Newsjacking is an integral skill for any digital PR agency, and more recently (in the last five years or so) has arguably drawn level with meticulously-planned campaigns in terms of its importance.
Now, more so than ever, the news agenda is fickle and everchanging – as are the interests of journalists – which means that campaigns planned months in advance aren’t always relevant at the time of launch. Newsjacking, in the form of timely, thoughtful expert quotes, will by its own nature always be relevant, which means that having a roster of clients capable of commenting on newsworthy events is so important.
New research recently undertaken by our team – which can be viewed in all its glory on our blog – looked at thousands of ResponseSource and HARO media requests to find out which expert is required the most by journalists, for comments and the like.
The study uncovered that psychologists are the most sought-after experts, followed closely by doctors, health experts, and business owners. Other commonly-asked for professions included the likes of nutritionists, personal trainers, dermatologists, teachers, and relationship experts, all of whom made the top 20.
Not only did we look at the specific professions being requested by journalists, but also the sector from whence these experts came. This part of the study showed that those in the health sector are most valuable, as they accounted for a massive 48% of all requests in the six-month period that the research took place. This was followed by home & garden (46%), business & finance (30%), and men’s interest (whatever this is (24%)).
To answer why psychologists have suddenly come to the fore in terms of their worth to journalists, you’ve only got to look at the events that have taken place over the past year and a half, and the mental effect this has had on the population as a whole.
Journalists have forever valued the use of experts in articles, as it gives what they are writing about a degree of authority, which – in the profession – is sometimes… ahem … lacking. I would posit that the increased need for psychologists’ input in articles is not only a by-product of the increase in articles about mental health as influenced by the pandemic, but also as part of a wider trend of a greater concentration on this topic as a whole. You literally only have to look at the last few media requests for psychologists to note the trend; one is on the topic of winter morale boost, one is on productivity, and one on stress tips.
It’s absolutely vital for any digital PR agency to have a solid roster of experts onboard, or to develop these contacts if this is not the case. Not only are they crucial for your newsjacking needs, but also to lend weight to your PR campaigns, and respond to journalist requests as and when they come through. I’m not saying that you need to go out and find a psychologist to chat up straight away, but I’m also not saying you shouldn’t do this.