How to get quoted in the media

How to Get Quoted in the Media

You’ve established your personal brand. How do you let the world know who you are and what you’re selling? Consider pitching a story to the media. But first you need to prepare to maximize your chances of being quoted and becoming a reliable source for reporters.

Not every interview or interaction with a reporter will result in an article. Some discussions are meant to foster a relationship and build the reporter’s confidence that you are a “good interview.”

Here are what I call the Ten Commandments of an interview that will lead to your being quoted more often.

Thou shalt…

Take a Position

  • Develop a point of view — be specific
  • Wishy-washy perspectives are not interesting
  • Be controversial


Good:  Don’t be fooled, Google is still winning the search battle.”

Bad:  “All search engines have their strong points.”

Use a compelling “grabber”

  • 10 words or less rule
  • Fewer syllables are better
  • Verbosity is fatal


Good:  Cigarettes are nothing more than drug delivery devices.

Bad:  Even though people know cigarettes are bad for them, they persist in smoking because they like the taste of nicotine, which cigarette companies are counting on.

Use Metaphors

  • Reporters like punchy, colorful statements
  • Beware of clichés


Good:  “China stiff-armed us with trade barriers.”

Bad:  “Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.”

Use Examples

  • Two of the most beautiful words to a reporter’s ears: “For example,”
  • Get permission from clients


Good:  “For example, has pushed everyone out of its space.”

Bad:  “There are a lot of companies plying their wares on the Internet. Some are doing better than others.”

Use Analogies

  • Use striking language to drive home your points
  • Compare to something reporter will recognize


Good:  “He streaked to the top of his company like a meteor.”

Bad:  “He had a lot of luck and also did his homework so he made quick progress moving through the ranks.”

Make Yourself Available

  • Return phone calls
  • Text message or email
  • Call even past deadline


Good:  “I’ll call you at 2 o’clock.”

Bad:  Repeated lengthy delays.

Know What the Reporter Writes About

  • Google the reporter and read the last few stories he has written
  • Follow on Twitter and other social media networks
  • Shape your pitch based on reporter’s hot buttons


Good:  “I just read your post about Hometown Bank failing. I worked for the bank before their troubles began and I can point to three things that I believe derailed them.”

Bad:  “Hi, do you cover the banking industry?”

Invite Reporters to Speak on Panels With You

  • Reporters are looking to build their reputations as experts
  • Team with them on panels


Good:  Invite a reporter to be on a panel with you to establish your expertise and hers. Be available for an interview when she writes about the topic again.

Bad:  Send reporter your speech and never follow up again.

Introduce Reporters to People They Want to Meet

  • Find out who reporters want to meet
  • Arrange introductions


Good:  If you know an important business executive or celebrity a reporter wants to meet, arrange an introduction – even if the eventual story doesn’t mention you or your company. Build good will.

Bad:  Tell the reporter you can’t help him when he asks if you can make an introduction because you don’t think you will get quoted.

Build Relationships

  • Treat reporters like clients
  • Send articles, case studies, and other relevant materials.


Good:  Lengthy courtship

Bad:  Call only when you want something

Building your brand takes time — and it takes time to build relationships with reporters. Ask yourself, “How can I help this reporter,” instead of “How can this reporter help me?”

If you do that, over time you will find yourself becoming a “go-to” source for the media, and recognized as a subject expert by your clients and potentials clients.

Have you been quoted in the media?

What worked for you? How did you make it happen?


Leave a Reply


  1. Excellent article, Jeannette. Being on both sides of the fence (as a professional journalist who also has my own brand and likes publicity) I wholeheartedly agree with respecting the media’s time and not having any unreasonable expectations.

    I love to provide the reporter with as much info as I feel would be helpful when they are writing something about me or my niche. what really bugs me is when the reporter doesn’t bother to read the resource material, and asks me questions that are answered in the material I have sent. I call that lazy.

    • Doreen — agree that reporters want to be spoon fed. My worst nightmare happened when I was in the agency business and I pitched a client to Fortune magazine. It was a topic entirely new to the reporter and he spent two hours talking to my client and I sent him follow-up material. When the story came out, the reporter had also called other sources — and never mentioned my client! When I called to ask why, he said he forgot. Duh.

  2. Good suggestions, Jeannette. When I had a consulting company a few years ago I contacted business magazines and talked about the fact that I was the only Western woman ever who had held a senior management position in a 100 percent Saudi owned company in Riyadh. That resulted in an article about me and what I did that was very useful for promoting my company.

    • Catarina — you have an amazing background. I’m sure there are a lot of reporters who would like to know more and write about you now.

  3. You have given some great tips! It is important to avoid cliches and use words that will captivate your audience.

    In the late 1990’s when I was intent on being a journalist, I worked as junior editor. I remember preparing my questions for interview and travelling around London to meet with music artists, producers, writers and so on. A lot of my articles were published, in fact I have a few hard copies and electronic copies.

  4. The only time I was quoted in the media was in college. It was in relation to someone raising a fuss about Ayn Rand’s anti-servitude campaign that I was doing an internship for. So I guess I made it into a mention due to the controversial nature of the program (and I’m not much of a proponent of Rand’s any more two decades later). In any case, when I decide to, I can be a good pot stirrer and should figure out how to harness that ability for media mentions.

    • Jeri — Are there reporters or book reviewers you admire? You could read a few of their latest stories and fashion a pitch based on their interests.

    • RoseMary — don’t wait for the phone to ring. Identify the reporter(s) who would be interested in your novel, and contact them!

  5. Thanks for this post Jeannette. As a former journalist I am pretty much on board with everything you say. And although I haven’t worked in journalism for more than a decade, it’s really good to be reminded of effective presentation, especially now I am trying to relaunch myself and my new blog! Mediums change but messages, and the delivery of them, stay the same…

  6. Great article, I agree with all your points. I think it is geared for someone to be quoted on the news. This is where I have some minor issue, not with how to get quoted, but what it is. As you stated the news like small quirky quotes to use, which in itself, removes knowledge from the conversation, delegated them to simple quotes, removing some of the information which is vital.
    Look at an example, which is listed above.

    Good: Cigarettes are nothing more than drug delivery devices.

    Bad: Even though people know cigarettes are bad for them, they persist in smoking because they like the taste of nicotine, which cigarette companies are counting on.

    Maybe the first one is good, for a quote to be remembered, but in actuality, the 2nd is more informative about the topic. Our society has become accustomed to everything to be fast, and quick, even information. In the speed, we have lost the ability to listen.