5 Tips for earning media quotes

First I got a call, then a text during a meeting. Recognizing it was a reporter, and seeing the timeliness of the request, I excused myself at the next break, replied initially, became informed, and then articulated an opinion in order to respond to the reporter’s questions. They were writing an article on celebrity endorsements, particularly featuring men, in the age of the #MeToo movement. Morgan Freeman, the baritone voice-over for Visa’s paid promotion of Tap and Pay on Vancouver’s Tranlink had been suspended following a CNN exclusive report of allegations by eight women of inappropriate behaviour.

You can link to the article here.

Suffice it to say, the damage for Freedman and his relationship as the voice of Visa is done – guilty or otherwise. That’s the nature and risk of celebrity endorsement. The reputation of the individual is tied to the sponsoring brand, through all their actions, both current and past. And the power of the #MeToo movement with it’s channeling of content, social media and ability to search through #hashtags, online sharing, word of mouth and earned media, will cause the story to only balloon and gain further traction as more details no doubt emerge in the coming days.

While there are lessons here about celebrity endorsement in the age of the #MeToo movement to be sure, where I want to take this is to the learning for you, as an individual who may wish to be quoted in the media, and receive earned media coverage.

5 tips for earning media quotes + one bonus to keep you sane!

1. Be visible so you get the call. When you’re recognized as an expert, you’re well positioned to get the call. Better yet, proactively seek out reporters who cover your area of expertise, making contact before they actually need you. They you’ll be on speed dial as someone who can help that reporter do their job.

2. Be easily to reach. Monitor and respond to cell phone calls, texts and emails.

3. Reply quickly. That reporter is on a deadline, and if you can’t help them, they will continue to work down their list. If you need time to be briefed and form an opinion for a response, say so, then agree to call back within a timeframe that meets their deadline.

4. Be articulate and quotable. Reporters love “sound bites” – those catchy phrases, and sticky words that make for great quotes and headlines. Know the style of reporting and speak in those terms.

5. Be knowledgeable. It goes without saying, if you want to be quoted, you need to be informed, current and have an opinion, or able to form one quickly, possibly on the spot, when given information to digest by a reporter. That takes confidence that can only come from comfort with your own knowledge.

Get over it. Why do I say that? For sure you’ll give the reporter WAY more then they will actually use. You may even be misquoted, or feel the article took a different angle then you were responding to. That’s all part of the journalistic game. Just roll with it.

And speaking of media quotes, I also had a great podcast interview with Jason Skinner out of Brisbane, Australia recently. His “Business Made Easy” Podcast has featured Chris Brogan (Owner Media) and Pat Flynn (Smart Passive Income) in recent episodes, so it’s pretty cool to be in their company. We talk about “Being human at scale,” building an online audience you own, and spend quite a bit of time in the second half of the episode talking about my experience using LinkedIn native video versus Facebook live video. Lots of useful and insightful content , plus Jason is just such a charmer to chat with. You can check it out HERE.

Have you had good experiences being quoted in the media? Care to share a few tips with our readers? Leave a comment below!

Mary Charleson


  1. My sister has a company and she wants her products to be well known to increase sales. It was explained here that she should be visible and reachable for media opportunities. Furthermore, it’s advisable to consult professionals for effective marketing strategies.

    • She should certainly make herself reachable – email or cell phone are best, but many reporters also make an initial contact through a Twitter handle and then switch over to email or phone if they didn’t know you previously. The best thing though is to monitor media for those that cover stories in her business area, and then reach out and nurture those relationships – give them tips and help out, not necessarily related to her business, but just as a knowledge source. Then when the time comes for them to contact someone of knowledge and expertise, she will be well positioned for the opportunity. It doesn’t happen over night. But the process of gaining trust and being “the person they call” is a worthwhile long game effort. Hope that helps! There’s lots of content on this site that she would find helpful. Have a poke around.

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