Jun 13th 2016

Issues jumping – when time really is of the essence

At Babel we’re always keeping our eyes peeled for news items that are relevant for clients. Whether it’s scouring the morning papers or keeping an eye on Twitter for breaking news, we’re always on the lookout for stories that we can, on behalf of our clients, respond to rapidly, to make sure they are included as a thought leader in the articles to break from the story.

Issues jumping – dubbed by some as ‘news hijacking’ – gives us the opportunity to get our clients not only into publications that would usually overlook smaller companies, but also into relevant, breaking news stories which position them as a leading industry expert to a much wider audience. By offering an interesting angle on a current news story, we have an opportunity to enable our clients to position themselves as an authority on the subject and often, infer why their company is part of the solution.

Take data breaches as an example; barely a week goes by when we don’t hear about a massive data breach where cyber criminals have gained access to consumer data by hacking a system. Due to the sheer volume of these data breaches, it is near impossible to issues jump all of them and we have to make sure we use our time wisely to ensure the opportunities we pursue, are the right ones. So when a breach is so large scale that the number of accounts affected hits the million mark (or above), or when the breach in question affects someone with a high profile, we know that this is the time to act and speed is of the essence.

One of our security clients, Intercede is an expert in digital identity, and has been arguing for years that password authentication is an inadequate way of protecting our online selves. When Mark Zuckerberg himself fell victim to hackers last week, we had no time to waste. Working with Intercede (and using our own knowledge of what the client feels comfortable saying), we quickly crafted a comment which was then pitched into the media. The key here was timing – Intercede’s comment was available before the media had written up their stories. Also understanding which stories are going to spread like wildfire is vital when issues jumping. Many publications are keen to write anything Facebook related because it’s good for their own SEO, and draws in more subscribers, so we were able to tap into the fact that so many journalists were looking to find an interesting way of writing about the news.

The result? Widespread coverage in national and technology media, including the Daily Mail, the Express, The Register, SC Magazine and IT Pro, along with over 200 other publications (including the Wimbledon Guardian). When it comes to issues jumping, it really is survival of the fastest. Those who are able to identify the best opportunity, draft a killer comment and have it on a journalist’s desk before they have finished their coco-pops, are the ones who will see similarly outstanding results.