I recently taught the “4 Cs journalists use to evaluate sources” with my Inner Circle members, and I want to share them with you here.
When you’re pitching a journalist and asking them to quote your expert instead of others, here’s what they are looking for, in reverse order of importance:
Credentials: Many PR pros rely too much on credentials. “He’s been CEO since 2015 and has an MBA from Harvard” isn’t enough to justify including. Those are just minimum standards that get your foot in the door.
Clarity: Can your source succinctly explain their POV without jargon and hype? Do they know how to speak in sound bites (even for print/online)? A good way to prove this is to include a link to a short interview segment where your expert demonstrates this. If they don’t have a media clip, just shoot a quick interview with them yourself.
Convenience: This used to not matter as much, but now can often be a deciding factor. How quickly can your source be ready to hop on the phone or Zoom for an interview? Believe it or not, many experts respond to journalists’ queries by saying, “That sounds great, I’m free a week from Tuesday.” Right in your initial pitch, prove that you understand deadlines and can deliver your source almost on-demand.
Content: This is by far the most important of the “4 Cs.” Your source can have all the acronyms in the world after their name, but if they aren’t going to say something unique or interesting, there’s no point in pitching them. And today’s journalists don’t have time to do an exploratory interview to find this out. They need you to drop direct quotes right into your initial pitch so they can see that any time they spend talking with your source will be fruitful. Or, increasingly, when you get this right, they just grab the quotes from your email and drop them in their story.
These four nuggets were part of a training session I gave called “Get Your People Quoted More.” We also covered:
This session is available only to members of my Inner Circle. If you’d like to learn more about the program and how you can access this training, you should register for our Wait List and learn from the free bonus material I’m sharing over the coming weeks.
This article was originally published on June 2, 2021
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