It’s taken a while, but after tirelessly studying nearly 1000 of our digital PR campaign examples at Reboot, we found out that campaigns that included an expert comment in the original press release had 64% more placements than those that did not. What’s more, they were also more likely to be follow links.
Did you know? On average, campaigns with quotes receive 60% more follow links than those that had no expert comment at all.
So, whether you conduct digital PR for your own brand or a client, understanding the importance of knowledge can be a powerful tool in any PR’s arson.
Why use expert comments?
Because journalists want them...
When a journalist is crafting their article, there are a few elements they like to have - the research, visualisation and quotes.
If you can provide them with all of the above, they are more likely to use the content, as you’ve made their life easier. Journalists don’t have a lot of time- if they have to chase you for a quote, they might not bother, and will move onto the next PR.
Of all the releases that get initially sent out without a comment, around 21% received a response like the one below, asking for a statement.
Out of the remaining outreach sent, some went ahead and published without a quote, but some didn’t use the campaign at all. Whilst we cannot say categorically that this is because no comment was included, it is likely that a percentage of journalists just didn’t have the time to chase one up, and moved on to the next story instead.
They add credibility to your press release
Another great reason to include statements (if follow links aren’t enough!) is that an expert comment also adds some weight to your research; not only will it help improve the credibility of your piece, but it will do the same for their article in the eyes of readers.
Even if a journalist doesn’t use your quotation, you will have confirmed to them that there was enough in-depth research for them to trust the study you’ve sent them.
They help position your brand or clients as industry experts/thought leaders
Building this kind of reputation is worthwhile; eventually journalists who have found you to be a reliable information source will come directly to you for a quote - which will save you a lot of future legwork.
You’re more likely to get links
Plus, as mentioned in the intro - you’re more likely to get FOLLOW links - the holy grail of Digital PR work. These follow links are more likely for two reasons:
You’ve provided something invaluable to the journalist - and it makes it hard to escape giving credit for that
You have provided information on a technical or niche topic, and the types of publications that will pick up this story are more likely to provide follow links. This is mainly because niche publications are less targeted by PRs in general, and do not have to worry so much about a blanket no-follow policy.
When to use expert comments
As part of your core campaign
There is rarely an occasion NOT to include a comment in your press release. A simple remark on the findings, or some extra expert tips to accompany a survey would be a great addition.
As a reaction to trending industry news
You don’t need to craft a whole data-led press release in order to provide an expert comment. If there is breaking or trending news in your or your client’s niche, then send out a comment to react to that and give an expert’s perspective.
You have to remember that every PR agency in the world will be doing the same thing, so make sure your comment goes beyond stating the obvious- something that goes against the grain, or adds an extra insight is more likely to be picked up.
When you are outreaching to THESE publications
Using Google search operators, we analysed news articles from around 20 news outlets in the UK and US (including NY Times, BBC, The Daily Mail and others) to see which ones had a particular penchant for statements and quotes in their news stories.
Our findings showed that the top 5 publications that use expert comments are:
1. Daily Mail
4. The Mirror
5. The Guardian
Therefore if you’re thinking about offering an exclusive to any of the above, or would just like some coverage in these publications, it will certainly work in your favour to include a quote or comment with your story.
We can also reveal the outlets LEAST likely to be interested in your quote:
1. Sky News
2. Evening Standard
Our findings also revealed that certain topics or niches had a higher publication of spokesperson tips/comments.
It may sound obvious, but the more technical the industry, the more the quote was used. For example, for tech/cyber-related stories, quotes were used 84% of the time. DIY and environmental stories also had high usage rates for expert tips (74% and 63%, respectively).
We can reveal that from our digital PR campaigns, the niches that most frequently used our expert tips and comments were as follows:
1. Tech (84%)
2. DIY (74%)
3. Environmental (63%)
4. Property (56%)
5. Finance (51%)
When not to use expert quotes
If the topic is a serious one - relating to health matters, or there is a story portraying people/brands in a bad light - it might be wise to steer clear of commenting. With regards to discussing health, it is extremely important to only present facts, not opinions or claims - however, if you or your client is in the health industry, then providing a well-informed comment might be a good thing, as long as it can’t land you in hot water with the law.
To find out the success rate of our expert quotes, we trawled through our in-house system that logs all of our past campaigns, marking the ones that contained a comment. We then took a look at all the links earned from digital PR campaigns to make a comparison between those with comments and those without.
We also noted down the industry or niche of the publication covering the quote, in order to inform us on the sectors that most like using expert comments.
To find out the news outlets that published expert comments the most, we used Google search operators on around 20 news publication websites, looking for a whole host of keywords that could denote the use of quotes or expert comments, such as “spokesperson for” or “experts reveal” for example.