SXSW: You’ve now been preempted

Look back at this past week’s Super Tuesday. With all the news surrounding the Republican playing field, talk of sex, lies and budget and who’s taking which ten states — Obama decides to have his first press conference in six months. Guess what steals the show. Rewind to Obama’s prior trip to Australia. In the midst of all press surrounding his trip, a company publicizes free crocodile insurance for Mr. President, a story which results in 4,969 media hits. Also in recent news recall the fire that broke out on Richard Branson’s private island property, where Kate Winslet, (physically) strong woman she is, carried out Branson’s beloved mother to save her from the fire. The London fire brigade then launches a real time blog, offering Kate fire rescue training, along with rescue tips of their own, which results in 1,787 media hits.

Call these efforts newsjacking at its finest: Injecting your ideas or putting a spin to your brand into breaking news, in real-time blogging, to generate media coverage for yourself or your brand. In order to do this we must change what we’ve learned to garner attention, but it is challenging to go beyond the traditional mindset. On the web, you are what you publish. Companies are fearful by not first running things by their attorneys, and secondly they want to know and understand the ROI of engagement. In order to be successful, speed is required with instant reaction in the marketplace. Companies need to focus on something really interesting going on, and from there surround it with your ideas. So few companies are able to hit at the right moment — campaigns are generated from last year’s data, all based on long term planning. They forget about the NOW moment and the short windows of opportunity.

Companies with measured success often set up a war room with real time news feed so they are prepared to strike when the fire is hot.  We have opportunities ahead to set our clients and our business in the midst of newsbreaking events.  Even the speaker, David Meerman Scott, is planning his next newsjacking effort and wants your ideas.  Keyword is Marley, but that’s all I can say.

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