Expert Source Solicitation Strategies

By Barbara Horwitz-Bennett

Now, with more resources at our fingertips than ever, the sometimes painful process of soliciting expert sources for that article… due yesterday, has become so much easier, and often quite interesting!

Drawing from my ongoing experiences of reaching out to dozens of experts and professionals on a monthly basis, here are a few useful strategies for tapping into new resources to bring more insight, depth and new perspectives to your publications.

1) Take advantage of industry-expert query resources such as Help a Reporter Out, PR Newswire’s Profnet and BusinessWire’s ExpertSource. With ever-eager PR folks looking to offer up their clients as experts, I’ve had much success connecting with new folks through these useful services.

2) Browse through specialty publications that cover the topic of your assigned article. There you will find a wealth of quoted sources who you can track down via their company websites.

3) Post a discussion thread on relevant LinkedIn groups, in addition to your profile’s status update, stating the topic/topics you are currently researching and the types of experts you are seeking.

4) Look through relevant seminar and association conferences and speaker lists to locate experts who are industry presenters on the topics you are researching.

5) Take a look at law-related expert-witness websites to tap into additional resources.

Once you’ve compiled your list of potential sources, when crafting your interview solicitations, be sure to keep it short, to the point and respectful. I’ve found phrases such as “lending your expertise to our readers,” “sharing your expert input,” and “taking advantage of this editorial opportunity” to be particularly effective in convincing these folks to agree to an interview. Good luck!

Barbara Horwitz-Bennett is an active free-lance writer, specializing in the building and construction industry, and recipient of an AZBEE National Award last year. She can be contacted at, or through her website,

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