How to Get Media Coverage For Your Business
Securing press coverage for your business is a continual process. Pitching can take months before the media picks up your story. Often, business owners can be caught off guard when the media is interested in writing about them. Many DIY public relations guides teach businesses how to get their pitch picked up. But that is only half of the equation. If you don’t have the proper assets to give to the media when they are ready to interview you, you may be sabotaging your golden opportunity for coverage. Here are the top 10 ways I see founders sabotage themselves, along with how to prepare should the media come knocking.
1. Not having high-resolution photos: It perplexes me how many people pitch media and do not have a simple high-resolution photo. This is an absolute must if you are pitching a personal branding angle or if you are trying to secure a column 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 them to send a photographer to your office.
2. Wearing clothing that clashes on camera: If a producer wants to book you for a 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 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. 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 Using an outdated executive bio: Do you have a recently updated executive bio that can accompany all of your outbound pitches? 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 to 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.
5. Missing media collateral: If you are pitching a human interest story, journalists will want to see some basic information. This makes their lives significantly easier so they can review this while working on the story. It may also spark new angles they may not have thought of. Include FAQs about the “why” 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. You can do this in Microsoft Word. Avoid sending them a PDF.
6. Including photos without image names: Journalists work on several different stories at a time and speak with different sources. If they request photos, make sure each photo has a file name instead of the regular “DSC20107.” Naming the image file will also give you an added SEO boost if they decide to run them. 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 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 provide your medical expertise on the story. They are also going to want b-roll footage as part of the package.
8. Using expired Dropbox links: Set up a Dropbox account before pitching. There is nothing more frustrating than having to email back and forth waiting to get the story assets you need, especially because of something like an expired 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. 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, educate yourself on what journalists are looking for. You can search on Twitter under the #PRFail hashtag to see what journalists hate. If a journalist asks your 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 for them to pull from than less. Give them what they want, how they want it, when they want it and in the preferred format they want it in.
Not following these public relations tips could reduce the likelihood of being included in a story.
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 organizations 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 organizations strategic business growth objectives.