We freelance writers talk a lot about keeping our editors and clients happy. But we don’t always think about taking care of the experts who give us the information and quotations we need to write articles, case studies, blog posts, and other expert-sourced copy.
Our access to experts is one of the reasons we writers can command higher fees as we gain more experience in a particular niche. (The others are our talent, our ability to understand the technical aspects of our niche, and our understanding of the audience’s needs and language, of course.)
Here are some ways to make sure you take good care of your expert sources.
Make sure you get all of your facts straight, including the correct spelling of the source’s name, their degrees or professional designations, and any products or books they are promoting.
Also do whatever it takes to get their quotations correct, whether that is asking for clarification, recording the call (following the laws of your state when it comes to asking permission to record a call), or paying a transcriptionist to transcribe if it you don’t have the time or inclination to do it yourself.
When a story goes live or appears in your chosen periodical, let your source (and their PR person, if they have) know about it. Send a link or see if your editor can send a hard copy of the publication.
Respect Their Time
When you make an interview appointment, call your source (or answer your phone) at the time you agreed on.
Prep for your interview ahead of time by writing questions or a list of topics to make sure you cover. This keeps you from rambling and taking up too much of your source’s time.
Remember, at its heart, an interview is a conversation. It has a purpose, but it should be fun for both participants. Act as if you are speaking to a professional colleague you like when you are on the phone.
What do you do to ensure that your sources will be happy to hear from you when you call them for new interviews?