Use Quotes to Connect

“Can I quote you on that?”

quotesThis is the question you wanted, right? We gave you ways to increase your media exposure in a Do Big Things blog last month, and a journalist’s query is the desired outcome. The media—an industry publication or your local newspaper or TV station—offers you an important pathway to communicate with customers, both current and potential.

Nothing speaks louder than a direct quote.

A quote is a message from you to the public, whether they’re reading or viewing. You deliver quotes in one of two ways:

  • In response to a journalist’s interview questions
  • In a news release or article supplied by you

However delivered, your comments should originate the same—as carefully considered messages you have mulled over and perhaps talked through with a co-worker. If you’re giving a live interview, write down the points you want to cover. (Use your notes as prompts, though, not as a script.) If you’re supplying written answers to a journalist’s questions, you’ll have an even better opportunity to deliver a well-crafted comment.

Your comments—spoken or written—should have these qualities:

  1. They should be not just yours, but you. Inject some of your own personality and style into your statements.
  2. Unless you want to sound as interesting as a lawyer reading a writ, keep it conversational. Do use contractions. Don’t use $50 words.
  3. “Conversational” is different from casual, though. Use language you’d employ in a presentation, not in a bar.
  4. And going back to 2., sometimes you really are like a lawyer reading a writ—or at least a carefully worded statement that addresses a sensitive situation. When every word is critical, it’s OK to be formal.
  5. Keep. It. Brief.

It seems almost criminal to elaborate on that last point, but it’s important. Keep each sentence short enough to say in one breath—even when you’re writing your quote. And do this: Try to deliver at least one key point of your message in a five-word sentence. They might be the only five words your audience remembers:

A solid quote is gold.

And while we’re now beyond brevity with this blog post, let’s spend a minute on writing quotes for new releases.

Unless you’re issuing a quick advisory or announcement, you’ve got to include quotes. A quote helps your news release in several ways:

  • Quotes make your release more readable, as they break up the text and deliver lively lines.
  • They make it more credible. You’re taking personal responsibility for the message.
  • A release is based on objective information, but you can use a quote to impart opinions.

Think of quotes as your best chance to make a personal connection with your audience. There’s the possibility you’ll be too formal or too funky, but with a little practice, you’ll likely find the right balance and the right voice—yours.

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