Expert Query Questions

Bad PR pitches have long been a journalist pet peeve – whether they are too long, too vague, or just plain confusing. But sometimes even writers are guilty of the same sins when they are searching for and reaching out to subject matter experts for their stories.

Today’s brands are supplementing traditional PR efforts with relevant, contextual content that builds trust with their audience. A critical part of building that trust is knowing which influencers and experts lend credibility to the message.

As discussed in the blog post 6 Tips for Finding Industry Experts Who Complement Your Brand’s Marketing, incorporating a variety of perspectives and voices from experts outside of your organization prevents content from becoming predictable and boring while capturing a broader audience.

The fast-paced content cycle puts pressure on writers to find sources fast, and while services like ProfNet are available at a moment’s notice to help, a few simple formatting tips make it that much easier to receive the number and quality of responses you want.

The following best practices are based on ProfNet queries that have received the highest-quality responses. Answer these questions before submitting a call for experts and narrow your results to the most-fitting thought leaders for your story.

1. Were you clear about how the expert’s response will be used? Providing the name and URL of your publication or a specific description of it is beneficial for both the expert and the writer. Sharing where the information will be used helps the experts receiving those queries decide if their commentary is the right fit for your publication’s audience. In turn, this helps you (the writer) find the sources that are the best complement to your story.

2. Did you set a deadline for responses? Set a deadline that is in advance of the story being edited or published. Even if that means setting a same-day deadline, you want to make sure you have enough time to vet the experts you find and ask follow-up questions if needed.

3. Were you specific about the type of expert you’re looking for? Marketing, for instance, is a broad industry made up of many different sectors, such as digital marketing, direct marketing, social media marketing, etc. Being specific about the expertise you’re looking for narrows down the niche insiders who are most relevant to the topic.

4. Did you include some sample questions for the expert to answer? Including a couple of the questions you plan on asking will help you get the expertise you’re looking for and clarify the focus of the story. Once you do identify an expert to interview, here are more tips on coming up with questions and working with them.

5. Were you concise? As a PR professional or content marketer, you know how strapped for time other PR folks may be. A query submission should be short enough to read through quickly but detailed enough to understand what the story is about.

Taking the time to write a query that is just as thoughtful as the PR pitch of your dreams can make a big difference in the quality and quantity of experts you find for your own content.

Are you working on a piece of content that could benefit from a thought leader’s quote? ProfNet helps content marketers connect with experts for a variety of purposes including blog posts, case studies, guest post contributions, speaking engagements and more. Try out these tips by clicking here to submit a query now.