To my PR client: Why journalists never quote you

A PR veteran gets to the bottom of why, post-interview, certain clients’ names never make it into a big story about a hot topic or industry. The answer boils down to “Talk less, say more.”

Ragan Insider Content

Public relations pros dread the reaction from a client if the client is left out of an important story.

Especially if you’re a subject-matter expert or spokesperson, you may have had many interviews but never been mentioned by name in an article. Or your contribution rated just a few words.

We hear this often. After the interview, the interviewee feels that he or she spoke with the reporter for a long time, exhaustively covered the topic, and gave the journalist more than anyone could ever want to know about the subject.

Then the story appears. Competitors and other experts get quoted extensively, the information you gave to the reporter appears in the story but no attribution at all. The PR pro and client are angry, disappointed or embarrassed.

Ms. or Mr. client, your thoroughness, your eagerness to cover everything, your desire to be absolutely clear and factual, all those precautions you thought so considerate and thoughtful, actually worked against you. You must refocus to do a productive, mutually beneficial interview.

PR pros often hear from reporters that their interviewed client talked for a long time without saying anything useful or usable. Let’s help with some basics to fix this.

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