Newsjacking: Businesses Get Right in Line With Apple’s iPhone 5

Have you noticed? People are already getting in line to be the first purchasers of the iPhone 5. The first to get on line did so exactly eight days before stores will actually be selling the iPhone 5 (set for Friday, September 21).

Did you notice something else about the first people on line? They’re all using the line as a PR tool for companies looking to piggyback on the huge media attention the iPhone 5 is garnering. That’s right. The iPhone 5 lines are attracting some awfully clever newsjackers. Newsjacking, as you may already know, is the process of taking advantage of a huge news story and then tying your PR or marketing message to that event.

In London, the first two guys on line in front of Apple's Covent Garden store are using the media attention in the hope of raising thousands of pounds for Cancer Research UK. In New York City, the first two people in line (arriving last Thursday at 8 AM) were using their place in line to get the word out about their social media startup (Vibe). The next two online are sponsored by a company called Gazelle, which providing the two standees with food, chairs, branded clothing and even a tent. To top it off, the two will be getting free iPhone 5s.

Don’t be shocked to see a lot more “selling” in the lines before the first iPhone is actually sold.

If you’re not using newsjacking for your brand or clients yet, why aren't you? It’s easy:

  • Read the news, every day.

  • Find the story that you can logically hitch your story to.

  • Be fast (you’re not the only one thinking about the story).

  • Don’t be obvious and don’t be obnoxious. When riding on the coattails of a story, try to bring something of value.

Do you have newsjacking success stories? We’d love to hear them.

Follow Jon Gelberg: @jon_gelberg