Forget Newsjacking: Here’s PR’s New Secret Weapon

by PR Coach on September 10, 2013

marketing gets twerking

Is twerking the newest PR secret weapon?

It’s a slow news week. Nothing happening in Syria right now though CNN is just dying for conflict to break out to generate huge fall TV ratings. I figured it’s a great time to take a look at PR’s newest secret weapon.

It’s just 14 days old but twerking has broken out everywhere. Since Miley Cyrus’s eye-popping, herky-jerky, twerking performance at the Aug 26th MTV Video Music Awards, you can’t go anywhere without reading or hearing about twerking.

We haven’t seen anything like this since South Korea’s PSY danced his way Gangnam -style across the Internet to his 10 seconds of fame and fortune.

Forget newsjacking. PSY who?  Twerking has captured our attention everywhere from mainstream news coverage to watercooler conversations.

Why should PR people care?

Cyrus has proven the old public relations saw that “there’s no such thing as bad publicity” despite the shock and awe to knitters in Newport, natterers in Nashville and church ladies in Chesapeake.

I mean everyone has an opinion about her performance. Isn’t that a PR pros dream? To have your client’s video go viral and create a controversy?

As social media experts, we need to assess the impact and importance of this social media sensation.

Wikipedia claims the word “twerking” has been around for 20 years, since DJ Jubilee recorded the dance tune “Do The Jubilee All” in 1993 when he chanted, “Twerk baby, twerk baby, twerk, twerk, twerk.”.

It’s everywhere on the internet. There are already 19.6 million hits for the phrase on Google search and more than 161,000 Google news stories.

It dominates YouTube where there are more than 1.8 million “Miley Cyrus twerking” videos online. You can watch it here along with more than 1,260,832 of your close personal friends.

It’s still trending big-time on Twitter and Facebook too.

Marketing has embraced the Twerking bandwagon

get your twerking goods

Never missing an opportunity to sell something nobody needs, marketing has jumped on twerking big-time too.

You can buy “how-to twerk like Miley” videos.

Miley’s foam fingers? We’ve got them.

Twerking T-shirts ($28.95-50.95+), exercise pants ($36.95), ballcaps ($23.95), bags ($24.95), iPhone cases ($55.95) water bottles ($38.95), pillows ($79.95) and neck ties ($37.95)? Not to mention posters, stickers, postcards, luggage tags coffee mugs and much more Yep! Get ‘em here.

Guess what the most popular Halloween costume will be this year?

Mainstream news can’t get enough of the story. Are they twerking serious?

Late night TV talk show hosts have been all over the topic like a dirty, umm, shirt.

Jimmy Kimmel and his team created a “Worst Twerk Fail EVER – Girl Catches Fire” prank. It shot up the YouTube charts and in just a week got 3.1 million+ views before he revealed the fake video and the stuntwoman who performed it.

Twerking Poised for PR Press Release Posterity

I told you twerking is going to be important to public relations.

Content marketing pros rejoice. Including the word twerking in your latest blog post, tweet, Facebook post or Pinterest pic is almost a guarantee for search engine optimization heaven and page one on Google search.

Press releases? Putting twerking in your headline and lede is almost a guarantee for news coverage. That is until all hell breaks loose in Syria and you need a brand new, newsjacking strategy.

Oxford Online Dictionary adds twerk

Oxford Online Dictionary adds twerk

Just in case you don’t think twerking is important to PR writing, it’s already made it into the Oxford Dictionaries Online which is usually a prelude to landing in the real Oxford Dictionaries in the future.

Curious what other important words you’re going to need for your next news release? How about Me Time, Jorts, Phablet, Emoji, Bitcoin, Derp, Cakepop, Buzzworthy, Fauxhawk and Food Baby? Or Girl Crush, Selfie and Squee? All new to OED online this past August.

Then there are a whole series of new, need-to-know abbreviations including Apols, BYOD, Yom, TL:DR, Grats and Srsly. Unless you live and breathe by texting on your smartphone, you won’t have a clue.

You can see more of these vital words you can use in this YouTube video Miley Cyrus Twerking Into History from the funny folks at SourceFed or this Wired article.

Sexting sounds so quaint and passé except to your grandma and aging boomers like NYC mayoralty candidate Anthony Weiner.

That’s the cross we bear in public relations.

We need to monitor. We need to know. We must interpret. And, most important, it’s critical for PR/content marketers to share and engage in social media. For better or worse.

Sadly, I must wrap up this twerking post. I don’t know about you but I’ve already moved on from this whole twerking thing.

Though I would be pleased as twerk if you’d sign up for my blog or follow me on Twitter @theprcoach. Things are never dull in PR and social media.

Author: Jeff Domansky 

Visuals: Miley Cyrus at VMA, Zazzle, Oxford Dictionaries Online