10 Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Chance Of Media Coverage

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...
PR pitching mistakes

How to Get Media Coverage For Your Business

As a seasoned Public Relations specialist for over a decade, I have seen Executives sabotage themselves when they try to pitch the media.

Executives routinely make the same public relations mistakes that hurt their media relations efforts and can kill a story from ever seeing the light of day.

But luckily for you, you can learn from their mistakes and from my industry insider PR knowledge to get more traction for your PR campaign.

Why is media coverage important?

Anyone can buy media coverage, but not anyone can earn media coverage. Media coverage is important because it builds trust with third-party media outlet names that your consumers, clients, and patients know and trust.

Consumers know the difference between paid media and earned media. They can tell when you have purchased ad space vs. when a media outlet organically mentions you as a trusted expert.

When you do a quick Google search, are you more likely to trust the paid ads or the organic brand mentions? Media coverage will propel your business and medical practice forward.

Earned media is infinitely more effective than paid media in building trust with key constituencies.

Securing press coverage for your business is a continual process.

Pitching the media can take months before a journalist is interested in picking up your story or writing about your business.

DIY public relations guides teach business owners how to get their PR pitch picked up.

But that is only half of the equation.

Business owners are often caught off guard when the media replies to a pitch they sent out and is finally interested in writing about them.

If you don’t have the proper digital assets to give to the media when they are ready to interview you, you may be sabotaging your golden PR opportunity for earned media coverage.

In this article, you will learn:

  • How to prepare for media interviews
  • How to pitch the media & press
  • 10 pitching & PR mistakes to avoid

If you want to get media coverage for your business, you must take the time to create the foundations of your brand prior to pitching the media.

The truth is, if you pitch the media without having these assets, you are wasting your time.

Even if a reporter loves your story, if you don’t have high-resolution photos or video clips of you previously on air, your pitching success will never make it beyond 50%.

This article is about taking you to the PR finish line. You learn how to do PR the right way by understanding how to do it the wrong way.

If you are serious about generating media coverage for your business or medical practice, avoid these top PR mistakes and invest in the proper resources to propel your brand forward.

10 PR & Media Pitching Mistakes 

Avoid these top PR mistakes.

1. Not having high-resolution photos: It perplexes me how many entrepreneurs pitch the media and do not have a simple high-resolution photo or headshot. This is an absolute must if you are pitching a personal branding angle to a journalist or if you are trying to secure a column in a trade publication as a contributor. If you don’t have a high-res photo, you can delay the entire process. You also need to have branded lifestyle photography for feature articles or human interest stories. If you are pitching an entrepreneurial angle, an editor will want to see you in action, meeting with clients or doing what you say you do best. Newsrooms are severely understaffed, so don’t expect a reporter to send a photographer to your office for a photoshoot.

2. Wearing clothing that clashes on camera:  If a producer wants to book you for a national television segment, they will want you in the studio within a few hours. Finding television friendly attire that looks good on camera can be time-consuming. Start looking for outfits well before you are ever booked for a TV segment. For men, this can be as simple as a nice suit. For women, bright-colored dresses with short sleeves or three-quarter sleeves work well. To avoid any on-camera surprises, make sure you have tried on the dress sitting down to see how long it will appear on screen.

3. Using an outdated executive bio: Do you have a recently updated executive bio that can accompany all of your outbound pitches to the media? If not, start working on this now. You should have a few different variations of your bio: one for trade publications, one for consumer pitching and a different version for bylines.

4. Missing contact information:  This sounds simple, yet so many people skip this obvious step. They pitch the media and do not include an email address or a cell phone number to reach them on their website. Journalists don’t want to spend time submitting lengthy contact forms to reach you. Make your contact information visible in the footer of your site to increase your chances of visibility. If you are going to provide a phone number, make sure it is a direct line, and not a spammy 1-800 number.

5. Missing media collateral:  If you are pitching a human interest story to the media, journalists will want to see some basic information. This makes their lives significantly easier so they can review these pertinent details working on the story. It may also spark new story angles they may not have thought of.  Include FAQs about the “why” and origin story of your business. Try to answer all of the questions you think they may have so they can pull in relevant details from the Q&A or fact sheet. Always send this in Microsoft Word and avoid sending a PDF.

6. Including photos without image names: Journalists work on several different stories at a time and speak with different sources. If a journalist requests photos, make sure each photo has a file name instead of the regular “DSC2019.” Naming the image file will also give you an added SEO boost if they decide to run the images with the story. Think about the search terms you want to rank for when considering what to name each file.

7. Not having additional sources on file: If you are a doctor who is pitching a broadcast segment about a new health epidemic, make sure you have other sources lined up to support the claim. You sitting alone in a dark room discussing the story is not a complete segment. The media may want to speak with someone who was impacted by the epidemic, a professor on the epidemic and also have you provide your medical expertise on the story. They are also going to want b-roll footage as part of the package. Make sure you have all of this lined up before you pitch the media.

8. Using expired Dropbox links: Set up a Dropbox account before pitching the media. There is nothing more frustrating to a journalist than emailing a source numerous times and waiting to get the story assets they need, especially because of something like an expired Dropbox link.

9. Missing major newsworthy talking points: If you are pitching yourself as an expert, you must be frequently consuming the news. A journalist doesn’t want to hear that you have never heard of the story they are working on that is trending in your industry. If they call you for a quote about a story and you have no idea what they are talking about, they will seriously question your credibility. I set up Google alerts for my industry so that I am always well-versed to comment on breaking news.

10. Lacking knowledge of what the media likes: If you want to be quoted in the media as a subject matter expert and thought-leader, educate yourself on what journalists are looking for in expert sources. You can search on Twitter under the #PRFail hashtag to see what journalists hate. If a journalist asks for your expert commentary and opinion, they aren’t looking for a one-line response. If you give them a one-liner, they are less likely to quote you. It is better to give more substantial content to a journalist that they can pull quotes from than to give less. Always give them more to work with. It’s easier to cut than it is to add.

Not following these public relations tips could reduce the likelihood of being included in a story.


Kris Ruby’s PR Secrets for Pitching Success

How to get major media coverage for your business 

Don’t pitch the media if you have 0 followers on social media.

In a digital economy, journalists are measured by page views, clicks, and traffic. It is risky to write about you or your company if you can’t help further their mission and metrics. Building a digital footprint and social media audience will help lay the groundwork for distribution and amplification channel when the time comes to promote your media appearances. Building the proper social media infrastructure is critical for public relations success.

Don’t pitch the media if you have no authority online.

Journalists use social media to pre-qualify you and vet you as a source. Before you pitch a journalist, you must have already acquired earned media and digital PR authority as a subject matter expert. This will help to ensure you have the greatest possible likelihood of media placement success.

Don’t pitch the media until you have a media-friendly website.

If you pitch a journalist and have zero digital authority in your industry, you are decreasing the likelihood that you will be taken seriously. The only way to “cut the line” in this process is to work with a Manhattan PR firm who already has trusted relationships with media outlets. This is a public relations process I call “trust transferred.”

Don’t pitch the media if your last sound bite was ten years ago.

The media wants to make sure your commentary is fresh – not old news. If you are not broadcasting recent thought leadership on a consistent basis, someone else will replace you. Before pitching the media, make sure you have a recent tweet, blog post, and video clip within the past thirty days. Your website should show how you look today, now how you looked ten years ago. It should convey what you think about what is happening today, not last year.

Don’t pitch the media if you have broken links.

Your media links and appearances should be up to date. Simply put, old links won’t cut it and most of the links to your previous media appearances will die or be replaced. Journalists hate doing extra work. The last thing you want is for a journalist to click on a link that leads nowhere. This is the kiss of death. Referral links from news sites and media publications have the greatest potential for SEO growth. But like all good things in life, link rot is real, and all good things come to an end. Broken links and 404s of old media interviews hurt your chances of publicity. If you are not replacing the old media coverage you lost, someone else is. That is a hard fact of winning the media relations game. Failure to acknowledge it does not make it any less true.

How do I get the media’s attention?

Start by following this list!

Media Pitching 101 Checklist:

  • High-resolution headshots
  • Lifestyle Photos (horizontal)
  • TV-ready attire at the office (in case the media calls!)
  • Updated executive bio
  • Contact information is easily accessible
  • Updated media collateral
  • FAQ document in Microsoft Word
  • All photos are properly named
  • Additional sources are ready to comment
  • Dropbox links are active (not expired!)
  • Google Alerts set up for your industry

Top New York Media Relations Agency 

Get more media attention with the publicity you need and deserve. Ruby Media Group is a leading New York based Media Relations Agency. Contact us today for a consultation to learn more about our media and public relations services including media training, crisis communications consulting, creating a media coverage plan for your business or medical practice and monthly PR services. We know what the media likes. We take the guesswork out of it for you. Focus on what you are best at and leave the rest to us.

Sick of sabotaging your chances at media coverage through failed DIY PR attempts that lead nowhere? Contact us today to start increasing media exposure and PR visibility for your business.

Need help avoiding these top PR & media mistakes?

Our full-service New York PR & media relations agency can help you secure award winning national media coverage. The kind of PR you have always dreamt of.

Ruby Media Group can:

  • Set up a photoshoot with the top personal branding photographers
  • Media train doctors and corporate executives
  • Set you up with a TV stylist to make sure you look your best on camera for national media interviews
  • Write a polished new executive bio for you that gets the attention of producers, journalists and reporters
  • Work with your website developer to create a press/media page to impress reporters
  • Create pitches and newsworthy angles that will get the media’s attention

Media Interview Preparation Resources

Media Interview Checklist

Media Training Guide



Kris Ruby has over 15 years of experience pitching the media. As a seasoned public relations specialist, Kris Ruby has secured thousands of media impressions and press placements for clients in national publications. Ruby Media Group is an award-winning NY Public Relations Firm and NYC Social Media Marketing Agency. The New York PR Firm specializes in healthcare marketing, healthcare PR and medical practice marketing.  Ruby Media Group helps companies increase their exposure through leveraging social media and digital PR.

RMG conducts a thorough deep dive into an organization’s brand identity, and then creates a digital footprint and comprehensive strategy to execute against. Specialties include content creation, strategic planning, social media management, and digital public relations. RMG helps clients shine in the digital space by extracting their strengths, developing story ideas, and crafting compelling news angles to ensure journalists go to their clients first as story sources and thought leaders. Ruby Media Group creates strategic, creative, measurable targeted campaigns to achieve your organization’s strategic business growth objectives.