I was thrilled to lead an interactive personal branding workshop recently for Boston University’s College of Communications alumni. To watch the full personal branding webinar, click here:
Do you recognize the need to establish a personal brand, yet are unsure how to do so? During this webinar, Ruby Media Group CEO & Social Media Expert Kris Ruby will teach you the top 5 ways to leverage social media and digital PR to build a brand to stand out from your competitors.
During the webinar, Kris Ruby (COM ’09) will cover the following key points:
- How to be positioned as a source so the media calls on you for quotes
- How to leverage content marketing to increase inbound interest in your brand
- How to use social media to make new connections with members of the media
Webinar main topic/industry: PR, Marketing, Communications, Branding
Webinar Target Audience: Mid-level managers and senior executives with intermediate prior knowledge of social media.
Presented by Kris Ruby (COM’09) of Ruby Media Group Recorded on November 15, 2016
Kris Ruby (COM ’09) is the founder of Ruby Media Group (RMG), a full-service Public Relations and Social Media Agency. RMG specializes in creating award-winning integrated public relations and social media campaigns. Ruby works with top Executives to help position their brands in the ever-changing world of social media. Kristen graduated from Boston University’s College of Communication in 2009 with a major in Public Relations. Kris is one of America’s pre-eminent social media experts on social media and is a frequent on-air contributor on FOX News, CNBC, GMA, The Today Show, and more. Kris was chosen by the Business Council of Westchester as the youngest “40 Under 40″ Rising Stars. For more information, visit www.rubymediagroup.com or www.krisruby.com.
Read RMG’s comprehensive Personal Branding Guide “Branding Yourself: The Business of You” to learn:
- The best personal branding tips
- How to build a brand
- Cost-effective branding ideas
- Powerful brand-building strategies
- How to brand your business or medical practice through digital PR
- Personal branding tips and techniques to take your brand to the next level
Transcript: How to Leverage Social Media to Develop a Personal Brand & Increase Media Exposure through Digital Public Relations
Jeff Murphy, BU COM: Hello everybody and thank you for joining us for today’s BU industry insider’s professional development webinar: “How to leverage social media to develop a personal brand and increase media exposure.”
My name is Jeff Murphy and I’m an Associate Director in the BU Alumni Relations Office as well as a proud alumnus of the BU School of Business. Today’s webinar is sponsored by the BU Alumni Association and is offered to our 321,000 alumni around the globe. Throughout your career, BU is committed to helping you define and achieve your professional goals. We aim to do this by providing alumni with a series of valuable online tools and social media communities. It’s important that we get your opinion on how we’re doing so we very much look forward to receiving your feedback via a survey that will be emailed to all of you later today. Today we have alumni joining us from Paris, Barcelona, Brazil, India, Toronto, Chicago, California, and as always dozens of Massachusetts alumni from towns like Waltham, Cambridge, Winchester, Dorchester, Newton, Arlington, and more.
It’s now my pleasure to introduce our speaker for the day. Presenting from New York is College of Communications alumna Kristen Ruby.
Kris Ruby is the founder of Ruby Media Group, also known as RMG. A full-service public relations and social media agency, RMG specializes in creating award-winning integrated public relations and social media campaigns. A boutique and resourceful consulting agency, RMG also works on assembling the right team and recommending the most effective solutions for any business challenge. RMG has an unmatched track record of success in creating successful personal branding campaigns.
Kris is a personal branding consultant who works with top c-suite executives to position their personal brands in the ever-changing world of social media marketing. She graduated from Boston University’s College of Communications in 2009 with a major in public relations. Kris Ruby is one of America’s preeminent experts on social media and is a frequent on-air contributor on Fox News, CNBC Good Morning America, The Today Show and more.
I’m really excited to have you as our speaker, Kris. I’m going to go ahead and get your PR e-book up and I say e-book instead of slide deck. For those of you who have attended one of our webinars before, this one’s going to be slightly different in that Kris is officially launching her most recent e-book yet unpublished called, “Maximize your social media presence,” and she’s going to be walking us through her new e-book, which, as you’ll see, there’s a lot of content in the images. But you don’t need to be worried about writing everything down. We’re going to email everybody a copy of this e-book, so you can read it more in-depth a little bit later.
Kris Ruby: Thank you so much for joining us today for this webinar. I’m so excited to be here and be part of the BU COM alumni community. Today we will be talking about personal branding in PR and how you can leverage social media to build your personal brand. The first question I want to answer is: what is a personal brand? Why does creating a personal brand matter?
If you look at the most recent election and someone who had zero political experience who came out of the blue and was able to win a campaign within two years. How is that possible? Well, one of the things that made that possible was a strong personal brand. Whether you love it or hate it, the fact of the matter is that it existed.
Why is that important? A personal brand is like a cape or invisible paint that you wear and it somehow becomes very important when you need it.
WHAT IS PERSONAL BRANDING?
Personal Branding Definition: Personal branding is building a series of micro branding components over time that one day will create a strong brand so that when you need it, you can pull the trigger to leverage it for other career advancements and opportunities. And that’s really at the heart of what personal branding is.
Your online reputation impacts your business. Reputation builds trust and people do business with people they trust. Personal branding can help people trust you more or trust you less. When you have no personal brand on Google search results, unfortunately, people will trust you less.
Why is personal branding important in today’s digital economy?
When people search for your brand or business online, they want to see more than paid search results. Personal branding gives consumers a behind-the-scenes look into your ethos, values, and personality.
If you don’t develop a personal brand, you will lose to a competitor who is more visible online.
Online reputation management matters in this digital economy, and personal branding is one of the best ways to control your reputation in search results.
There is a lot of misinformation out there about how you can build your personal brand.
In this article, I will show you how you can build brand equity by strategically using 3 tactics: content marketing, PR, and social media marketing.
Personal Branding Public Relations
How is public opinion measured? Measuring public opinion.
Why is personal branding important to the success of a PR campaign?
If you have limited dollars to spend and you are an emerging brand, would you invest it in the owner of the company and thought leadership marketing and building up their personal brand or would you invest it in PR for the company to get the word out about the product?
Is there an order of operation or prioritization when it comes to personal branding?
The order of operation should start with personal branding and then transcend over to corporate branding. That being said, before you can launch a personal brand, your corporate brand needs to be ready to go with the basics including your mission, vision, purpose, fact sheet, company history, etc.
You need to have the corporate brand set in stone if your personal brand will be leveraged for a go-to-market strategy. They have to work together.
PR has changed a lot in terms of personal branding for PR agency owners. There’s so much out there about me online. If you’re thinking about working with me, it’s not a secret what my POV is on anything from issues ranging from politics to corporate social responsibility and brand activism.
You can see my views, watch my TV segments, and know what and who you’re getting before ever retaining counsel. It’s all out there. It’s not a mystery. This leads to a more transparent buying process. It helps a prospect understand how someone thinks and approaches complex topics. This will weed out the wrong fit and lead the right clients to your firm.
Personal Branding done right can be a tremendous strategic advantage for an agency, not only because of the PR component but because of the agency/client fit component. This is unfortunately one of the most overlooked benefits of personal branding and PR. I recently asked a prospect what content I produced that they consumed before hiring me. Their answer? They watched my previous media appearances.
Media builds trust. It is never about a single piece of media that moves the needle. The goal is to amass a body of knowledge and accumulate a library of media content that people can watch. That is not a one-time effort. It is a continuous effort that takes years to build.
HOW TO BUILD YOUR PERSONAL BRAND WITH CONTENT MARKETING
Jeff Murphy, BU COM: Can you tell us about how to leverage content marketing to increase inbound interest from the media in a personal brand?
Kris Ruby: Content Marketing is a critical component of personal branding and supports the branding and PR process. Let me explain how.
What is content marketing?
Content Marketing is the art of positioning yourself in the market as a thought leader and aligning yourself with content that shows your subject matter expertise in a specific vertical. But that’s only half of it. You also want to write content in a way that people want to digest it. Next, you want to make it easy to get found online for that content by people who are searching for your services or who are members of the media that are searching for that topic.
Content Marketing/ Personal Branding example:
People ask, “How did you get started on TV and how did you build your brand?” Here’s how.
I wrote an article as a guest author for JDate and the topic was how social media has changed the dating landscape. And then I tweeted out that content using the right hashtags so people who were interested in that topic on social media could find it. As a result of strategically hashtagging the article, a TV producer found the article and direct messaged me on Twitter and booked me for my first live TV segment. I had zero experience with television and I had never done a TV segment before. Plus, I did all of this without a PR firm. This is a great testament to the power of personal branding and public relations! But the reason that I was found by a producer on social media was because I put out the right content at the right time and I made it easy for the TV producer to find me on social media. Then, when he looked me up online, I had a strong personal brand developed and the credentials to back up what I was discussing in the article. This is how personal branding, content marketing, and PR should ideally work together to help you achieve your PR goals.
I share this personal branding example with you because you can do the same thing by utilizing my personal branding strategy to get more national media exposure for your business or medical practice. If you’re putting out content that could be a possible segment and you make it easy enough for people to find it, the same thing can happen to you! Personal branding is critical for doctors, lawyers, authors, entrepreneurs, and professional service providers.
PERSONAL BRANDING STRATEGIES AND TIPS
Personal branding strategy: Sponsored Content
There are other ways to amplify your personal brand that tie into a content marketing strategy. One of the personal branding strategies that will increase visibility for your brand is sponsored content. This is a huge trend right now in digital marketing. And it’s very important as some social media marketing platforms change their algorithm and make it harder for your content to be seen.
Sponsoring content and boosting posts have become a more important component of your digital PR strategy. If there is a website you want to get featured on from an editorial standpoint, but your pitches are not resonating with reporters, you may want to consider sponsored content. Yes, it does mean paying for visibility, but it is an interesting hybrid of editorial and advertising and enables you to reach your branding objectives. Buying sponsored content helps you get in front of the right audience with relevant content to a highly targeted audience that you are paying to get visibility in front of.
Personal branding strategy: Inbound Marketing
Inbound marketing is another personal branding strategy that is important to consider. This notion that you can bombard consumers with direct advertising is the way of the past and it is no longer an effective marketing tactic to reach mass consumers. If you want to develop a strong funnel of inbound marketing leads, you need to create compelling content that keeps people coming back for more.
PERSONAL BRANDING CONSULTANT: KRIS RUBY (LISTEN TO THE FULL EPISODE HERE!)
PERSONAL BRANDING AND SEO: WHY IT MATTERS
What role does SEO play in branding?
When you search for someone online and go to the first page of Google, think about what you click on.
Do you click on the paid ads, which you can very easily see because they’re marked as paid, or do you click on the content that answers your questions and matches the searcher’s intent?
Improve your personal brand with SEO
The next strategy to increase your personal branding is personal SEO. SEO for individuals is so important. I believe in organic SEO, which means consistently putting out fresh, organic content. I don’t believe you have to pay for it with pay-per-click (PPC) and many of these other paid digital tactics. If you put out strong organic content and have the right backlinks that carry weight and depth, then you can make it easier to get found online by prospects (and the media!).
How do I optimize my name on Google?
What do you want to be known for on Google?
Building topical authority with Digital PR and SEO starts with answering this question. How do I make sure I am the first name to come up on Google? One way to build your personal brand on Google is to claim your directory listing and use rich schema markup. You also want to claim your business listing on Google. The best way to optimize your name on Google is to *try* to control the search results. You can do this by consistently getting quoted in the media as a subject matter expert through a digital PR campaign, which will impact how relevant you are when searchers look for your name.
Branding through SEO: Search engine optimization for people
Most people think of SEO for their business, but they do not realize personal SEO is critical for building a personal brand. You want to use critical search terms that the media is using to find an expert in your niche. For example, the media may not search for your name at first. Instead, they will do a generic search like “NYC Social Media Expert.”
Branding Tip: Is your personal branding website optimized to appear in those search results? If not, it should be!
Personal SEO for your name: How to improve personal Google search results
The next personal branding strategy is blogging. If you consistently publish fresh content on Google, you will improve your branded search results for your name.
For example, let’s say you want to position yourself as a medical expert.
What are the top 20 questions that prospective patients have about your services?
Next, write content around that as part of your personal branding strategy.
If you do this personal branding exercise, you could have 20 pieces of content!
Personal Branding Tip: Write out the answers to prospects’ most pressing questions and help people find you.
Personal branding/ blogging tips: How to figure out the heart of your personal brand:
Ask yourself the following question:
If I was booked on a national television station on a topic, what would my title be as an expert?
Think about your name, title, and what you want to be known as an expert in. If you look, for example, Kris Ruby, President of Ruby Media Group, doesn’t answer the subject matter expertise. “Social Media Expert” or “Digital Media Strategist” would be the expert title in TV jargon.
What matters to a producer is answering:
- What is this guest an expert in?
- Are they an expert in social media technology, digital media trends or advertising?
- Don’t make them guess! Spell it out for them!
You have to be able to think like a producer. Think like someone who wants to find you and then do the reverse algorithm of that and work backward.
Personal Branding/ PR Pro Tip: Answer people’s questions so that if there’s a breaking news story, you are the one that the media is going to call as a source because you’ve already put out so much content on that topic that they know that they can rely on you because of your unique take on a given topic. The goal is to become a trusted source and media commentator. That is the power of personal branding and PR!
PERSONAL BRANDING MYTHS AND MISTAKES
Staying on brand: Avoid these top branding mistakes
Social media is not sufficient to replace your entire marketing strategy and it is not a magic bullet to fix your sales and marketing challenges. You can’t expect social media, marketing or branding to turn everything around for your business. You need to be doing one of seven different marketing and PR tactics at any given time using a PESO strategy.
Unfortunately, you can’t develop a personal brand by hiring an agency and expecting them to know what you know. No one can go inside of your brain and know what you know as a thought leader in your field. If you’re expecting someone to be able to ghostwrite on your behalf, it’s not a sustainable strategy. You have to be part of the content creation process. This process includes social media, branding, public relations, media relations, paid media, and traditional advertising.
Jeff Murphy, BU COM: Can you comment on the three big questions that we wanted to answer for our audience today, both from a small business and also personal branding perspective?
PERSONAL BRANDING PR
How to be positioned as an expert source so the media calls on you for quotes.
Kris Ruby: These are great questions to guide you in your personal branding journey if you want to be positioned as an expert source.
Create a brand vision and ethos.
What to consider before building a personal brand…
Answer the following brand questionnaire questions. We ask our clients to engage in the same exercise!
- Who is your target audience?
- What do you want to be known for?
- Who do you want access to?
- What media are you looking to connect with? *Then create a media list around that.
How do I build a personal brand?
Build a personal brand blog. Blogging for business or “the business of you” is critical to helping you reach your branding objectives. I can’t stress this enough– you need a personal branding blog. You also want to know your audience; you don’t just want to write for the sake of writing. If you understand what your personal brand is, and who you’re looking for, you should write content very specifically for that audience. If you’re not sure how to get started with blogging for your personal brand, there are blog topic generators, where you can put in three different keywords, and they will give you the titles of what you should write about. You also want to understand, what are your frequency limits? How much content can you put out?
PR personal branding Pro Tip. If you spend time writing PR pitches to journalists and no one uses your quotes, post the content on your blog. That’s why it’s so great to save interview answers that have not been used because you can keep recycling and reusing the content.
Create a content calendar. Create an editorial content calendar so you know what holidays are coming up and how that ties into the news for a hook or relevant angle. There are so many random holidays that most people don’t even realize exist so that’s a really good PR trick to leverage these holidays. And that can make your entire social media process that much quicker. Sharing helpful information is important. It shouldn’t feel salesy. It should feel like you’re compelled to write something because your thought leadership on the topic will be that helpful for people. Apply this rule: If you don’t want to share it or if your family wouldn’t share what you’re writing, skip it. Write content that is interesting enough that would apply to someone where it will actually help their life. You may say, but I work in a field that’s so dry, no one’s ever going to want to share this. That’s just not true. Spice up the content and bring it to life.
Develop your lower-third expert title. If a national TV producer looks for you, you’re not just the President of x company. You are an expert in X. You have very specific thought leadership in that area. A producer will not be interested in you because of what your company does or your company title. The truth is no one cares. Unless you’re hiring a NY PR agency to specifically get you a few press placements for a new product launch, it’s not a sustainable PR campaign. I’ve done more than 30 TV segments as an expert guest on social media marketing. I don’t think I’ve ever done one segment on what my company does. Because the media doesn’t care we do. They care about having an expert source who can comment on a story. Figure out what expertise you want to be known for and carve a niche around that.
Follow breaking news and always be prepared to comment on trending stories. Use sites like Mention or Google Alerts and put out alerts for trending news stories in your field so that breaking news comes directly to your inbox daily. For example, every time there is a news story on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, it’s impossible to keep up with it. I went in and I put on Google alerts for each of those keywords and now I’m getting a daily digest email about top stories, the top breaking stories for each of those things. And then I can decide, do I want to comment on it? I did the same thing with “election social media” as a phrase. And then I would get articles and decide if I wanted to comment on any of them in the media. You can do the same thing for your personal PR strategy to make this more manageable.
Watch the news. If you want to get found by the media online, start staying on top of the news more than you ever have before. Because in the TV booking world, they are booking guests based on breaking news, not fluffy ideas with no news peg. Anything that was planned yesterday is no longer going to be relevant tomorrow. If there’s a breaking news story, TV producers want someone that is able to speak on that specific topic. For example, if you’re in healthcare and a new medical study just came out, you want to write content around that, and then use the right keywords and hashtags. Guest blogging on other people’s websites is also critical for increasing visibility and domain authority.
How do I build a following on social media with my personal brand?
Just like every other social media app, a following comes with benefits and monetization opportunities. But before you can build a following, you need to give people a reason to follow you and understand what they are following you for and what benefits/ value they receive from the follow.
To build a following on social media:
- Follow other key opinion leaders and influencers
- Cross-promote through other social media platforms
- Participate in industry discussions
- Fill your profile with energy and relevant content that excites and engages people
How can I create my personal brand on a limited budget or without any money?
Answer media queries. You can use free resources like HARO to build your brand and get free media exposure and publicity for your business or PR for your medical practice. As a PR consultant, I use this PR tool every day for my clients. If you want to be quoted as a source, read those queries daily and respond to the ones that make sense for your business that you can comment on. If you get quoted, it is a source of free publicity.
Unfortunately, most people spend more time writing about themselves than they do giving a reporter what they are looking for. If a reporter says, “I’m looking for an expert who can speak on X,” answer the questions and provide one line at the bottom of the pitch with who you are and a link back to your personal branding website and why they should quote you. Journalists and reporters are receiving thousands of responses to queries per day.
What they’re looking for is the best response and the most highly qualified expert. The first thing that they want to see is who is actually answering the question they are reporting on. 99% of people do not ever answer the question. That is why no one picked up their responses to HARO queries. So that’s a great PR tip that I’m going to leave you with. That alone can help boost your personal brand, and it’s a free way to do it.
Create a PR strategy and engage in media training.
How can I strengthen my online presence?
Here is what the media cares about:
- Getting more viewers and eyeballs on their segments.
- Producing great segments.
- Having the best guests.
- Having experts on-air who are thought leaders who can move the story forward.
You need to be able to have a point of view that pushes a story forward.
It’s not just saying, “I read this” and regurgitating what the story is. It’s saying, based on the story, here are the top three things that you need to do.
See the difference? There is an art to crafting storylines and angles, which is where a PR consultant can help you.
Yesterday, I looked at a story of terrible post-election, social media behavior that I’ve noticed. And then I put out an article on the top three ways not to engage in deplorable social media behavior. I didn’t just read the story, I read it, and then I turned it around and I put out actually really good content that people can use and consume, that they’re like, Hey, Kris, thanks for sharing this, right. So that’s a perfect example of something that you can do as well. And if the content is strong enough, you can reuse that content for a pitch to a TV producer for content on a blog, or even break it down into different tweets. So that’s something that’s important as well. You can take this content and stretch it out exponentially, especially if you’re taking the time to write it.
I’m talking about TV booking and how to get on national television and some people here may not care about that at all but here’s the reason why I bring that up. Because this webinar is about social media and PR and leveraging your personal brand to do both. If you do one tactic, you can use it to get to the other. I want to empower you with the tools that if you’re going to use social media the right way, one of the byproducts of that is that you can obtain the attention of the media by doing that. So that’s why I’m sharing both sides of the equation of what that looks like and giving you examples of how you can do that when you are building your personal branding strategy.
PR Tip for personal branding: Don’t just comment on every story and don’t comment on things that are out of your wheelhouse or out of scope just to say that you commented on it. It’s better to go narrow than to go too wide when you don’t really know what it is you’re commenting about.
MEDIA RELATIONS & BRANDING: BUILDING A PERSONAL BRAND THROUGH THE MEDIA
How do you create a personal brand with digital public relations?
Jeff Murphy, BU COM: As we continue through this tour of your PR e-book, one of the questions that we want to dive in deeper into is about how important it is to make connections with members of the media. Can you speak more specifically about how to make connections with reporters and journalists on Twitter?
Twitter for PR: How to Use Twitter for your public relations strategy
Find PR opportunities on Twitter using these tips
Kris Ruby: If you want to connect with the media on social media, build a Twitter list that is private that no one else can see except for you. Add members of the media that you’re looking to connect with, put them all on a Twitter list and then follow their tweets. Rather than seeing your normal feed of the same 2000 people that you normally follow, you’re not going to see in that Twitter list, maybe only the fifteen media people that you want to get on their radar. And every day for 15 minutes, you’re going to go in there and you are going to favorite their tweets, you’re going to make an active effort to respond to some of what they’re saying you’re going to retweet some of their content. This will warm up the process so that if you ever do want to reach out to these reporters, or if you do want to get on their radar, they know who you are. So that is a great tip that can exponentially help you build your personal brand and it’s an easy, actionable item.
Create a traditional media list. What publication do you wish would write about you? Open that publication, look at an article that is written about your competitor, see who wrote it, look at their website and then on the bottom, they’re going to be sharing all their social media links.
Writers, like producers, want more traffic on their articles.
If you can help them achieve those traffic goals, you become more valuable to them. Not only as a source, but also as a fan and part of the audience. Create a media Twitter list and following what they’re reporting on. If they do write about you, thank the reporter on Twitter or Facebook and retweet the content, share the content and tag them in it so that they see it. From my experiences with the media and having built trusted relationships with the media over a decade, notice if you don’t do that, and if you don’t do that, they’re less likely to use you again as a source moving forward.
Twitter for PR Pro Tip: Tap into trends and also look on Twitter at what is trending. Put out content and leverage trends that are trending on Twitter.
Look for journalists’ queries in real-time. One of the things is #journorequest and #PRrequest and then and then just jump in there.
Facebook Groups for PR: How to connect with the media on Facebook
Jeff Murphy, BU COM: Kris, I’m curious to know what’s different about using Facebook to also make those connections with the media?
Kris Ruby: Leverage Facebook groups to connect with journalists because you never know what reporters are in the groups. Many journalists search for sources in Facebook groups. If you are in a very specific vertical, search for groups that exist within that, join the groups, and then comment within those groups, because a lot of times people get queries from media finding you within the Facebook groups. The other thing is you can use hashtags on Facebook and I think that’s important. You don’t want to overdo it the way you overdo it on Instagram or Twitter with hashtags, because Facebook etiquette is different. If you want people to find you, you should tag brand pages, mention places, and strategically use hashtags.
Raising brand awareness on social media
If you want to build a personal brand for business, you need to boost posts using paid advertising. Social media platforms have changed their algorithms so much that if you want to get found and if you want your fans to see your content, you need a budget for paid digital advertising.
Social Media personal branding tip: Create a fan page for your name as a public figure. Create a separate Facebook fan page so that again, you’re differentiating yourself as the brand, which is important.
Want more social media tips? Here is a link to a five-step process for measuring the ROI of social media.
Jeff Murphy, BU COM: Awesome, Kris, thanks as we wait for some questions to come in here. Again, to all of our guests, please feel free to use this chance to ask Kris Ruby a question by typing your question into the Q&A chat box at the bottom of the screen. And while we wait for those to roll in. Kris, I know you and I had talked about an interesting exercise with our group here. We want to know from all of you in terms of building your personal brand, particularly if any of you are already you know experienced and trying to connect with the media, please click the right answer here for which social media marketing channel has been the most successful for you. And Kris, I trust you can see those answers coming in real-time here.
Kris Ruby: For those that said none of the above, can you drop into the chat box right now? What the other category would be for you because you said none of the above. I want to know what are the other things that you’re doing that have worked for you. Drop that into the chat button so we can see what those things are so we can share it with the rest of the group.
Jeff Murphy, BU COM: Actually, Kris, I just opened up another poll question. That’s a short answer one, so people can go use that. But I can see them coming in here at the bottom, LinkedIn. Yeah, forgot to include LinkedIn. I don’t always think of that as social media, to be honest with you, I think of it more as your professional brand. But any comments on LinkedIn?
LINKEDIN FOR PERSONAL BRANDING: THE ART OF CEO BRANDING
How can I use LinkedIn to build my personal brand?
Kris Ruby: LinkedIn is important for personal branding with business connections and prospects and it’s the most business social media network out of all of the major social platforms. And it is really important for personal branding. One of the things you can do on LinkedIn is to share all the thought leadership content that you’re writing and put it on LinkedIn. Securing recommendations and testimonials from a colleague is important. Joining relevant industry groups and participating in those groups is also important. LinkedIn has added the capabilities and functionality to add videos or photos in your profile. If you’re quoted in an article, you should share that on LinkedIn so that other people can see that. People have work anniversaries, saying congratulations, it’s just another way to move your brand forward so people actually consistently see you. But the number one way to leverage LinkedIn for personal branding is to put out a steady flow of content, and then use hashtags to increase visibility.
Jeff Murphy, BU COM: Kris, we’ve got some great questions rolling in here. Molly’s wondering, is an e-newsletter a suitable substitute for a blog? Are they the same thing? What are your thoughts on that?
Kris Ruby: I don’t think they’re the same thing. I wouldn’t necessarily do it as a substitute. My answer is that it depends on who’s on the receiving end of it. If you have all of the people that are on your target list that are receiving that, then I suppose you could say that but my issue with an e-newsletter is that people don’t necessarily just find it because they’re getting it because they’ve already somehow subscribed to you. If I don’t know that you exist, I’d be Googling you to first find out about it. If you’re not putting that information on the blog, it’s going to be much more challenging for me to find that. The issue with that newsletter is that it goes under the basic assumption that I already know who you are and I want to read your content again versus the inbound approach. I’ve drawn people in with the content. To cover your bases, it is best to post that content on your personal branding blog as well especially if you have already written it.
Jeff Murphy, BU COM: And a similar question from Diane, she’s already a brand on an electric electronic newspaper, but wants to change venues for broader exposure. If you’re somebody who’s got a solid brand presence in an E-newsletter, what would you recommend as the next step to for broader exposure?
Kris Ruby: That just becomes a negotiation with the outlet. I would say that that’s the pitch. I would spend time as a PR consultant, perfecting what that pitch is and telling the reporter what you can bring to their outlet and why they should be working with you. They will be looking for your audience size or social media numbers, what type of talent you are, that you’re bringing to their site. If you’re a brand, they look at you as talent right now. That’s the new version of “Hollywood talent” and influencers. They’re going to want to see your own version of a media kit. My recommendation to you would be to put that together and let them know based on what you’ve done with a previous media outlet. What results you secure and how much traffic you were able to bring.
Jeff Murphy, BU COM: Interesting question here from Susan, specifically on Twitter. Is it better to have many more followers than accounts that you personally follow?
Kris Ruby: I think people do that for vanity reasons. So the Twitter vanity metrics, yes, it’s better to have more followers than people that you’re following. I think that matters, probably maybe with journalists if they’re seeing it. In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t necessarily, but if you want to I would say yes.
PERSONAL BRANDING SOCIAL MEDIA TOOLS TO SKYROCKET YOUR BRAND
Jeff Murphy, BU COM: You talked quite a bit about the importance of blogging for personal branding. So where would you recommend that people get started with blogging and what are some helpful personal branding tools?
Blogging platforms for thought leadership
Kris Ruby: I build personal branding websites using WordPress, and I customize the themes, and then they usually have a blogging component within them. So that’s what I recommend doing, having it built into the backend of a WordPress site. But you want to get started with it. Like even with writing one tool that I use that I pay is called Grammarly. Drop in all of your text that you’ve written, and it will edit it and it’s like having a professional editor on your computer. You can then put in “this is a business letter or business email, or this is going to be for a blog post and it edits the content accordingly for where you’re going to publish it. Having tools like that at your disposal is also just amazing and it cuts out having to have a full-time editor. Think about yourself as the publisher of your own magazine. Everyone becomes a publisher and that’s something that has really changed in digital PR and marketing. You need to think that way to succeed in digital marketing and PR. Think the way that the largest regional publication operates in the area you reside in.
You should expect to be putting a lot in on the front end of writing content, formatting that content, and doing graphics around that content. I want to share some tips with you and some tricks that you can use that are free or at a very minimal cost to do that. One of the apps that I use that is great for non-graphic designers is Canva.
Jeff Murphy, BU COM: You’ve been talking about this next question from Patrick, and you just talked about viewing yourself as a magazine publisher. Patrick’s question is, when your business is you, is there a different way that your branding than you would for a company? Should he be talking more about who he is? Or what he does?
How to become more visible as a recognized expert in your field
Kris Ruby: It’s not who you are or what you do. It’s fundamentally about what your brand can do for others that will make you an invaluable media asset. What is most important is how can you take that and move a story forward and give people information that will broaden their horizons on a specific topic. It’s not who you are or what you do, it’s what you can do for a producer’s audience that matters.
When you’re branding a person versus a company, it’s very different and you can take more liberties when you’re doing personal branding than you can if you’re working at a Fortune 500 company and you have a different structural hierarchy that you have to go through. The great part about having a personal brand is that you don’t have to go through all of that red tape.
I will say, though, that there are ways that you can very easily destroy your personal brand. I’ve never seen more people destroy their personal brands than I have over the past few weeks of the election, one of the things that I always tell people, you know, traditionally before any of this happened is you have to think about who you’re connected to.
Are you connected to people online whom you want to potentially do business with? If so, you don’t want to put something out on social media that is going to potentially offend 50% of the population that you are going to want to work with at some point down the line. But for whatever reason, right now, we’re in the wild, wild west of social media.
All conventional social media etiquette rules have gone out the window, and people are just posting whatever they feel like even on LinkedIn, I’m seeing it across the board. I urge you to think about that when you’re putting content out there. You’re in this branding game for the long haul. Don’t just think about what makes the most sense to post today because you have a strong opinion about something. You really want to think about- if this was on the cover of The New York Times my tweet, my blog post, what I want all of America or would I want the world reading this opinion, and you have to think about how it ties into your overall brand. Does it support it? Or does it detract from it?
Jeff Murphy, BU COM: Silas question addresses what you just talked about regarding somebody destroying their own personal brand, but Silas wants to know about when you have fans or commenters who are impacting your brand. He specifically mentions that on Twitter and Facebook, he’s getting lots of people who make comments that you don’t want to be associated with that he’s having to block people from time to time. And his question is basically, how do you make sure that you are interacting with the right set of people on social media channels?
Kris Ruby: I’m seeing a rise of that right now. Let’s say it’s on Facebook and you post something and someone posts something that’s an inappropriate response on that thread or that you deem inappropriate. One of the things you can do is direct message somebody in a polite way and say, “This is a safe space for positive commentary we don’t really tolerate so you can have your own sort of social media policy with your own followers and what’s okay and what’s not okay. If you start seeing things that are terrible and that you don’t want to be associated with, I would unfriend those people and block them. But unfortunately, right now everyone’s coming out of the woodwork and saying so much more of this stuff than we’ve ever seen. You can’t block everyone you’re friends with. If you post intelligent things in what is somewhat of a neutral way, and I think that the message, the way in which you craft that message also will dictate the response that you’re getting. If you still see things that are ridiculous, I’d say definitely remove that content because again, you are affiliated with what their responses or you can publicly respond and say, please don’t comment, please stop trolling my wall. You’re on Twitter, you don’t have to respond to those people at all.
Jeff Murphy, BU COM: Susan’s just typed in a question as I think, a result of listening to your answers on the last two. But let’s say that you do have a personal brand meltdown on social media, any thoughts on how you recover from a major brand disaster?
Kris Ruby: Go silent for a little bit. This world that we created where we have to be attached to our devices 24/7 in order to feel okay and connected it’s that’s not okay. If you have a brand meltdown, I would step away from the computer like stop posting, all you’re going to do is make it worse, you need some time to reflect on what happened with that meltdown. And if you stay connected, all you’re going to do is continue to make that problem exponentially greater. Walk away from the computer shut down and go take a walk outside, literally go sit in nature for a second and think about when you come back when you decide to have your comeback online, what is the thing you want to say? Do you want to issue a public apology? How do you want to PR this? Do you feel like you can recover from this? What does that really look like for you? It’s so specific to each individual thing that I feel like I probably have to have like a call with everyone on what those meltdowns look like, but my number one piece of advice would be stepping away from the computer and stop posting.
Jeff Murphy, BU COM: I knew we would get a question like this before too long and I’m glad Cattrell has asked that I think it’s a great place to end. And so Cottrell’s question and I’ll add other than hiring you as a personal branding consultant Kris, what would be your best advice for giving a new couture fashion brand some exposure on social media?
Kris Ruby: For a fashion brand Instagram would make the most sense for that brand and to also be joining different fashion groups and boosting posts. Figure out who your audience is and boosting posts accordingly to get on the radar of who you are looking for. Fashion is an entirely separate PR vertical where you need to be sending out samples and connecting with the right influencers. Figure out what influencers you want to connect with and then dress them and then and then broker a deal with them where they in exchange for you dressing them they are publicly promoting your line. obviously, they have to follow the new guidelines and make it clear right they have to let it be known that you have an agreement with them about that’s what you should be doing for some quick and easy exposure that’s more of a barter than actually paying out of pocket.
Jeff Murphy, BU COM: Kris let’s talk about your personal brand. Where should people follow you on social media for continued thoughts on how to build a personal branding strategy?
If you want to connect with me on social media you can find me at @sparklingruby or at @rubymediagroup. I’m happy to offer a 15-minute consultation to any member of the BU COM alumni community that was on this personal branding webinar today.
Jeff Murphy, BU COM: Awesome, Kris, thank you so much for your time. As you were doing your presentation that was sort of feeling like a lot of the tips that you were offering, it felt like a little bit like, you know, a peek behind the veil at how the media is made. Everything that you talked about it is common sense and, and something that everybody can do. I really appreciate that you delivered on your promise of “here are some steps that everybody who’s tuning in today can take to help build their personal brand and increase their media exposure. Thank you again on behalf of the BU Alumni office for sharing this with us today. I really appreciate your time.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
KRIS RUBY- NY SOCIAL MEDIA & BRANDING EXPERT
Kris Ruby is the CEO of Ruby Media Group, an award-winning public relations agency. Kris Ruby has more than 12 years of experience in public relations and media relations. As a result of Kris Ruby’s behind-the-scenes experience in a newsroom commenting on breaking news stories, she has a unique understanding of how to formulate effective public relations strategies and how to garner earned media wins for clients that result in national press coverage and earned media results. Kris Ruby has secured thousands of media impressions and press placements for clients in national publications and media outlets. She is a sought-after digital strategist and PR consultant who delivers high-impact personal branding training programs for executives. Over the past decade, Ruby has consulted with small- to large-scale businesses, including Equinox and IHG Hotels. She has led the social media strategy for Fortune 500 companies as well as private medical practices, and is a digital media strategist with 10-plus years building successful brands. Ruby creates strategic, creative, measurable targeted campaigns to achieve an organization’s strategic business-growth objectives. Ruby is also a national television commentator and political commentator. She has appeared on Fox News more than 100 times covering big tech bias, politics and social media. She is a trusted media source and frequent on-air commentator on social media, tech trends and crisis communications and frequently speaks on FOX News, CNBC, Good Morning America and other networks. Ruby is at the epicenter of the social media marketing world and speaks to associations leveraging social media to build a personal brand. She graduated from Boston University’s College of Communication with a major in public relations and is a founding member of The Young Entrepreneurs Council. Ruby Media Group’s CEO was recently named “Publicist of The Week” by Women in PR. For more information about Kris Ruby, visit https://www.krisruby.com and https://rubymediagroup.com
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*Date last updated 2022
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