When writing articles for your publication, including quotes from an expert source can really lift the piece. Expert sources provide insight, context and depth to your article, and they also add weight, making it feel more authoritative and balanced.

However, finding an expert source can be a challenge – especially if you’re on a tight deadline. Here are five methods I use to find academic and industry experts to provide quotes for any kind of article.

5 ways to find expert sources for your articles

Want to avoid spending hours on Google searching around your topic to try and find someone to quote? The following methods are a much more effective way of locating expert sources fast.

1. The Conversation’s Expert Finder

The Conversation is a website where academics can write articles about their research as well as comment on news and events. To write for The Conversation, you must be an academic and an expert in your field. The good news for journalists, PR and communications professionals is that they have an expert finder where you can search by keywords to find sources on practically any topic.

2. Twitter

Twitter is a go-to place for professionals and academics who are promoting their work or interests. Twitter’s keyword search can be useful for finding people who have an opinion on a topic – although you have to be picky about the kind of people who show up in your search results and verify that they are genuine experts (look them up on LinkedIn, their university website or company page too).

3. Your personal and professional network

Your personal and professional network can be a fantastic way of finding expert sources for articles. I, for instance, have a friend who works in psychological research – on more than one occasion I’ve asked her if she knows of anyone in her field who can help on articles. Similarly, a source I quoted for an article I wrote on the future of the electricity grid was a friend’s parents.

You might find it useful to put out a call on social media platforms – “do I know anyone who is an expert on…” or message people directly.

4. Management consultancies and analyst houses

Management consultancies are another excellent source for experts if you’re in a hurry and need a quote. I’ve often turned to the Economist Intelligence Unit when in need of analysis of industry, especially at a global scale (they usually respond fast!).

You could start your search with some of the big name consultancies (think Deloitte, KPMG, PwC etc.) – call up their press officers and they may be able to find someone. That said, I tend to find these firms are almost too big and it can take ages to get a response, so you might want to search for analysts and consultancies that work in specific fields.

5. The ‘find an expert’ page on university websites

Universities all want to ‘up’ the profiles of their academics and promote their research, so any form of press coverage is usually welcome. To help do this, many universities have created their own expert source databases you can use to hunt down someone in the know.

Simply plug something like “university find an expert” into Google, and you’ll see lots of UK and international universities have set up pages to let you do just this.

How do you find expert sources for articles? Let me know in the comments below.

If you’ve got a deadline and need content backed up with rigorous research, I can help. Contact me today.