I love quotes. I love reading them. I love using them in my posts as a way to flavor my thoughts with another voice. The trouble is it sometimes takes me ages to find the perfect complement to whatever topic I happen to be writing on at the time.
Then there are the follow-up problems.
How to determine whether a quote is legitimate or not and who really said it? Take for instance the story about the valedictorian in Kentucky who attributed a quote in his commencement speech to one US president only to change its source moments later as a joke that wasn’t viewed as funny by some members of the crowd.
Stories like that prove that no matter how meaningful, empowering, or thought-provoking a quote’s message is, the quote’s mouthpiece also matters. So I try to be careful how I use them.
“With great power, comes great responsibility” – Spider-Man’s Uncle Ben (or was it?)
Up until now, my go-to source has been sites like www.brainyquotes.com and www.tinybuddha.com for when I am need of some additional zen. Both sites have nice keyword searching functions and I’ve created more than one post based entirely on a quote of the day, but there is no way of knowing for sure that the person cited is the first person (on record) to have ever said it. Hence the follow-up homework problem.
I have since found a new way to incorporate direct quotes straight from the source into the world of my other writing job – HARO. HARO stands for Help A Reporter Out (www.helpareporter.com) and it is a free tool for journalists (bloggers, podcasters, and authors too) that helps you find potential sources for upcoming articles.
The rules for journalists, bloggers, and podcasters are pretty stringent as they require your website or media outlet have an Alexa (yes, Amazon’s Alexa – because she’s EVERYWHERE) rating of 1 million or less. This score based on your site’s traffic. However, authors can use the tool to find sources for their books without a media outlet, but it can only be a request for less than 300 words and you must have an estimated publication date as well as a publisher (though I didn’t see anything that said it couldn’t be self) to be considered.
Sadly though, there is no “student” reporter program.
However, if you do meet their guidelines all you do is submit a query outlining your question, what you are looking for in a source, and when you need a response back. You need to be as specific as possible when describing your preferred expert to ensure you get the best sort of response for your platform or outlet. Once your query is approved by HARO, it is then sent out as part of several email blasts that go out throughout the day.
But guess what, you don’t have to be a rockstar journalist or multimedia darling. To use HARO to earn some extra cred for your book, business or brand, all you have to do is sign up as a source.
“And so it became that the quote lover became that which she loved: the quoted.” – so say I, from the book of me
The downside of signing up for the service as either a journalist or a source is the number of emails. There are so many emails. Three per day, and opting out is a frowned upon. But all those emails are filled with reporters just begging for potential interviewees, which are then broken out into various categories. HARO also offers paid plans to help filter by keyword if the emails start to get to you.
While you, as a source, can’t pitch your book, blog, or business outright, you can position yourself as an expert in your field based on how you answer the reporter’s questions. Then if your answer, or pitch, is accepted, you can get featured giving you access to a much larger media outlet, and access to your potential target audience without having to know a guy who knows a guy who knows a gal who used to babysit for the local section’s current editor.
Oh, and at a maximum of 300 words, it is a lot easier (and faster) to do than guest posting.
Though, seriously if you want to write a guest post sometime, that’s cool too.