Over the past week, I've noticed a bunch of people attempting to newsjack the stories of Prince Harry's Las Vegas romp. As you have likely heard many times by now, naked photos surfaced of the Prince cavorting with equally undressed women in a hotel suite.
While most newsjacking attempts went unnoticed, several were highly successful.
Newsjacking works when you have a tie to the story
The pattern is quite consistent – the more of a tie you have to the story, the better your success at newsjacking.
The location of the Prince Harry photos was the luxurious Encore Wynn Hotel. The owner of the hotel, Steve Wynn publicly waived the tens of thousands of dollars hotel bill, which got the Wynn into, by Google News count, 3,657 stories. For example, this one from the UK’s Daily Mail Living like a king: Prince Harry's £30,000 hotel bill 'waived' by Vegas billionaire is essentially a huge, free advertisement for the luxury Encore Wynn Hotel complete with descriptions and photos of the property as well as the royal suite.
This is a perfect example of newsjacking success. For the price of waiving a few hotel nights, the Wynn gets mentioned in thousands of stories. This isn't the first time that the Wynn has newsjacked. Here's another example I wrote about a few years ago: Wynn Resorts real-time Paris Hilton PR triumph.
Another example of success was the $10 million offer made to Prince Harry by Steven Hirsch, CEO of Vivid Entertainment, to appear in a porn film titled The Trouble with Harry. The offer was shared with TMZ who wrote about it in a story titled Prince Harry Offered $10 Million to Bone on Film. If you click over to the story, you can see the actual written offer document, which makes for some fun reading. This story appeared in 642 mainstream media stories according to Google News.
Again, the Vivid Entertainment newsjack succeeded because the company produces pornographic films and Harry was caught in photos with his pants down. By sharing the actual offer with TMZ, the story was sure to be picked up in mainstream media.
Lessons from Prince Harry
The lesson learned here is if you want to newsjack successfully, you've got to have a legitimate tie to the story. If you do, and you put out there, journalists who are hungry for second paragraph content for their news reports may include you in their stories.
The other lesson, is you've got to be quick. Stories like this break in a matter of hours and if you dilly-dally, you won't be seen as reporters are writing their stories.