Providing commentary is a great way to get coverage for your brand on a relevant topic. It’s your opportunity to position yourselves as experts in your field, and you may even get a link.
Sometimes you might be approached directly by a journalist, other times they might put a wider call out for opinions, in which case you’re essentially pitching against numerous other businesses to get your comments used.
There’s an art to it. Both to having your quotes used, and to crafting something that positions you well and is interesting to read. Here are some tips:
Be snappy and succinct – journalists want something punchy and concise when they’re only including a couple of sentences at a time from the experts they’ve approached. Take some time to make sure your quotes say as much as possible in as few words as you can. Remove filler and make sure you aren’t repeating yourself.
But not too PR-heavy – snappy is great, but what you don’t want is a series of straplines. When journalists reach out to businesses for comments they’re doing so for their valuable expertise and opinion, not for over-polished statements they can find on your website.
Say something original – this is probably the most important thing to bear in mind. If a journalist asks for tips on saving money, and you suggest ‘planning a budget’, expect it to be the 50th reply saying this, and unless you’re the household name among these replies, your chances of being quoted are probably slim.
Write more than you need to – because you don’t know what other people have said, it’s a bit of a guessing game. You also don’t know which ideas, opinions or tips are going to strike a chord with that particular writer, so don’t be afraid to offer more than you think they’re likely to use – it gives them more options and you’ve got a better chance of being featured in the finished piece.
But don’t summarise the topic – remember, you’re just providing insights to accompany the article, the journalist will be introducing the topic themselves. If you replied to the saving money tips request by first explaining why it’s important, and perhaps mentioning that there are a range of ways to save cash, you’ll be wasting your time.
Be quick off the mark – this is another really important one, especially if the request hasn’t come in to you personally, and you’ll be competing with lots of other businesses and individuals to get your quotes used. Even if you’re within the agreed deadline, if they’ve got what they need ahead of time, they may well start early, so get in quick to give yourself the best chance.
Consider who the quote is coming from – there’s sometimes a tendency to go as senior as possible to add weight to your quote, and while this isn’t a bad thing, it’s probably more important to make sure they’re relevant and best-positioned to answer the questions. If you can, try and avoid using someone with a sales or marketing job title to be your spokesperson, or consider tweaking job titles to have an alternate, more PR-friendly title.
Pay attention to formatting – while we’re often told to break down large chunks of content for people skim-reading online, using bullet points isn’t usually a good idea for PR commentary, because they can’t easily quote you in this format. They may well use bullet points within their wider article, but that’s not where your quotes come in.
Go the extra mile – before you hit send, consider whether there’s anything else you can provide them with that might help their article. Do you have some research they might be able to use? Would it make their life easier if you sent headshots of who you’re quoting to speed up the process? Being as helpful as you can not only increases your chance of coverage, but they’re more likely to come back to you in future.
Have an opinion – I can’t stress this enough. If a journalist is reaching out for opinions on a topic, then you need to take a stance. This doesn’t mean being controversial for the sake of being controversial, but you can’t sit on the fence every time. While your commentary may not be used every time, it’s always good to keep on the radar of relevant journalists.
While your commentary may not be used every time, it’s always good to keep on the radar of relevant journalists.
Of course, if that sounds like a lot of work, get in contact and we’ll be happy to help you