How to Get Your Client Quoted as an Expert SourceJul 12, 2021
PR pros know that outstanding pitching skills are the KEY to landing press features. Getting your client quoted as an expert source by a journalist is amazing! But figuring out how to actually DO that can feel impossible.
You need to know what journalists are looking for in order to set yourself (and your client) up for success.
With the right tips and tricks, you’ll be able to strategically position your clients in a way that appeals to media professionals. And then YOU can successfully land those sought-after press features for your clients!
What Do Journalists Look For In An Expert Source?
In order to actually get your client quoted as an expert source, you need to know what journalists are looking for! Just as you vet your prospective clients for PR services, journalists spend time carefully vetting numerous potential sources.
Here are some of the main factors journalists look for when vetting potential sources.
Is Your Client Truly Relevant To This Topic?
This is actually the MOST important factor in getting your expert source selected by journalists. You need to only pitch clients as sources when they’re super relevant to a topic—and when they will have unique, thorough content to share.
Does your source actually have something unique, relevant, and interesting to contribute to that specific story or topic? Of course, we all want to land lots of press features for our clients. But being more targeted, specific, and relevant in how you pitch is the key to landing those media features!
Plus, remember that just like PR pros, journalists are busy. That’s why you need to establish the relevance of your content right off the bat.
To do this, you can describe your clients’ expertise, relevance, and what they’ll share yourself. But you can also include direct quotes in your initial pitch email!
Will Your Client Be Easy To Work With?
Journalists want the process of working with sources to be as stress-free as possible. Think about how easy your client will be to work with. Then, consider how easy you’re making it for the journalist to work with you and your client!
Ease can be a HUGE factor in whether your expert is selected. How convenient will your expert make this process for the journalist? Will they QUICKLY get on a call or Zoom for an interview?
Make sure that even in your initial pitch, journalists know that you understand (and can meet) deadlines with your client as a source.
How Well Will Your Client Communicate In An Interview?
How well will your client be able to communicate their ideas in an interview? Is your source able to clearly (and briefly) explain their thoughts in a way that’s understandable for anyone?
When media professionals vet a potential expert source, they want to know with confidence that your client will be engaging, personable, and knowledgeable. If you can show this to journalists in your pitch email, you’ll have a better chance of landing features.
Consider including an example interview segment with the expert to show their skills. And if your client has never done an interview, don’t worry! You can record a sample interview with the client yourself to use as a sample for journalists.
Is Your Client Actually Qualified To Be A Source On This Topic?
Next, think about whether your client qualified to be quoted as a source on this topic. Credentials act as a minimum standard but aren’t enough to land those press features.
You want to make sure that you pitch your client as an expert only when they’re qualified, but avoid relying too heavily on credentials. Journalists look at so many other factors (like the ones above!) that are way more important.
How To Increase The Chances of Your Client Being Selected As An Expert Source
Now that you know what journalists are looking for, here are some tips and strategies to get your client quoted as an expert source.
Focus On Building Genuine Relationships With Media Professionals
Building media relationships is one of the key pieces of being a successful PR pro. That’s a huge reason why niching down is so important—you really get to know the key contacts in your niche.
When a media contact trusts you, they’ll be more likely to consider your pitches. Even better, they’ll trust that you only send them relevant, interesting sources. You need to position yourself as someone who genuinely cares about helping reporters find the right sources, not just someone who cares about generating their own results.
Be Detailed Enough Without Overwhelming The Journalist
Make sure to provide plenty of detail in your pitch without being overwhelming.
Although you don’t want to write a novel about your client in your pitch, you need to convey who your client is, what they do, and why they’re perfect for this story! Journalists are much more likely to consider your client when you make things super clear and specific in your pitch.
On a similar note, be sure to included details about your client’s availability! It’s super frustrating for journalists to find sources who don’t respond quickly. If you know your client will be readily available for an interview, include those key details in your pitch.
Consider Signing Up For A Service Like HARO (Help A Reporter Out)
You can consider signing up for a service like HARO (Help A Reporter Out).
Now, this shouldn’t be the only way you pitch. But HARO is a great way to find new opportunities and make new connections with media professionals! HARO is a service that allows journalists to participate in mass emails seeking sources for stories.
If you want more information about HARO and how to make the most of it, we just did a masterclass on this topic in The Pitch Lab!
Hone Your Pitching Skills
This final tip is one of the most important for PR as a whole and for getting your client quoted as an expert source.
If you’re pitching your client as an expert, know that the way you frame them matters! The better your fundamental pitching skills, the more likely it is that you’ll see results for your clients.
You can brush up on your skills in The Pitch Lab! We’re all about supporting PR pros in sharpening their skills to become Pitching Powerhouses.
Getting your client quoted as an expert source is rewarding and such a valuable sign to clients that you’re amazing at what you do. These tips and strategies will help you consistently land these expert features for your clients!