook only so I cannot send him a copy.

Alan Stamm

I appreciate this constructive dialogue and do have a better understanding of the technique, thanks to these comments and earlier ones under my Ragan commentary and at Cision's site.

I even found a patch of common ground -- an Aug. 15 tweet from American Airlines this is a smart, a timely tie-in to an active topic last week. With a photo of a jet's tail fin breaking the surface of clouds, the company tweeted:
"Won't go in the water this week? Join us in the air. #SharkWeek" https://twitter.com/AmericanAir/status/235853433121415169

AA earned 67 RTs and pickups by advertising/SM blogs with that clever, natural way to promote the brand by using (or 'jacking) a newsy topic. So yes, there *are* times and executions when this technique works well.

Newsjacking is neither a magic bullet (which you never claimed, David), nor a worthless tactic in all situations. It's clearly essential to promptly join conversations "on the hot news of the day when it relates to what you do," as a PR pro comments on Ragan.

His last phrase is key, but not hinted at in the Aug. 13 post at Cision that is my main focus. I wasn't reviewing your 53-page Kindle book.

I focused on Cision's blog post because of voicing surprise that a reputable PR services firm endorses a purported shortcut to "get tons of media coverage."

Obviously, timely posts on hot news topics earn media pickups, SM attention and SEO spikes. For some enterprises and professionals, that can be a sensible part of marketing communications plans if it supports strategic goals. My article and this post, for instance, promote your e-book.

Your best-case example of Eloqua is a worthwhile case study, though not necessarily a widely applicable one. More puzzling is your admiration of last summer's "newsjack at lightning speed" by the London Fire Brigade after Kate Winslet saved Richard Branson's mum in the British Virgin Islands. The fire service's swift response (posting a training offer for the actress) is brilliant . . . but what lasting value is earned?

"The resulting media exposure was worth millions," you say in a guest post that Cision links to [ http://spinsucks.com/communication/newsjacking/ ]. I say in what way(s)?

It surely shows SM prowess, but what else? Did it help recruiting? Did brief global media attention, even prominent placements in the UK, help boost LFB's budget? Did donations rise?

That example and those questions go the essence of my puzzlement, David: How does one-day (or slightly longer) attention via social media and legacy media translate into meaningful, lasting business advantages for MOST practitioners?

Metrics in this area obviously are hard to quantify, but I still wonder what makes Cision such a strong believer. I'm also skeptical with its blogger's claim that "Newsjacking has become a common practice for the successful PR professional."

Where we disagree, in my view, is over targeted strategies for news tie-ins vs. surfing a trending topic wave in the hope of landing on an appropriate shore. Being in campaign mode isn't necessarily a bad thing, though I fully agree execution in real-time mode and on SM platforms is vital.

Thanks again for engaging in a worthwhile discussion.

David Meerman Scott

Alan, Many thanks for stopping by and leaving this detailed comment. I appreciate it.

While you say the focus of your Ragan article was a Cision post and not my book, you did use the cover of my book as the main image and you referenced me and you referenced me and my work in your article.

I've never said that newsjacking is either / or./ It does not replace other PR techniques.

All PR metrics are difficult to quantify, not just newsjacking. But I think you're missing something with your belief that newsjacking only brings short term attention. Whenever you create an interesting blog post as a way to comment on the news it lives on in the search engines forever. It is not just "one-day attention" as you describe it. For example, somebody (you) writes about my book. I see it in my alerts and comment on it as well as write this post. It is not finished here. My responses to your work live on forever in search engines and whenever anyone is doing research on newsjacking they'll find it. And if they do research on you, they may find this post.


Plus, Alan, even if newsjacking only brought short term attention (which it has the potential to do WAY more than that)... it's what you do with that attention, short or long term, that's important... right?

See, if you can convert short term attention into a longer term relationship of some type, that would be beneficial, no?

Kevin Cesarz

"It surely shows SM prowess, but what else?" Having seen my share of Cision and other monitoring metrics, give me relevant data and engagement any day. Converting that attention to "what's next" is the goal of newsjacking. The coverage is so much more complete - when we can engage the journalist, the customers and the influencers and then anchor that attempt in Google's cache as well as our content inventory. There is a new publishing cycle and Team News and Team PR are a little bitter at having to share.


It's not good form to comment on a thought leader's idea without first reading about it and understanding the core premise...

I see David's concept of newsjacking as geared to small business owners, not professional PR people. These folks need all the dot-connecting ideas they can get.

Small business owners have a hard time figuring out what's worthy of media attention. In fact, I see them getting it backwards: they think, for example, that donating to the Red Cross is Big News, but then completely miss a story about how they're making a difference in the lives of kids who've never before now seen the ocean.

At its core, newsjacking is the art of spotting an opportunity to tie in your story to it. Nothing wrong with that if done as you'd do any publicity: respectfully, tastefully, logically.

David Meerman Scott

Roberta - Good point that newsjacking is for everybody, not just professional communicators! I had written about newsjacking with that in mind but had forgotten to mention it in this discussion with Alan. Thanks for doing so!


I couldn't agree more. The most successful PR efforts are built around compelling and current news. I've found that having respect for and an understanding of the immediacy of the news business is the best way to build relationships with the media that extend beyond the story of the day. @esteves1

Dragan Mestrovic

What I see in Mr. Stamm unqualified opinion is the fear of the new.

But with this kind of simple-minded and arrogant opinion he is not alone out there. The most “Old School PR” agencies do not understand the way communication has changed today.

Furthermore a strategy like “Newsjacking” is a direct threat to their obsolete business model of yesteryear where they used to blow smoke into the eyes of consumers and their clients.

As we live in a customer centric time powered through social media, the rules have dramatically changed.

The customer chooses by himself through research on search engines like Google, with the help of friends, relatives and his social networks which product to buy and which not.

The same rules apply to reporters!

Reporters don’t want to be pushed like the today’s customer doesn’t want to be bothered with sales pitches.

They look out for “interesting content” when they research on the search engines like Google and if you are there as an expert in your field the chance is good to attract them to your published content and get media coverage.

Today any business can utilize the “New Rules of Marketing and PR including Newsjacking” without the old school PR agencies “theater performance” and this scares them to death!

Today any tasks executed on the web in real time brings real time and measurable results.

Real Time PR and Marketing including Newsjacking is trend-setting!

Everybody, no matter if it is a businesses or PR agency which ignores this fact will vanish in the dust of today’s networked and quick economy and that's good.

David Meerman Scott

Thanks Dragan - I do agree that the main reason why people reject newsjacking (and my other ideas) is fear of the new. People like to be comfortable with what they know.

Neil Houghton Accounting

Great post.I like this one.

Theresa Letman

Thanks for sharing your experience. In addition to sharing your wisdom in the book, you're modeleding one way to address a review. While I haven't read your Newsjacking book yet, I ordered it today (and tweeted about it).

One thing I've learned from your prior works: marketing and PR can benefit from new technology. I believe great marketing and PR still requires authentic relationships and the skills of good networking: build a relationship and by doing so, you make everything so much easier when you have a newsworthy topic to pitch to the media. I also understand that's ideal and not always possible and I look forward to learning more from Newsjacking.

Judy Gombita

David, per the earlier-discussed Ryan Holiday book, "Trust Me, I'm Lying," Ryan does indicate how many online-only platforms (which is what Ragan has become) rely upon snark, insinuation and negativity, to get eyeballs and attention.

Maybe this is simply a case study to prove his point.

Plus the idea that it's best to actually READ a book before dumping on it. ;-)


The hardest part about this process is having the stomach to follow reporters' social media posts.

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