This week the U.S. Government shut down. It’s a serious story, with implications abounding. Unemployment, services cut off to those in need, chaos in Washington, D.C. (well maybe that’s far-fetched .. it’s already chaotic there). However, one side-effect of the shutdown affected me personally. I took this personal connection and turned it into a chance to tell a story to help get attention for a non-profit that needs attention.
I work with the non-profit “Honor Flight.” Our local hub, Talons Out Honor Flight, is working to take World War II Veterans from Southwest Michigan to Washington, D.C. to honor them for their sacrifices so many years ago.
However, because of the government shutdown this week the World War II memorial is closed to the public. This means WWII Vets with other Honor Flights weren’t going to be able to see the memorial that took us 60 years to build. If you’ve seen the news, you know that’s not what happened. Instead, the Veterans “stormed the gates” and went into the memorial. In actuality, several things likely came together, but the were allowed to visit their memorial.
We decided this was a good opportunity to tell the Talons Out Honor Flight story, to help us get exposure for our inaugural flight later this month. The plan worked, too. A local TV station – WXMI FOX17 – asked to talk to us about the shutdown and our hub’s mission this month. So we put them in touch with one of our Veterans. After the interview aired and the story went online, we shared it on our social media accounts. I even managed to catch the eye of the man who coined the term newsjacking: David Meerman Scott.
— David Meerman Scott (@dmscott) October 3, 2013
From there, we gained the attention of Nancy Schwartz with the website http://gettingattention.org who shared our story on their website. We truly newsjacked the situation, and got attention. The goal of course is to build links to our website, but also to gain attention from possible World War II Veterans and supporters interested in donating. Here’s hoping!
The lesson here is that you can newsjack a current event that relates to you and your cause, when you do it with class and relevancy. It also helps to have a good story that’s interesting to the reporter you’re pitching. And if you want to know more about how to newsjack, read David Meerman Scott’s website. He’s a great resource.