Creating quotes for journalists is very often the responsibility of the PR team and here is some very wise advice about how to go about it from Brussels-based media trainer Laura Shields of Red Thread. It resonated with us when we saw it on Linked In, and we are delighted that she’s allowed us to share it here.
A quick tip for anyone who emails quotes to journalists:
To avoid them quoting you out of context, limit how much ‘quote’ you send them.
Typical quotes in print or online are one or two (short) sentences maximum.
If you send the journalist two huge paragraphs, they will cherry-pick what they find interesting. And it’s often not the bit that’s important to you. I have seen this happen to experts many times.
PR people know this. But they often get steamrollered by colleagues or clients who want to see certain language included, toned down, or padded with detail.
But there is no safety or control in beige-hosing journalists with large amounts of wishy-washy text that they will mostly discard.
Yes, being quotable is a risk.
But you can control some of that risk by limiting what the journalist can pick from.
And by drafting a zinger of a quote (see picture) that makes them roll over with all fours in the air. They rarely need more than two sentences.
Being quotable and retaining control requires organisations to make choices about what to leave out, as well as what to include.
PR people know this.
It’s why creating good quotes is hard.
Listen to your PR advisers.
If you want advice on effective messaging, do get in contact and find out how we can help.