Five ways to successfully use news hijacking

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Five ways to successfully use news hijacking

Increase your brand awareness; everyone wants it, but actually achieving it is not that easy. You can approach this in different ways. One of them is news hijacking, tapping into news that is relevant to your company. It basically means that you create a media opportunity by linking it to current events, providing a way of getting your message in the news. But how do you do it? As a client, what can you expect from your PR agency?

Here are our five tips:

#1 The impact of an event
The most obvious way is to come forward as an expert. For example, this can be done by talking about the consequences of a specific event based on your expertise. A recent example is the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Besides the physical war, there is also a risk of a cyber war. How big is this risk and what is the possible impact? Cybersecurity specialists from CrowdStrike and P-X Systems discussed this with various journalists from, among others. By doing this, they positioned themselves as an authority in the field of cyber security. Another recent example is the Suez blockage, to which we linked up with a blog from logistics service provider Descartes Research also lends itself perfectly to hijack current events. Visma | Reat did this by doing research on how professionals in the Netherlands think about the increasing energy and fuel prices. This resulted in coverage in many publications, including NRC, De Telegraaf and Business Insider.

#2 Opinion about current events
Another way to hijack news is by sharing your opinion about the news or event. Please note: if you want to get successful coverage, you should not be afraid to take a stand. By being critical, you increase the chance of actually getting your opinion published. Editorials are flooded with proposals, so it is crucial to stand out and really add something to the debate. By giving an opposing opinion, you catch the eye. Some successful examples are the opinion pieces of datacentre BIT in the NRC about the arrival of Facebook’s datacentre and transport management service Wuunder in the Financial Times about the rise of dark stores.

#3 Share experiences
What if there aren’t any hot topics that are related to your business? Don’t panic! Events or news that are not directly linked to products or services can still offer possibilities. For example, take opportunities in the field of labour market communication. Keep in mind: the more original the approach, the greater the chance of success. This can be seen in practice in this interview with RTL Nieuws in which three of our clients shared how they handle the return to the office. This interview was not only broadcast, but also published online.

#4 Be creative
The key to success is creativity. The trick is to frame an event in such a way that you make yourself relevant. For example, we achieved two successful hijacks on the Dutch cabinet formation. Yes, really! We linked B2B IT and tech companies to politics. De Ondernemer wrote an article about what CEOs of our clients would do if they were ministers, taking into account the fact that there were many new ministers without any political experience. We also seized our opportunity with the arrival of secretary of state for digitization. What do experts say she should address first? AG Connect published an article in which you could read the opinion of nine of our customers.

#5 The early bird gets the worm
With news hijacking you bring your client’s company to attention in multiple ways. This may have to do with your client’s expertise or core business, but it doesn’t have to. There are also plenty of opportunities to appear in the news playfully or creatively. However, what always applies with news hijacking is that there is a need to act quickly. The faster you respond to something, the better. Before you know it, the opportunity is gone. This means that you have to continuously monitor what happens in the news and have an opinion or reaction ready to be published in no time.

As PR specialists, that’s exactly what we do! Now, we’re off to scan the headlines.


By Maartje Grossouw, MD of Marcommit