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Can I Quote You on That? 5 Quotes to Better Hone Your Own Quotability

Estimated reading time: 4 minute(s)

Have you ever wondered why certain reporters and media outlets tend to quote the same individuals time and time again? There are numerous reasons, but a key one lies in quotability.

“A quotation in a speech, article or book is like a rifle in the hands of an infantryman. It speaks with authority.” – Brendan Behan, Irish poet

In other words, landing a quote in a reputable media outlet provides a business with immediate credibility and authority. If you’re quoted by a reporter, it shows readers, viewers and potential customers that you’re someone whose opinion matters. It establishes your reputation as a thought leader in your industry or field.

To enhance your chances of being quoted by the media, it is critical to work on becoming quotable — that almost mystical quality to speak in such a way as to relay information in a succinct, engaging and entertaining manner. It’s the not-so-secret sauce that will earn you status as a go-to source for future stories.

Here are five quotes to help you enhance your quotability:

“The noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding.” —Leonardo da Vinci

Before you can offer a compelling and unforgettable quote, you must understand what the story is about and what the reporter wants. Sure, this may sound simple, but it is critical. Most media interviews aren’t an opportunity to ratchet up the sales talk or go on about the greatness of your business. That’s a surefire way to not getting quoted — not to mention that if it’s no value to the reporter, they will think twice before interviewing you again. Fully grasping the tenor and topic of a media opportunity by providing insightful, non-promotional answers will allow you to come across as the quotable expert you are.

“The facts, ma’am. Just the facts.” —Sgt. Joe Friday

Sure, providing accurate, factual information is important when speaking with a reporter. But a Joe Friday, just-the-facts-ma’am approach doesn’t usually lend itself to being quoted. More often, reporters will paraphrase what you told them, or if it’s a common piece of knowledge, they may not attribute it at all. To improve your chances at landing a quote, you want to go beyond the facts and showcase your expertise and insight. After all, that’s why a reporter wants to talk to you. Give them something of value that they’d be foolish to leave out of their story.

“Brevity is the soul of wit.” —William Shakespeare

Our modern media world strives to get its information and insight into as few words as possible. As such, during an interview, aim for concision with your responses. Not only will you make old Will Shakespeare proud, but your brevity is more likely to be included verbatim in an article than a rambling, long-winded reply.

“Eighty percent of success in life is just showing up.” —Woody Allen

Although much about improving your quotability is in how you construct your responses, sometimes quotability is about who shows up first. Reporters ride and die by deadlines. They often may cast a wide net in search of a quote or comment but will only include the first one or two to reply. In other words, when a reporter calls, be ready to pick up the phone (or answer the email).

“Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do.” —Dr. Benjamin Spock

Remember: You’re the expert. You likely know more about the interview topic than the reporter does. (That’s why they wanted to speak with you in the first place.) Trust that your familiarity will translate into relevant, quotable responses. Also, be sure to perform any necessary research ahead of the interview so you have pertinent facts and data that will bolster your expertise. When you know what you’re talking about thanks to experience and research, it will come across in the interview.

“A fool despises good counsel, but a wise man takes it to heart.” —Confucius

Honing your quotability is often an underused strategy in media relations. It takes time and practice, but it’s an effort that can pay big dividends for your business and play a huge factor in becoming a go-to source for future stories.

Ready to take your media relations efforts to the next level? Learn how Aker Ink can help you land media coverage that will showcase your expertise, grow brand awareness and reach the right audience.

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