Giving your first quote to the media

When someone invites you to provide a quote for an article or blog post, it seems pretty straightforward. But if this is your first time doing it, don’t worry. This guide is here to help you navigate the process and provide some tips and tricks to help you up your game.

Women featured in a magazine

This guide is about providing your opinion on a subject. It’s very similar to being asked to give a comment or statement on behalf of a company or brand. The latter, however, is a little different because what you say needs to reflect the company’s position rather than your personal opinion. You should only provide such a comment if you are the company spokesperson. If not, pass these requests on to your company PR team.

Instead, this article focuses on commenting in a personal capacity and sharing your expert knowledge or opinion.

The Process: providing quotes

Below is how the process usually unfolds.

  1. Typically, someone working for (or on behalf of) the media outlet will contact you and give you a basic outline of what they’re looking for.
  2. You should then respond and either accept or decline. To help you decide, think about,
    • Whether the media outlet is a place you’d like to be associated with.
    • Whether you are suited to talk about the subject.
  3. If you decline because the subject matter is outside your area of expertise, let the person know what topics you can discuss in the future.
  4. If you accept, you will need to arrange a call or provide a written comment. Media people often work to very tight deadlines, so missing this might mean your comment isn’t included.
  5. The media person may follow up to ask you to clarify something you said or suggest a change to a written quote to clarify it.
  6. Be patient. It can often take 3-4 weeks for an article to get published. Once published, the media person should send over a link to the article. Make sure to share the article and your contribution on your social media profiles, and encourage the media person to tag you when they share it. Sometimes, the media outlet will provide “assets” for you to use, such as an image with your quote on it.
  7. Occasionally, no matter how good your quote is, an editorial decision is made to leave your comment out of the final piece. If this happens,
    • Don’t be deterred. Keep in touch with the media person; hopefully, they will have another opportunity.
    • You can still use your quote. Share the article on social media and use your quote as the body of your status, providing your opinion on the topic.

Media Lingo

Just like other professions, there is a ton of jargon instead of everyday words. I thought I’d list so you’re in the know;


This word can be used in several contexts, but it means presenting an idea, whether that’s a media person pitching you an article they want to write or you pitching a talk title you’d love to present to an event organizer.


This means ‘finding people.’ It’s typically used when media people are trying to find the right person (or “source”) to interview or provide a comment.


Sending a message. Outreach is just a fancy word that means getting in touch.

8 Tips for providing great quotes

  1. Make sure you understand the article’s context.
    What is the publication or website about? What’s the article about? Does the media person have a particular angle they are looking to convey? A media person rarely shares the full article with you, so it’s important to ask what the context is and who else will feature.
  2. Understand “the ask.”
    Where will it be published (print or digital?) Do they want to speak to you over the phone or want you to provide a quote in a written format? How many words should your quote be? When’s the deadline? Do you need to provide a “headshot” photo of yourself?
  3. Stick to the brief.
    Is the media person asking for opinions/stories or facts? Generally, media people will be after one of the two: your opinion on a specific topic, e.g., is agile really the best method for delivering software projects? Or they will be looking to you to explain a complex subject as the expert, e.g., can you share what the agile methodology is and how it works? 
  4. Concise quotes win.
    Make every word count. If it doesn’t add anything, remove it.
  5. Share your stories or experiences.
    More often than not, a media person is asking you for a quote because they want to bring a topic to life with some real-world examples. If so, consider what stories you could share to illustrate your point. Be mindful not to name-drop individuals or brands you don’t have permission to mention. You can always anonymize your story, e.g., “When I was working at an international e-commerce brand…”
  6. Fact and spell check.
    If possible, get someone else to read your quote and check they understand what you’ve written.
  7. Share your pronouns and how you’d like to be referred to.
    For most people, mentioning your place of work isn’t a problem. But some large companies ask that, as an employee, you run anything you say in an “official” capacity via the internal PR team. This can slow things down a lot. If this is the case for you, meet with your internal PR person ahead of time and ask them how you can build your personal brand without getting into conflict with work. This is particularly important in professions where any quote you provide may be considered advice, e.g., legal or financial service businesses. Alternatively, you can ask the media person not to reference your company. 
  8. Don’t promote your own business
    This isn’t the time or the place for a sales pitch, so avoid promoting your own business unless asked. My best advice is to focus on sharing your knowledge, expertise, and stories, which will naturally build your brand.

I really hope this starter guide helps you provide your first quote to the media. If you haven’t already, make sure you have a contributor profile on Antiquoted so media people can invite you to provide quotes (as well as be a guest on podcasts or speak at events).

If you have any questions or you go on to provide your first quote via Antiquoted, I’d love to read it. Pop it over in an email to me at [email protected].

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