How to give good quotes

A dull statement about earnings won’t land you in print. Here are five quotes that did make the cut, and why.

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So I took my salad to the kitchen and ate it at a proper table while reading Time. Leafing through the front of the book, near a photo of a Muslim Brotherhood rally, were some large orange words that read: “It represents the archetypal ‘turd on the plaza.'”

I put down my fork.

Oliver Wainwright, a British architecture critic, was lambasting the new ArcelorMittal Orbit structure that the highly talented Anish Kapoor designed for Olympic Park in London. The picture of the structure was right there, under the quote, but it is so strange looking—a rollercoaster, meets post-modern sculpture, meets something under construction—that my eyes had skipped over that mess and settled on Wainwright’s words, written large.

Ah, the power of the pull-quote. Don’t underestimate it.

As PR professionals, we spend a great deal of time considering our clients’ messages when responding to the media. But we always need to take that extra step and ask how we can make the quotes come alive. One way to do this is to think like a journalist—a copy editor, in particular—whose job it is to lay out a page (virtual or print) and make the content more interesting by teasing out pieces of quotes.

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