February 20, 2019 (Updated )
When writing any article, expert quotes and case studies are, quite simply, essential. A vital way of adding validity and context, besides the actual content and bulk of the article, they’re the next most important thing.
Expert interviews give you valuable and trustworthy context – which, in turn, gives your audience different sides and angles to explore, instead of a singular writer’s voice.
Regardless of what side (if any) you’re supporting in a piece, you need a second voice to either back up your point or disagree with you, so you can argue against them.
In doing this you instantly elevate the authority of your content by letting your reader know that the topic has been thoroughly analysed and explored. But just how do you find expert spokespersons and commentators for your article?
Every Type Of Person Is On Social Media (Almost)
We all know that journalists often live on Twitter, but it’s also a great place to find spokespeople and commentators for articles.
Using the Twitter hashtag #journorequest doesn’t just reach your followers, as many business experts and PRs regularly monitor this hashtag to help get you in touch with who or what you’re looking for, meaning your tweet goes out to a much larger following.
You can also use Twitter’s advanced search function to find people who have tweeted certain phrases recently, or have related keywords in their bio that indicate they might be a useful source of information on any given topic.
What makes the perfect #journorequest?
Not all #journorequests are made equal. Keep your request as short and pithy as possible, while keeping in key details like the type of piece you’re composing (it is a feature, opinion piece, or a listicle, for example), the exact type of person you need (a case study, expert, or business owner), what they’ll need to do (a quick chat, or answering some questions) and how best to contact you. Oh, and the hashtag, of course.
In general though, Twitter is designed for people to quickly and easily share their views. Creating a Twitter thread is another easy way to get people naturally commenting on your topic, as well as creating a snowball effect and getting others involved in the discussion too. If it’s a controversial or timely topic, pull together some current links or opinions to help spark off the debate, and follow up with anyone who says anything interesting.
LinkedIn is also a good place to search for commentators. As a network with a professional focus, your own personal network can sometimes be the most helpful in connecting you with what you’re seeking. There’s also a hashtag feature, as on Twitter, which allows you to identify relevant posts. If you find what you’re looking for then you can easily just message the individual and take it from there.
PR Contacts Are Incredibly Useful. No, Really.
PR contacts are incredibly important to have. They usually have a large database of clients in different sectors, so can usually help more often than not, and are a lifeline when you’re struggling on a deadline.
There are many ways to get in touch and uphold a relationship with PRs, such as emailing them or even messaging them over Twitter, but essentially it’s about working out what works for you. It’s a very well-known secret is that PR’s want to help you – it benefits them and it benefits you.
Building a range of relationships with PRs isn’t hard, but is vital so that you can easily approach them whenever you need to. During urgent deadlines especially, it’s worthwhile reaching out and using PRs as a second pair of hands to help with your feature.
Do keep in mind that sending over regular and forward feature requests will help you get content way in advance, before your deadline, and minus additional stress. If you haven’t already got a forward and regular features list, it’s worthwhile creating one and sending it over. Remember, PRs are also a great resource for getting quotes from their clients fast.
PR Platforms And Three Quarters
Alongside directly contacting PRs, another alternative is using PR platforms. Most, if not all, are free for journalists to use when sending out media requests.
Some platforms, such as JournoLink, are especially useful as you’ll get the responses sent straight into your inbox, as well as being able to sign up to receive inspiration for future features using their events calendar.
Sending a media request via a PR platform also gives you the benefit of contacting spokespersons and commentators directly, instead of through a middle-man.
How Using JournoLink Can Help Journalists
As well as being able to view scores of relevent press releases on their online portal, JournoLink connects journalists with small bussiness owners directly. Just tell them your request and deadline and they’ll match it to the relevent people.
They’re usually quite easy to do so, and most don’t always require you to sign up if you only wanted to send out a one-off request. However, it’s often worthwhile doing, as it makes the process of sending out multiple requests a lot easier.
PR platforms are also a great place to get access to press releases from businesses across different locations and sectors – this is a great mine of potential stories to browse through.
With published press releases, you can take quotes and content material to add to your piece, or instead use this as a topic guideline to contact the individual/ business for more relevant content.
Academic Scholars Know Their Stuff
You’ll probably have used Google Scholar at some point during your education, but it’s also an excellent way to find quotes and context for your piece.
You’re able to search for specific keywords and scholars to help you find relevant journals and sources. Plus it comes with the added bonus that using academically respected publications and scholars add more weight and gravitas to your piece.
Google Scholar also handily shows related articles to what you’re searching for, so you are able to find new references much easily as and when needed.
It’s similarly worth checking out the research sections on individual universities’ websites. You can go through different topics to find professors that are experts in the field you’re looking at and there’s often contact information to encourage journalists to get in touch. After all, it gives the University free publicity, so they’re usually keen to help.
However you do it, getting experts into your pieces is a vital way to add validity and depth. There are many tools you can use to source material – it doesn’t matter which one you use, but it’s about giving your content an edge of authenticity and authority, as well as making it instantly more shareable.
This sponsored piece was produced in partnership with JournoLink, a service which helps to seamlessly link journalists with small business experts when they need them.