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How To Take Advantage Of Trending News Stories

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Nowadays it can be a real challenge to cut through the noise and stand out in the media. But an excellent place to start is by taking advantage of the stories that are already getting noticed.

Breaking news stories, the latest trends and current affairs are more likely to capture your target audience's attention, generate social sharing and encourage brand engagement.


Seizing stories that are trending in the news and online, a concept known as 'newsjacking' is an excellent way to get key messages in the media, provide expert opinions and build thought leadership.

Here are some strategies to follow when looking to take advantage of trending news stories.

Pick the right story
You need to be able to determine which stories are going to work for the message you have crafted. Only leverage stories which would engage your audience and relate directly to your brand and business.

For example, if you run an insurance company and you notice a lot of stories in the media about rising insurance premiums, you can pitch yourself to a relevant journalist as an expert to comment on these issues.

Be prepared
Be proactive and prepare for all possible opportunities. Think about topics which relate to your area of expertise and brainstorm any possible news events that could be related to these topics. You can then reactively pitch to news outlets when a similar story emerges.

Media and social media monitoring
A big part of this process is monitoring the conversations in the media and on social media. By keeping up to date, you will be better able to pick up on stories that will work.

Following journalists and news outlets on Twitter is an excellent way to keep informed of all breaking news stories and find media opportunities. Twitter allows you to organise followers into separate lists which can make it easier to view recent tweets from journalists and news outlets.

Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have streams which showcase what news stories and topics are the most popular with users.

Accessing these trending topics provides an insight into what your target audience is talking about and what content they are engaging with.

Be timely
Timeliness is very important in terms of capitalising on breaking news. It is important to be aware of what's going on in your industry.

When you do find something relevant to your industry and have something appropriate to respond with, it is a good idea to post a response through your social media, through a blog post, or reach out to the media.

Be resourceful
When responding to a trending news story, it is important to be as informative and resourceful as possible. Provide journalists with new material they haven't directly written about before and ensure that you are offering an expert opinion or advice to back up your story.

Offering a different angle to current trending stories is an excellent way to pique a journalist's interest in your story.

It is important to remember that not every news story will be suitable to respond to. You need to approach leveraging trending news stories ethically and sensitively. Think about the ways that you can use real time engagement authentically.

With the right approach, preparation and consideration you can leverage the latest new stories and trends to get noticed.

About the author
Catriona Pollard is the author of From Unknown To Expert, a step by step framework designed to help entrepreneurs develop effective PR and social media strategies to become recognised as influencers in their field.

Catriona is also the director of CP Communications, which merges traditional PR tactics with cutting-edge social media strategies that engage consumers as well as business.