This post by Dan Moyle was originally published on the Talons Out Honor flight blog. Thanks for sharing, Dan, and kudos for your great work here.
Last 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, the shutdown also affected me in an unexpected way—I turned the headlines into a story to get attention (and donations, I hope) for Honor Flight.
Our local hub, Talons Out Honor Flight, takes 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 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 they 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. And the plan worked. 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 via social media. And I even managed to catch the eye of the man who coined the term newsjacking: David Meerman Scott (see his tweet at top).
From there, we gained the attention of Nancy Schwartz, blogger at GettingAttention.org, who shared our story. We truly newsjacked the situation, and got attention. The goal, of course, is to to gain attention from 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 your organization 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. If you want to learn more about how to newsjack, David Meerman Scott is your best guide!
Has your org communicated on how it’s been affected by the government shutdown, or newsjacked the shutdown? Share your experiences here.
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