B2B Marketing Podcast: How to Develop a PR Plan

b2b marketing podcast Kris Ruby

 

B2B PUBLIC RELATIONS: HOW DO I GET MEDIA EXPOSURE FOR MY COMPANY?

I was recently a guest on the Predictable B2B Success Podcast with Vinay Koshy. The Predictable B2B Success podcast is a marketing podcast for B2B marketers and public relations professionals. During the podcast, we discussed:

  • Best practices in B2B PR
  • How to create a B2B PR Plan
  • Modern PR
  • Brand Positioning

Kris Ruby, CEO and founder of Ruby Media Group shares how to drive your B2B marketing results with a powerful PR plan.

Listen to the podcast to learn:

  • The best way to approach setting up a PR plan that drives B2B and healthcare marketing results
  • Where a healthcare PR plan fits into your broader B2B marketing strategy
  • How to make sure your PR strategy succeeds with defined KPI’s & ROI
  • PR plan templates to track and monitor the progress of your campaign
  • The 5 ways to ensure your PR plan enhances your brand positioning
  • How to reach your target audience through PR in digital platforms
  • How to maximize SEO value from PR related content and media coverage
  • Why personal branding is critical to getting your future partners and audience to pay attention to your business and practice
  • The significance of video in your PR plan and strategy

PLUS: How to distribute your content and press placements after coverage has been secured.

Listen to the full episode here:

B2B MARKETING STRATEGIES

What is B2B PR?

Business-to-business (B2B) public relations targets a specific business audience, whereas business-to-consumer (B2C) public relations targets a general audience. With B2B PR, you are selling from one business to another. With B2C PR, you are reaching the public at large. Consumer PR and B2B PR are different fields within the public relations industry. A B2B PR campaign can help a business owner reach a target audience of C-suite executives through earned media coverage in trade publications or business verticals. A B2B public relations campaign can give your business a significant competitive advantage over your competitors through earned brand awareness. PR has tremendous value for mid-size and large companies that need to build up trust as a competitive asset.

B2B PR is ideal for:

  • Generating awareness among key decision makers
  • Changing public perception of your company
  • Aiding in lead generation (but not responsible for lead gen)

Every business has goals they want to achieve and PR can be a useful tool to solving certain business problems. For example, maybe you need more revenue or need traction and name recognition for a startup brand, PR is a valuable solution to fix the business problem. As a PR practitioner, I help solve unique business challenges with the expertise of 12 years of PR experience in Public Relations.

Don’t have time to listen to the full interview? Read the expanded interview transcript below:

BEST PRACTICES IN B2B PUBLIC RELATIONS

Vinay Koshy: Pleasure to have you Kris. I’m curious, you’ve got a string of accomplishments under your belt. What would you say is your personal area of strength?

Kris Ruby: My personal area of professional strength is combining public relations and personal branding. I like to figure out how I can take people and turn them into brands and create brand equity around their value in the market.

Vinay Koshy: What in that area of strength is something that businesses don’t know about public relations, but should?

Kris Ruby: PR can move the needle more-so than traditional marketing if executed properly.  For example, having your business featured on the cover of a trade publication can help your business development efforts way more than a traditional advertisement ever could. However, in order to get the maximum benefit out of PR, you need to create a B2B PR strategy first before you delve into tactics.

I see so many business owners today that want to jump at the next shiny marketing trend or offer. Whenever someone tells them that “this is what you need,” they go for it and try and get it. I don’t think that is necessarily a great public relations strategy for their business.

Instead, what you need to do is open up Microsoft Word and take the time to figure out:

  • What are my business goals?
  • What are my marketing objectives?
  • Where do I want to be in the next five years?

Only then after you have done that work, do you say, here’s how I’m going to plug in PR to the equation. Here’s how my personal brand plugs into that. Here’s how digital marketing plugs into that. But no one actually takes the time to do that work. Instead, they just say my competitors are doing social media, so I need to do it too.

MODERN PR: THE FUTURE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS

Vinay Koshy: You have a lot of experience in PR.  What would you say modern PR looks like?

Kris Ruby: Traditional PR has changed so much. With traditional public relations, you had all of these media gatekeepers that made it significantly harder to get press unless you had a massive PR firm and it was more challenging to get featured in mainstream publications. Now what we’re seeing is that so many of these outlets are being rolled up and acquired, so the market is shrinking as well as the number of traditional media publications that exist. This has led to the rise of digital PR, which is a field in and of itself. For example, a lot of executives that approach me don’t want traditional PR placements in print media because the opportunity for links doesn’t exist with traditional PR.  One of the greatest benefits of digital PR is the integration of SEO and content marketing into your B2B public relations strategy. All of this working in unison can be a powerful weapon for propelling your B2B thought leadership marketing strategy forward.

B2B PR PLAN: HOW DO YOU DEVELOP A PR STRATEGY?

Vinay Koshy: When it comes to PR, as you said, people get it wrong or can be confused. What would you say is the best way to approach setting up a PR plan that drives B2B marketing results? You’ve already alluded to the fact that executives should have a broad business strategy. But is there a place for a PR plan as well?

Kris Ruby: You should always have a PR plan before you start working with a B2B PR firm. For example, the first two months we start working with a new client, we create a PR plan for the company.  We create a fact sheet, a brand story, a new ‘about us,’ a new boilerplate that can be used in press releases (if applicable) etc.  We need time to gather collateral that we give to reporters. We also create a vision for corporate photography that we can use for new hi-res, headshots, revised executive bios etc.  We do this work to help our clients tell the right stories to the right audiences in a consistent, compelling and authentic manner.

It takes time to create a brand vision first before you ever pitch the media during the B2B public relations strategic phase. It’s not as simple as just saying “pitch the media” if you have no strategic plan behind it.

personal branding pr quote

 

As part of that B2B PR plan, you want to work with your public relations firm to determine:

What are our high-level public relations goals?

  • Are you interested in regional, national or trade press?

Here is a PR secret: business trade publications are a great resource for B2B PR because reporters are more likely to write a full profile on you than a consumer facing outlet.

Examples of B2B PR goals include:

  • Introducing the company to trade focused media
  • Increasing credibility with industry influencers through an earned media campaign
  • Securing media coverage for a new product launch
  • Increasing visibility for the company through a media relations strategy
  • Strengthening the position of the company to the target audience you are selling to through press coverage

PR FOR STARTUPS: WHY DO STARTUPS NEED PR?

Vinay Koshy: With the PR plan, where does it fit into the broader B2B marketing strategy? Should you look at it once you’ve reached a certain level in your business? Or is it something that a startup could use straight off the bat?

Kris Ruby: It depends on the business and the startups PR goals. Startups can leverage PR if they have the funding to do it. I always tell startup CEO’s that you only have one opportunity to get it right with the media when you launch a new business or product. That opportunity doesn’t come around again five years later. You only have one launch. You should promote the press release for a new business when you’re still new. If you miss that opportunity, you can’t come to us and say, “Can you put this out?”  No.  You launched five years ago. That is no longer newsworthy. Again, all of this starts with having a solid PR strategy for your startup. PR can be a great tool for startups to help build brand awareness, increase funding and round out pitch decks for investor relations. If you want to know more about how to get media coverage as a startup, my PR for Startups webinar is a helpful resource.

PR PITCHING: HOW DO YOU PITCH THE MEDIA?

Vinay Koshy: It’s more about the story that would capture the interest of the media and journalists, as well as their audience. Would that be correct?

Kris Ruby: Correct. It’s always about the story. And we can talk about best practices with B2B media relations, too. How do you create a good story? There are different layers of who a story may be of interest to.  For example, your story could be of interest to a reporter, but it still may not be of interest to that reporter’s editor or to the audience of that publication. There’s always several different audiences and layers at any given time when you’re pitching a story to a journalist.

Before clicking send, you have to think about: who will be most interested in this news?

It’s not enough for a reporter to love what you’re pitching.  Their audience and their editor also have to love what you’re pitching.  I wrote a media relations guide and it has a lot of helpful tips for your listeners where I include tips from former journalists. One of the interesting statistics that I include is that the ratio is so skewed right now of public relations professionals to journalists– six to one. Just imagine that. Those odds are stacked against you whether you have a PR firm or not. You have so many more PR professionals, and so many fewer journalists, which is making it that much more challenging to get your pitch or story picked up in the media today.

What can you do to differentiate your brand or business? That is what you should be focused on, not Googling how you can do your own PR.  Today, there are so many DIY PR courses.  I often talk about what I call PR corporate negligence and malpractice because I think that telling a business owner to do their own media outreach can cause long term collateral damage.

FREE PR AND DIY PR: WHY IT’S A MISTAKE

Vinay Koshy: What sort of damage could people expect with DIY PR strategies?

Kris Ruby: Oftentimes, C-suite executives that try to do their own PR and media outreach without formal media training do not understand the intricacies of how the media works. For example, these are the people who read some free e-book online or spent $99 on a course think they’re ready to go and these are the same people that speak to the media and say, “Oh, this may or may not be off the record.” They’re floundering around and then a story comes out and they want it fixed. And they don’t understand that that they can’t get it fixed because it’s not a paid advertisement. They don’t actually understand the difference between public relations and advertising from the start. PR is a storyline that you put out that you lack any control of. Advertising is something that you pay for. It’s a story you put out with graphics and creative, but you control it.  PR and advertising are very different communication channels.

ROI OF PUBLIC RELATIONS: HOW DO YOU MEASURE PR SUCCESS?

Vinay Koshy: What about ensuring that the story actually drives your business objectives? Because you can have a great piece of content that people love, but say, “Oh, that was great,” and move on, as opposed to taking some action. Can you speak to how that drives the ROI of a particular B2B PR campaign?

Kris Ruby: You’re touching on a really interesting topic, which is the value of PR for the sake of PR without a strategy. You could secure a top-tier press placement in a national newspaper, but if it’s a story of you talking about something that has nothing to do with your long-term business objectives, then was it still valuable, and what is the ROI of that? And the ROI of that may not be what you’d expect if it has nothing to do with your business.

I always tell people, “It’s not about the ROI of any one individual press placement. It’s about the ROI of all of these press placements together over many years.”

That’s why you’ll see that most PR firms will require six-month agreements or twelve-month contracts. No one’s really doing a one-month agreement in PR. And ideally, you should be working with a PR firm for many years. The reason I say that is not just so that they can keep you on retainer and have your business for eternity. It’s so that they can represent you to reporters and develop relationships with them over a long period of time, because maybe that PR firm will pitch you right now and the reporter can’t use you as a source. But they could use you a year from now or two years from now. That’s why I think it helps the client in the long run.

As far as the ROI of public relations, there are many ways to evaluate and measure it.

First, you want to look at Google Search Console and then analytics on the back end and take a look at:

  • What web traffic did this article or this press placement drive?
  • What is the conversion rate of the traffic?

You can also look at:

  • Increase in inbound links
  • Referral traffic from press coverage
  • Branded search traffic (has the traffic increased for your CEO’s name?)

Some measurement questions to consider:

  • Did the press coverage in a national business publication increase web traffic by X sessions or visits?
  • Did a blog post generated by the PR team result in X shares on social media?
  • What is the year over year increase in business press coverage?
  • How many new reporters at top-tier outlets have been exposed to your company?
  • What is the conversion rate of pitching to placements?
  • Is there a particular article mention or op-ed that is sending consistent, referral traffic to your web site?

Metrics driven marketers often fail to see the value in PR.  Often, the results of PR are intangible. Just because you can’t immediately see something or measure it the same way does not mean it is not valuable.

MAXIMIZING PRESS COVERAGE: HOW TO AMPLIFY & LEVERAGE EARNED MEDIA  

Kris Ruby: PR for the sake of PR means nothing if you’re not doing anything with the press coverage you have secured. It’s not just that you record a podcast interview or you get featured in a magazine.  You have to take that coverage and put it on your web site.  You have to take it and keep a list or a log of all of the press placements that you’ve done. So that it becomes impressive to a producer, journalist, podcaster or reporter when they are searching for your brand name online. You also want to leverage your press coverage for your sales process as well.  One mistake I see people making is that they do all of these incredible interviews with the media.  They get these amazing national hits, and they do nothing with it.

And I bang my head against the wall and wonder why are they even doing it? Because if you don’t organize that content for people (the media or their audience), then it becomes less impressive. The onus is on you to do that, not your PR agency.  That’s actually a separate service that most PR firms don’t offer.

If you really want to take your PR campaign to the next level and build a brand, you have to package that content together to build your personal brand. This is where branding comes in and personal branding is not the same thing as traditional public relations.

A branding consultant is skilled at taking your entire body of work and packaging it together in a way that differentiates you in the market, whereas a publicist is skilled at securing interviews for you with the media. They are two different fields.

Vinay Koshy: So, it makes sense, therefore, to have some sort of spreadsheet to track all the stories and PR releases that you’ve done over the years. Does it also make sense to have some sort of PR template that you could use to build out your plans as they evolve over time?

Kris Ruby: That’s another document you can save in Word or Google Drive where you can keep periodically updating it.  For example, when I first started out, I was more of a generalist. I became more of a specialist in healthcare PR and corporate communications. If I were creating a PR plan today, that plan would be different than when I first started my company in 2009. Today, I would want to do more targeted outreach geared towards getting on the radar of healthcare reporters or journalists in that space, so I could reach the audience in that area, as opposed to doing more general media outreach, which isn’t going to reach that audience. That not only changes your PR plan, it also changes any advertising dollars you’re spending too.

BRAND POSITIONING & PR

Vinay Koshy: I would presume that laying out your brand positioning goals is also a key part of that B2B PR plan?

Kris Ruby: In B2B PR, it’s not about being everywhere. It’s about being somewhere and targeting the ideal person or end user that you want to target. For example, let’s look at a comparison. Option A could be a national talk show. Option B could be a podcast that’s b2b like this one where it’s highly specialized. Which is more valuable to you? If your goal is to say that you got national media coverage, you could choose option A for the talk show. But if your goal is to actually get more clients and conversions for what you do, where you have an opportunity to talk about what you do and educate your prospective audience, it is option B. I think that that’s something that people don’t understand.

There’s still this allure, which I think is a fallacy of national media.  “National media!” “We want that!” and it’s challenging for me to understand as a PR practitioner, because I look at what’s happened with the fragmentation of media and I think there are so many great opportunities to get your message out to a highly specialized audience today. That audience may be smaller, and you may think it’s not worth your time and you’re dead wrong on that because something smaller and specialized is way better than something that reaches the whole country that may not be who you want to be reaching or want to do business with.

Vinay Koshy: Certainly, and we can bring this back to brand positioning. I would imagine that really identifying and clarifying your unique selling proposition (USP) would be a key factor. Is there anything else that we need to keep in mind?

Kris Ruby: In terms of brand positioning, in the media relations guide I talk about the five W’s as well. Why now? Is this time sensitive? For example, let’s say you are a physician, and you’re a specialist within the field. What do you want to be known for? Because there are a ton of cardiologists. What makes you different? Do you have a specialty? And then I keep going further.  You have to really niche down and keep going deeper and deeper into that and what that looks like.  Because just saying, for example, that you are a doctor in this field- that’s not having a brand or a strong value proposition.

A personal brand that is primed for the media is when a reporter can go to you and know that you are the subject matter expert in that specific vertical. That doesn’t only happen because of the PR firm you hire.  The onus is on you to do the work and to make that happen.

People make this mistake where they think, “I’m going to hire a PR firm and they can do that work for me.” No, they can’t. All of these people have one thing in common, whether they work with me or another PR firm, they’re still subject matter experts and key opinion leaders in their field. The difference is that they don’t know how to translate that subject matter expertise in digital platforms. And that’s where I come in as a PR professional. However, their authority and offline influence still exists with or without us. If you think that you can hire a PR firm and they’re going to create that for you, think again.

No one can create that for you. No one can join the organizations that you need to join to show that you’re involved in your industry. No one can publish op-ed articles for you. No one can publish in trade journals for you. You have to do the heavy lifting. And then it’s the PR firms’ job to take that and package it. But you have to understand that you need to give someone something to work with. And just saying, “I’ve arrived” is not enough.

People don’t realize that they have to round out their brands offline before their branding package is complete online. Your brand has to be malleable, and you must be open to constructive criticism, feedback and change if you hire a personal branding firm or PR consultant. Many times, I make recommendations on what someone needs to modify before I can start pitching them to the media. If you ignore these suggestions, your success rate is going to be limited in the coverage you get.

PR CLIENT ONBOARDING: WHY THE DISCOVERY PROCESS IS CRITICAL

Vinay Koshy: Do you find a bit of an educational process with new PR clients before they’re even ready to be taken on as a client?

Kris Ruby: Yes, it’s a steep learning curve. I know another PR practitioner who says, “I always ask how many other firms have you worked with?” And I say, well, why do you ask that? And he says, “Well, if I’m the first firm, I won’t do it. Because the learning curve is that steep.” And then there’s so many questions that first time PR clients have. For example, if you give interview answers – your answers may not be used.  Someone who is new to the world of PR and journalism doesn’t understand that. They think, “I gave the answers, so what happened to them?” Well, remember, let’s bring up that six to one ratio because anytime I’m pitching, someone’s getting hundreds of other answers too.  And then there’s also teaching people how to write better interview answers to increase their likelihood of getting quoted. There are so many nuances and layers to media relations and media training that are critical for B2B marketing success.

MEDIA OUTREACH STRATEGY: HOW DO YOU PROMOTE A B2B COMPANY IN THE PRESS?

Vinay Koshy: How would you identify the best media outlets to reach your target audience through a B2B PR plan? I mean, I would assume that if you’re not engaging with a PR firm for the first time, you would have some idea. But are there other ways to start refining where your audience hangs out? Whether it be in terms of journals or other places online or offline?

Kris Ruby: Everyone typically has an idea of who their target audience is and how they want to reach them. If you start talking to an executive, they will typically say, “oh, well, we’ve advertised in this publication.”  That can be a clue when you’re putting together the PR & Marketing history in the onboarding stage of where someone has previously been featured in, although that history may not actually be indicative of where they should be going, but it helps you understand what they have done from a marketing perspective, and what was most successful (or not).

When you are creating a PR strategy for a B2B company, you want to spend the time to identify their business goals and objectives and understand the key answer to: why are we doing this? The answer is not because they believe something is newsworthy.  There is a problem in the PR industry where a client will say, “this is newsworthy and put it out.”

More PR practitioners need to push back and say, “No, it’s not.”  They have to provide that lens of the reporter. If you look at PR firms, or publicists and if there’s one line of how you could differentiate them, there’s the ones that push back with clients and there’s the ones that don’t. And the ones that push back, I would argue, get more media hits for people, because they’re thinking like reporters. And that’s why you see so many people in the PR industry today who are former producers and journalists who have a deep an understanding of how a newsroom works.

I wrote for Observer for over two years. As a columnist, I understood the internal process of what it took to write for a digital publication after being on the other end of receiving pitches. That’s an invaluable experience for me to have as a publicist. I have also done over 100 national TV segments and have first hand experience in a breaking newsroom environment. I understand how quickly TV news works, the pace that it works at, and how those pitches look from the other end regarding what producers are looking for when they’re looking for guests. And that’s just invaluable experience that is relevant. I think more PR professionals need to have that boots on the ground training and real-world experience to provide the best guidance to their clients.

Vinay Koshy: I’ve noticed that a lot of PR firms hire content managers or editors with a news or journalism background. Would you say that could potentially double as the experience and the need to know for a potential PR opportunity?

Kris Ruby: There is definitely some overlap there. It’s great to hire former writers and journalists to spearhead the content marketing and PR division. However, the challenge that I’ve seen with that is that someone who is a great writer may not necessarily be thinking about the best SEO strategy for your web site.  And someone who is also a great writer may not be thinking about what are your SEO goals. What’s going to rank? And then what about the PR strategy? If you have great content that doesn’t pertain to the words that people are using to find you on search engines and have no opportunity of ranking on the search pages and snippets, that’s a problem.

What’s happening today is that you have business owners who are hiring all these people that are working in a silo and none of them are communicating with each other.  You’re paying people for marketing and PR jobs, but there’s no high-level strategy going on. All of these things are being done and no one is communicating with each other, so you are not getting as much value out of the activities or engagement as you could be.  It’s not just about having one skillset. It has to be an overlapping set of skill sets and you need to have someone that’s driving that overall public relations strategy and managing that.  You need to integrate your public relations program with your marketing campaign for the greatest chance of success.

Collaboration across all verticals and teams is critical for the success of the PR program.  This includes sales, marketing, public relations, content, social media and external agency partners. Additionally, when you treat your agency like a vendor and don’t give them the respect of sharing the high-level strategy that you are doing across all verticals, it will wear on them over time, and it will hurt the long-term agency relationship. Mutual respect is critical, especially as lines become blurred across marketing divisions.

PUBLIC RELATIONS & CONTENT MARKETING: HOW DO YOU GET PUBLICITY?

Vinay Koshy: In terms of creating the type of content that you would use for PR in conjunction with anything else that might already be going on, blog posts or other educational informational pieces that they’d be putting out, how does a PR practitioner need to coordinate with the in-house team to develop and coordinate the publishing of content?

Kris Ruby: Our clients spend a lot of time answering interview questions, but not all of those answers will get picked up by the media for a number of different reasons. We keep track of the interview answers in a master document. If a placement doesn’t run, sometimes their answers are so good, actually, that I hope that may not be used so they can be used as a blog post on their site. So that process starts where if that happens, we have a separate service now, which is a blog writing service where we will take that as the backbones and the skeleton of a possible new post for them, and then integrate with the director of content or SEO and optimize it. But what’s great is that the writing is already done from the client. Any writing that’s done on someone’s blog should come from them. I don’t believe in ghostwriting, I believe in editing and optimizing.

I don’t believe in writing on behalf of a client. And perhaps that’s because I work with a lot of doctors in the medical field, but I think it needs to come from them. I know there’s some debate about that in the content marketing community where people think, “Oh, I’m going to hire a service and they understand medicine, they can do it for me,” and I just think well, then how are you really a subject matter expert? Your personal brand that I’m putting out there, or anyone’s putting out there for you is supposed to be because you are the go-to authority. It’s challenging to trust that someone is a go-to authority if someone else is writing on their behalf.  No one knows what’s inside your head, only you do. You have to take that knowledge, put it on paper, and then let someone edit it and optimize it. That’s how PR and B2B thought leadership programs need to work together.

Vinay Koshy: Is there an element of planning together as they create that PR plan, in terms of content that will be put out or produced?

Kris Ruby: At a larger PR agency, you’re going to see more of that. For smaller PR firms, unfortunately, I think you don’t see that and it’s separate. But it really depends on the size of the client, the PR agency and resource allocation for the campaign.

Vinay Koshy: Once you have a rough piece that you think has the potential to be used as a PR pitch, how much more needs to go into developing it to make it pitch worthy?

Kris Ruby: For blog posts, you’re looking at hours and hours of work to optimize that content. And you also need to keep doing Google searches to see what other questions people are asking to optimize that content.  PR pitches are different. So that work is going to be more about formatting it properly, making sure you’re answering any questions that a reporter has.

b2b marketing pr plan kris ruby podcast

HARO: WHAT IS HARO? HOW TO GENERATE FREE PUBLICITY 

Kris Ruby: HARO is a great tool but, like any tool, it can be useful or dangerous. Professionals use HARO to find opportunities for their clients but, too often, people who don’t know how to work with the media dive in and probably do more harm than good for their brands.

Some people use HARO, help a reporter out, as a free service. Unfortunately, most people don’t know how to use HARO properly. And again, it’s a free PR tool, but what they do is they don’t actually answer the questions. HARO is about answering questions at the end of the day. That’s literally what it’s about.  HARO is about helping a reporter out. That’s what it means. It means they’re on deadline. They need you to help them now. Drop what you’re doing and answer them.  It doesn’t mean help them ten hours from now.  It doesn’t mean help them tomorrow. It means help them NOW.

So right off the bat understanding that is really critical if you want to increase your success rate with HARO. But the next is, are you actually answering the questions? It doesn’t mean answering only the ones you want and skipping the rest or taking questions out. It means answering them. And then the third component of that is giving lengthy answers.  Give a reporter a lot that they can pull from. If you give someone one sentence, it’s not usable.

I saw that from the other end when I was writing for Observer and working on two different roundup articles.  The sources that gave you exactly what you wanted and where you didn’t have to go back and forth with the publicist ten times were the people who got quoted. Why? Because they answered the questions and supply you with the requested information and make it easier to file a story and move on to the next article. One thing that would help people increase their PR success rate is creating their own podcast or blog and quoting other influencers within their industry.  The more you start to do that, the more you understand what’s really required, and how to make it easier for other people to give them what they need.  At the end of the day, that’s what PR is about.

Moral of the story: it may seem tempting to try to do your own PR with tools like HARO, but it’s not as easy as it sounds. There is an art and craft to responding to queries that PR practitioners are trained in. This is why you should leave it to the pros instead of trying to do it yourself and hearing crickets back. Also, HARO is not a PR strategy, it is only one tool.

PR TIPS: SCORE MORE INK WITH THESE B2B PUBLIC RELATIONS TIPS

Vinay Koshy: Is there anything else that we should be aware of when crafting public relations pitches for particular business focused trade journals?

Kris Ruby: When crafting pitches, the first thing you want to do is research the writer, look at their beat, and look at other things they’ve written about. And don’t just say, I saw that you wrote about this story, and you left me out. Can you add me? Also, if they previously covered it, they’re most likely not going to write the same exact article again. Take a look at broad strokes, what they write about and then say, “I read these other things that you wrote and I have something that I wanted to add.  If you’re working on anything else in this vertical in the future, please reach out.”

Introduce yourself, let them know you are a source. Also, if you’ve published an article in a trade journal, share it with them. You never know if they could add it to what they are working on.  Journalists, reporters and producers always want to have a great Rolodex of sources that they can go to and quote. It’s not just about getting your pitch picked up. It’s also about letting someone know you’re a source so that when they need you, you’re available.

Vinay Koshy: I’m curious, what would you do in instances where, let’s say you have an editor for a journal or magazine or some sort, but you’d like to be featured in, but they aren’t necessarily producing content themselves that gets featured in that journal or magazine? How would you approach someone like that?

Kris Ruby: I would propose the idea before writing the article, because you don’t know if they’re going to approve the idea. Then I would say, this is something I’d be interested in writing for your site.

PERSONAL BRANDING VS. PUBLIC RELATIONS

Vinay Koshy: How would you stand out when pitching the media? Most editors get hundreds, if not more, by way of pitches, how would you aim to stand out when you know very little about the actual editor and the interests other than what is published in the magazine?

Kris Ruby: One way to stand out is with a personal branding package where you together a list of the other links and places you’ve been featured in, and maybe your own writing and your blog where they can see what that looks like. However, I’d also caution people away from the guest posting strategy that once reigned supreme in the digital marketing world. I know everyone still wants to do it to say that they were featured in Forbes or Inc. etc.. The problem is that you lose a little bit of SEO value when you give away your best content to these other sites, because every site needs content, but you know, whose site also needs content your own?  I think that people are thinking so much about this PR benefit of being on these other sites? Saying “As seen on Forbes” or this or that, but what they don’t understand is that a lot of these links are nofollow links. Yes, Google recently just made some changes with nofollow on what they’re doing. And maybe it’s going to count. Maybe it won’t.

The point is that some of this will turn into duplicate content if you take it and then put it directly on your site. And again, that’s a whole other debate about, is duplicate content of it. I don’t think it is; some people do. That’s another podcast discussion. You should keep your best writing for your web site. If you want to do this other strategy where you write content and you know that you get a follow link fine. I don’t think that you should do it for a bunch of nofollow links. I don’t think that most PR practitioners, by the way, are having this conversation with their clients. And again, I think it’s negligent. They need to be able to understand this because you can’t ask a client to put out their best thought leadership content for a nofollow link and not understand what that means. You can’t be work in digital PR and have zero understanding of SEO or what that entails in your broader marketing strategy. And so much of the traditional PR industry is still operating with their head in the sand about that. And I think that they need to have those skill sets work together as a fundamental component of your B2B content marketing strategy.

Vinay Koshy: I would assume that if you’re going down that route, then developing a PR distribution plan would also be important for your content, once it gets published, and if you’re not accepted there, then another potential publication would pick it up.

Kris Ruby: Sure. If you’re going down that route, you could do that and have a list of media outlets you want to pitch.

Vinay Koshy: So this would primarily go back to the original PR plan itself and the places that you’d like to be featured in. You would just focus on that and just distribute a potential story or a piece of content to those specific places. Would that be right?

PROACTIVE VS. REACTIVE PR: HOW CAN I INCREASE MY MEDIA COVERAGE?

Kris Ruby: Let’s discuss the fundamental strategies for increasing your media coverage. There are two different types of PR approaches: proactive and reactive PR. I’m a specialist in reactive PR, and what you’re asking about is proactive PR. Proactive PR is about coming up with a plan and saying, “I want to reach out to these people,” and then you pitch them. Reactive PR is when you’re reacting to journalists who are already working on a story and saying, “I need a subject matter expert.” I have found that the success rate is significantly higher with a reactive PR approach, because you’re giving someone what they already need when they’re working on it, as opposed to shooting in the dark and hoping that maybe someday they’re going to write something. A reactive PR approach is dictated by what a reporter is writing about at that moment versus who you ideally want to be pitching for a larger feature story.

Vinay Koshy: That’s interesting. So, with a reactive PR approach, you have a library of perspectives and content that you can pull from?

Kris Ruby: There’s no library because all the questions are new and different every time depending on the story or segment.   The library has to exist in your head. You have to really understand the breaking news in your industry to be able to meet the needs of journalists if you’re going to do reactive PR, because they’re going to ask you, “can you comment on this?” and if you don’t know what they’re talking about, then you’re going to lose with reactive PR.

The best thing you can do is follow the news in your industry every day so that you are ahead of the curve when a reporter says, “Instagram is removing the follow feature,” and you know what they’re talking about.  Because if I go to a client and say, “what do you think about this story?” and they say, “what are you talking about?” we’re going to lose that opportunity. But if that client is already following the news, they’re going to be able to give me an answer in two seconds. Part of a reactive PR approach is that you have to dedicate at least an hour every day to reading the news.

Vinay Koshy: And I’m assuming that you would very much be using social listening and tools in that space to keep track of all that’s going on, especially with the media.

Kris Ruby: There’s new technology that’s being created as we speak. Something like a HARO 3.0 that will bridge the gap with social media and what reporters are working on. We’re seeing some of that technology come out right now, which I think is an exciting time for the PR industry. I hope the whole industry shifts in that direction. And, you know, one area that that doesn’t exist in is TV and getting guests for TV. I would like to see something like that happen in TV to it would it would be interesting for the industry. I don’t know if it will ever happen, but it would be cool if it did.

Vinay Koshy: Taking that same thought and applying it to social media because even news clips and things of that nature can be viewed on social media. What other tools that allow for that engagement with like podcast hosts or live TV, live video streaming, hosts and things of that nature?

Kris Ruby: There are podcast aggregation sites where you can find podcast guests and a lot of the resources are paid at this point. Cision is also a paid service. As an agency, we spend thousands of dollars every year for paid media query services. That’s part of the value you get when you work with a PR firm.  One of the main benefits of working with a PR agency is that they’re covering the cost of all that for you. Similarly, if you work with an SEO firm, you’re assuming that they’re paying for all of those tools, too.

B2B PR THOUGHT LEADERSHIP: WHY IT MATTERS FOR THE C-SUITE 

Vinay Koshy: How important would you say video is even if you’re not being featured on other channels, whether it be a major distribution network or a TV station on say, channels, we’re talking B2B here. So, let’s say LinkedIn.

Kris Ruby: Video is a critical component of your B2B PR strategy. LinkedIn is practically giving away organic views right now.  In terms of organic video reach, the views are off the charts compared to Facebook. It is what Facebook was many years ago in terms of getting people to see that content right now. If you are a corporate executive, you need to be creating video in between your press hits placements and media interviews as an integral component of your thought leadership program. LinkedIn is the best way to reach key decision makers in the C-Suite!

However, there is one major problem that I want to address. If you were to create a chart of an executive creating a critical mass of media coverage in a very short amount of time, their content has to back up their PR. It can’t just be that you’ve gotten featured in 20 places but you’re not publishing content to support the subject matter expertise behind that, or else it looks like the PR firm did all this great work, but where is the content to back it up? This is what I call strategic PR.

Most PR professionals don’t get involved in this component of it, because their job is to get the client hits.  They get the hits, they think their job is done. I disagree. I think it’s not. You need to guide a client with a holistic PR approach to what is best for their entire business. Because if you get a bunch of press placements in all of these media outlets in a really short amount of time, that can almost damage your credibility, because suddenly you came out of the woodwork.  “Where did this person come from?” is what people start to wonder, and if you’re not putting out content on a business blog to back that up, it can negatively impact your campaign. You need to do all of this in a very integrated fashion.

With media fragmentation and so many live streaming and digital options right now, people still say, “I only want to be on traditional television broadcast channels.” Look at the success of Cheddar TV or some of those other outlets. Those are great PR opportunities for coverage that you shouldn’t pass up, as long as you can obtain HD video links from the national TV appearances.

Vinay Koshy: For someone uncomfortable with putting themselves on screen, what would you say would be a good place to start and start thinking about content that they could use or create around the video and place on channels like LinkedIn?

Kris Ruby: Everyone is great at doing what makes them most comfortable. If you are uncomfortable in front of a camera, it’s hard for me to say that you should definitely be doing video or live TV, even if the market dictates that you have to do video right now as part of your social media marketing or PR strategy.  I can’t necessarily say you should do it. However, you may be more comfortable doing something like a podcast, and therefore that may make more sense for you. You should do what you shine in.

You shouldn’t just do everything because a social media or PR consultant tells you that you have to be everywhere. Do the thing that you’re best at. For example, there are people who are conference speakers and they’re on the circuit and that’s their thing. Those same people may not, shine on air, just like someone who is on-air may not shine being in a conference around a bunch of people because they’re more introverted. You have to know your strengths, and then let someone else know what they are and develop a plan around that. But don’t develop a plan around your insecurities or doing something that you don’t like or you’re not comfortable with because a PR practitioner tells you to.

Vinay Koshy: So play to your strengths.

Kris Ruby: Yes, you know why? Because your content is going to be better.  I’ll give you a great example. A woman who wears a dress and they’re not comfortable in it. People always say, well, you shouldn’t wear that. Wear what you’re comfortable in. Because then you’re not thinking about your dress. You’re thinking about what you’re saying- it’s the same logic here.

B2B MARKETING SUCCESS

Vinay Koshy: What would you say is your top tip in creating predictable B2B marketing success?

Kris Ruby: My top tip in creating predictable B2B marketing success is to understand that public relations is not going to be a one-off approach.  You have to be doing content marketing, PR, personal branding, digital marketing, plus social media all in unity.  You can determine at any time where you want to increase the level of x percentage on each one of those areas. But it’s not going to be something where you just decide not to do any one of those areas for any extended length of time.

I see Executives who achieve amazing results with any one of those areas, and once they get results, they rest on their laurels. Unfortunately, that is not a way to have predictable B2B marketing success. You want to understand what’s changing in B2B marketing and public relations so that you don’t feel like a dinosaur.  I started my company as an entrepreneur when I graduated from Boston University’s College of Communications at 21. I’m 33 and now and I can still feel like a dinosaur at my age too! I like to share that with people because a dinosaur doesn’t have to do with age, it has to do with the amount of time you have in any given industry, and what changes that industry has had over that length of time. If I were still practicing like I did when I was 21, I’d be out of business.  You have to keep innovating and stay in the game.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR/ B2B PR PODCAST GUEST

Kris is the CEO of Ruby Media Group, an award-winning NY public relations marketing agency that helps companies leverage the power of content marketing to increase exposure. Over the past decade, she has consulted with small to large scale businesses, including Equinox and IHG hotels to name a few. Kris is a seasoned social media strategist with 10 plus years of building successful brands. Kris Ruby has led public relations programs for B2B clients and Fortune 500 companies as well as private NY medical practices. She’s a sought-after digital media strategist and PR consultant who delivers high impact social media training programs for executives, and she is a trusted media source and frequent on a commentator on social media tech trends and crisis communications, and often speaks on Fox News, CNBC and Good Morning America, among other TV networks. 

ABOUT THE PREDICTABLE B2B SUCCESS PODCAST

The predictable B2B success podcast is a show that helps business owners, marketing and sales executives achieve predictable growth by expanding their influence. Each episode features an interview with a founder, sales or marketing executive or thought leader in the B2B space discussing topics like marketing strategy, sales strategy, strategic partnerships, customer success, customer experience, people experience, hiring, social media, content creation and marketing, podcasting, video marketing, influencer marketing, agile marketing and much more.  The show features well known authors or hosts of popular podcasts but most importantly you’ll hear from those who have hands on experience in creating predictable B2B success. Through each episode, the show will help you explore the best ways to create predictable B2B success in your business. This podcast will make you a better B2B publicist and marketer!

 

B2B PR AGENCY SERVICES

Elevate your B2B marketing plan with PR services and reach new customers with a public relations strategy. As an award-winning B2B public relations agency, we have secured B2B PR results for companies including feature stories in business trade publications and even cover stories in trade focused verticals. To see our B2B PR portfolio, reach out.  RMG specializes in developing publicity programs that work in conjunction with B2B marketing plans to drive increased visibility, leads, sales and earned media coverage. For a complimentary audit, contact us today.

Do you have a marketing podcast for B2B marketers and publicists? If you are interested in having our CEO on as a guest on your podcast, contact us here.

 

All content on this web site is owned by Ruby Media Group Inc. © Content may not be reproduced in any form without Ruby Media Group’s written consent.  Ruby Media Group Inc. will file a formal DMCA Takedown notice if any copy has been lifted from this web site. This site is protected by Copyscape. If you would like to reproduce any portion of this podcast episode (a direct quote or audio snippet), please submit a written request. Permission is not granted for reproduction of this episode without written authorization. This includes quotes, audio, visual, graphics from this podcast episode or transcript. 


Social Media Keynote Speaker Kris Ruby Millennial Awards

 

Kris Ruby Social Media Keynote

“Millennials urged to create legacies on social media”

Social Media Strategist Kris Ruby was the Keynote Speaker the 2019 Westfair Communications Millennial Awards.

social media keynote speaker kris rubyKris Ruby told attendees that living in the social media age gives millennials a unique opportunity to have a lasting impact.

“You have this huge opportunity to take the knowledge base that you have developed and acquired in your career starting now,” she said. “You can record it in so many different ways that have not been available to people that have come before us.”

Ruby, who has more than a dozen years’ experience in public relations and has been a featured commentator on Fox News, CNBC, “Good Morning America” and other television stalwarts, said millennials who are social media-savvy have unique opportunities to create legacies incorporating the knowledge they accumulate throughout their careers.

“Just having all of this knowledge in and of itself in your brain isn’t enough,” she advised. “I believe as leaders, we have the responsibility to pass knowledge on. One of the ways that I believe we can do that is through social media.”

WATCH KRIS RUBY’S KEYNOTE HERE: 

Ruby said that one of her goals is to change the perception of women on television.

“Watch what people say about men when they’re on TV,” she said. “What they say is, ‘I heard what you had to say, you sounded really great.’ What do we say about women when they’re on TV? ‘You look great.’ And one of my key missions as a woman on television is to change that conversation …. to say ‘you sounded great. I heard what you had to say and it resonated with me.’”

She advised the millennials that as their careers progress they should surround themselves with people who will push them to greater heights and not to be content with “yes men.”

Click here to read the article above in Westfair written by Peter Katz.

MARKETING KEYNOTE SPEAKER: ABOUT KRIS RUBY

 

Kris Ruby Keynote Speaker Bio

 


Political Advertising On Social Media

Paid Facebook ads have always been a critical tool for political campaign managers to target prospective voters.  However, Elizabeth Warren recently dared Facebook with an intentionally false ad. In a recent Fox News segment, Social Media Strategist Kris Ruby of Ruby Media Group discussed anti-conservative bias in big tech. Click here to watch the full segment.

 

Should Google, Facebook or Twitter control and moderate political speech?

If you turn on cable news today, you will see a slew of lower thirds such as “the dangers of political ads on the web.”

But just how dangerous are these political ads on social media?

Yes, political ads spread misinformation. How is this any different from the political ads that run on television that also spread misinformation?

Why are we asking for a new set of rules for digital advertising that we have not demanded from traditional advertising?

SOCIAL MEDIA POLITICAL AD POLICY

Political advertising in the digital age.

Online social media platforms are now facing growing pressure to stop running political ads that show false or misleading claims ahead of the 2020 U.S. presidential election. Politicians, pundits, digital advertisers, marketers, and the general public have debated whether there should be stricter regulations around political advertising on social media.

Politicians run political ads on social media in a variety of rich media forms including:

  • Retargeted videos
  • Sponsored Snapchat geo-filters to targeted locations
  • Boosted and sponsored posts

HISTORY OF POLITICAL ADVERTISING

Digital advertising on social media is a critical tool for candidates to find donors and sway voters. 2020 presidential candidates have reportedly spent almost $100 million to date on digital advertising on social media platforms. Trump reportedly spent the largest amount of money on digital advertising among 2020 presidential candidates.

Is it really big-techs role to limit and control how campaigns can reach voters?

Online advertising is much more precise in comparison to broadcast television ads in terms of the ability to reach the end user. This is the magic of digital advertising vs. traditional marketing.

Why should we kill that just because politicians want to take a stance?

Critics claim that on TV, political ads are highly regulated. However, they still contain falsehoods despite the regulation.

Why should political ads on social media be treated differently than political ads on television? Why the double standard?

“In the United States, the Communications Act prevents broadcast stations from rejecting or censoring ads from candidates for federal office once they have accepted advertising for that political race, although this does not apply to cable networks like CNN, or to social media sites, where leading presidential candidates are spending millions to target voters in the run-up to the November 2020 election.”

Broadcasters must adhere to the Federal Communications Act, which states they have no power of censorship over the material broadcast.

Lies have always been a key feature of political campaigns since the dawn of time. So, why this rush to control digital advertising on social media sites?

FACT: Digital advertising works \better than traditional forms of media when you are looking to target a specific group of people. Politicians are afraid of the power of micro-targeting. They don’t want to be blamed if someone wins that was not considered the popular choice, which is why there is an outcry from congress as to why this targeting should be hindered for political candidates.

SOCIAL MEDIA: NEW RULES FOR POLITICAL ADS

Digital ads on social media platforms are not subject to the same disclosure regulations that apply to traditional television and political ads on radio and other traditional media vehicles. However, people are putting pressure on social media platforms to ban political ads.

Political Ad Policies

So, how are tech companies handling misleading claims in political ads?

Here is a rundown of the current social media policies of big-tech giants.

FACEBOOK POLITICAL AD POLICY

Politicians are exempt from third-party fact checking, meaning politicians are allowed to run ads with false claims. Elizabeth Warren criticized this policy and said it could cause a spread of misinformation. She ran a false ad on Facebook to highlight this issue, which I recently discussed in the above segment on Fox News. Zuckerberg has repeatedly said it is not his role to censor political speech. However, Facebook does fact check content from political groups.

Facebook now requires mandatory disclosures so people know who is running political ad campaigns. Facebook recently tightened rules for US political advertisers ahead of the 2020 election.  Political advertisers are required to display a confirmed organization label to show government issued credentials. Any advertiser running political ads are also required to post their contact information.

Facebook requires political advertisers in the U.S. to:

  • Submit a U.S. mailing address and identity document
  • Supply a phone number, business email and web site
  • Submit a federal election commission ID number, tax registered ID number or government website domain.

Facebook Political Ad Policy

GOOGLE POLITICAL AD POLICY

Google will limit audience targeting for election ads to age, gender and location at a postal code level. Political advertisers can no longer target ads using data such as public voter records and general political affiliations such as right-leaning, left-leaning or independent.  Google is also restricting an advertisers ability to micro target political ads on Search and YouTube.  Google is also getting rid of the customer match feature, which enables campaigns to match profiles with voter data.

Will Facebook follow suit by getting rid of custom audiences? I don’t think so, considering this is part of the powerful engine that drives ad revenue for the platform. They have too much to lose by doing that.

Google Political Ad Policy

TWITTER POLITICAL AD POLICY

Twitter recently banned all political ads that include content that references a political candidate, party, election or legislation. The company also said it will not allow ads that advocate for a specific outcome on political or social causes.

Twitter is considered the smallest player within the political online advertising space. Political ads do not make up a substantial portion of Twitter’s revenue, therefore this move is less of a risk for Twitter than it is for Facebook or Google.

Twitter Political Ad Policy

The pros and cons of restricting political ads on social media

PROS

  • Proponents of limiting campaign microtargeting believe it could curtail election interference and misinformation.

CONS

  • Could hurt less well-known candidates
  • Could suppress voter turnout
  • Control all digital political speech.

As big tech companies overhaul their politician ad polices in favoring of limiting politicians’ ability to target voters through microtargeting, this will potentially hurt the smaller campaigns who rely on microtargeting to reach new audiences. It could essentially wipe out any of the small plyers from even having a chance to compete. It is actually going to rig the system in favor of only those with large pockets.

Not every campaign can afford television ads. Many can only afford digital ads with smaller budgets. If we kill off that option, we are killing off the ability for new players to enter into a free-market political race.

Will government regulation affect growth? 

Limiting how narrowly politicians can target voters and the types of ads politicians can run on social media platforms is not the real issue.  The question of government regulation looms over the digital advertising ecosystem. The biggest threat to Facebook and Google will be who wins the next political election. Believe it or not, the greatest thread to digital ad growth is politics. Google controls 90 percent of the market and has no real competition.  None of these digital ad platforms are growing as quickly as they used to. The only way they will grow is to buy smaller faster growing social media networks (like Tik Tok). The prospect of regulation may introduce a real hurdle for ad growth. If these tech companies are broken up in an antitrust probe, this would be a disaster for profitability.

POLITICAL ADS ON SOCIAL MEDIA: KRIS RUBY’S FINAL THOUGHTS

Microtargeting enables politicians to reach specific groups of individuals through digital advertising. It has come under fire by critics because it enables politicians to target narrow groups of voters. Critics say this has to potential to “manipulate” the political debate and upcoming elections.

However, microtargeting on digital ad platforms is the key behind the rapid growth of digital advertising. This is, after all, why so many media buyers have shifted paid media spends to digital advertising in the first place.

If we limit the ability of the Internet to do what it is very best at, aren’t we censoring this powerful form of advertising?

We are telling people this form of advertising works so well that therefore we are going to limit your ability to use it. What kind of message is that to send to consumers?

Imagine saying, this car drives too well, so therefore, it’s unfair if it stays in the market. We are going to only give you the option to buy a slower car.

Why should one be penalized for the righteous advantage of knowing how to use digital advertising and deploy it to target voters? That is not manipulation, it is having a competitive advantage and skill set of how to deploy digital advertising across multiple channels.

If we start to censor one’s ability to use these marketing vehicles as they were intended to be used, we are going down a very slippery slope.

And, if microtargeting is so controversial, then why has it not been removed in every other area outside of political advertising? It enables anyone to target niche groups of people with tailored messages, not just politicians! It gives people the ability to narrowly reach their target audience and end user.

That is not manipulation; it is good marketing!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kris Ruby of Ruby Media Group is a frequent commentator on Fox News. She reports on Facebook, Google and Big-Tech Privacy Concerns.

 

 


Public Relations Podcast: Inbound PR Success

Inbound PR Kris Ruby podcast

 

Listen to the Inbound Success podcast interview I recorded to learn more about public relations and how you can leverage PR as part of your inbound marketing strategy.

“It’s so interesting to me that somebody from the PR world so intuitively gets what it means to do inbound marketing correctly.  There’s a lot of practical information here for any marketer who has ever considered using PR as part of their strategy.”-Kathleen Booth, Inbound Success Podcast Host

Inbound Success Podcast

“Ruby Media Group CEO Kristen Ruby breaks down the top myths surrounding PR and inbound marketing. In this podcast, Ruby gets into detail about who should consider using PR, when to use it, how much you should expect to pay, and what kinds of results you should expect when you hire a PR firm.”

In addition, we cover the difference between PR for brand building and PR for SEO, as well as the difference between reactive and proactive PR.

Listen to the full PR podcast episode here 

INBOUND PR PODCAST HIGHLIGHTS

Highlights from the Inbound Success Podcast Interview: 

  • A PR specialist is different than a media relations specialist.
  • PR can encompass anything in a communications and marketing plan, whereas media relations is specifically about interaction with the media.
  • PR is a great strategy for any business or healthcare practice that is looking to build a long-term, sustainable funnel of leads.  It is also great for building your personal brand.
  • One of the key benefits of PR is that it can contribute to building your domain authority, which is helpful for SEO.
  • In terms of setting expectations for a PR engagement, the results you can achieve are very dependent upon the news cycle and what journalists and reporters are interested in covering.
  • You should expect to commit to working with your PR firm at least one hour each day.
  • When it comes to inbound PR, it’s important to build up online authority so that the media sees you as a credible source. Building this authority starts with what you are doing offline. The key is to translate that offline authority into digital platforms.
  • For doctors looking to get started with healthcare PR, publish content that is aligned with your media coverage goals. This content can be published on your website, LinkedIn profile, etc.
  • The cost of PR can vary widely depending upon the scope of services, the type of media coverage that you’re looking for and the size of the NY public relations firm you want to work with.
  • If you want to be on national TV as part of your PR plan, it is worth investing in media training as part of your public relations campaign.  This will prepare you to be on camera and to learn how to field difficult questions from TV anchors, reporters and journalists.
  • There’s a difference between reactive and proactive PR. Kristen specializes in reactive PR, which entails responding to reporters’ requests for sources, as opposed to proactive PR, which she says is going out to the media and spamming them with unsolicited pitches.
PR quotes kris ruby PR podcast

Listen to the Inbound Success podcast to learn more about public relations and how you can leverage it as part of your inbound marketing strategy.

In an exclusive 45-minute PR podcast interview, you will learn the answers to your most pressing questions about PR and inbound marketing including:

  • What is inbound public relations?
  • The difference between PR and media relations
  • How we built a clients Domain Authority to 32 only using PR (and no paid advertising!)
  • Why media coverage success rates are significantly higher when you practice reactive PR
  • Why Twitter is critical for your public relations strategy
  • PR for brand building vs. PR for SEO
  • Why content marketing and Inbound marketing must work together for a successful Inbound PR strategy

PLUS 

  • What makes for a newsworthy story?

 

ABOUT THE PR PODCAST GUEST

Kris Ruby specializes in strategic Public Relations and Media Relations and has over 12 years of experience. To view a full list of Kris Ruby’s podcast appearances, click here. 

Podcast hosts: Do you have a podcast about PR? Are you looking for Public Relations Execs to share key insights? If you are interested in having Kris Ruby, CEO of Ruby Media Group, on your podcast to discuss all things PR, drop us a line.

P.S: We are passionate about educating people on how to leverage PR to increase exposure. If you have a B2B or Healthcare marketing podcast and you are looking for a guest to educate your listeners about public relations, I am happy to share PR tips with your audience.

Plus, we always promote PR podcast appearances on social media if the information is valuable for our audience and people can learn key takeaways from the interview.

For interview and media requests, contact us here.

inbound pr podcast kris ruby

Facebook Dating Privacy Concerns

Ruby Media Group CEO was recently on TD Ameritrade discussing the launch of Facebook Dating in The United States as well as privacy concerns.

 

FACEBOOK DATING

In The United States, Facebook’s user base is shrinking as many younger users move to other social networking sites. Facebook is looking to capitalize on user growth by developing new ways to keep users on their site.

Enter Facebook Dating.

Many users have privacy concerns about the data that Facebook will be using with Facebook Dating.

Was this really a good time to launch Facebook dating given the privacy concerns?

Do you think users will flock to Facebook dating and leave the other dating apps or is this a big flop for Facebook?

Facebook’s Dating FAQ: Your Questions Answered

Does Facebook have a singles site?

Yes! It is not a separate site but rather an app within the Facebook portal for dating other singles.

How do I enable Facebook Dating?

The scary part of Facebook dating is that you are automatically opted in for it. You do not have to do anything to opt in- it is already available to you.

Privacy concerns with Facebook Dating: 

This is a very interesting time for Facebook to be launching a dating app given all of the recent privacy scandals and PR nightmares they have had over the past year.

FACEBOOK DATING REVIEW

To report on Facebook dating, I created an account and decided to test it out. Here are some of the concerns I had:

TOS

“Although we have the right at any time to conduct criminal background checks or sex offender register searches, you should not expect that we will do so.”

If you meet someone on Facebook and get killed, Facebook is not liable.

Secret Crush Feature

The Facebook Secret Crush feature is a bit creepy. You can add *any* of your Facebook friends to it! Now imagine people adding married colleagues or their boss as a “secret crush.” This won’t end well.  Facebook has already led to numerous marital disputes. This will only lead to more..

‪Politics

Facebook Dating has no options for political views in your profile.

social media expert NYC kris ruby td Ameritrade network

 

Data Concerns

Facebook Dating pulls from all of your events and groups. I am not sure group members even realize this is an option. This is potentially very scary.  What if you joined a support group and now FB is matching you with other support group members?

“See Matches in your events”

“See matches in your groups”

It automatically opts in users for this unless you manually go in and opt out of being matched in 600+ groups if you are an active Facebook group member.



Traditional Marketing Vs. Digital Marketing

 

Kris Ruby, CEO of Ruby Media Group, joined Cheddar TV to discuss how advertisers can effectively combine traditional and digital marketing methods.

These are the Traditional Marketing Strategies That Won’t Die in the Digital Age

Topics covered in this segment:

  • Is traditional marketing still relevant?
  • Can digital marketing replace traditional marketing?

TRADITIONAL MARKETING TECHNIQUES THAT STILL MATTER

What is traditional marketing?

A traditional marketing strategy relies on conventional media vehicles including:

  • Radio
  • Television
  • Magazines
  • Brochures
  • Advertising
  • Billboards

Traditional forms of advertising were calculated by volume and audience.

For example, if you were placing paid media buys through traditional marketing channels, you would ask the following questions:

  • Newspaper. What is the newspaper’s readership? How many people will be exposed to my message?
  • Radio. How many listeners will hear my message?
  • TV. How large is the viewership for the TV network?

When evaluating a traditional or digital marketing strategy, you want to consider:

  • The cost of customer acquisition
  • The lifetime value of the client (or lead)

Digital marketing vs. traditional marketing

What is the difference between traditional marketing and digital marketing?

The main difference between digital marketing and traditional advertising is customization and targeting.

Traditional marketing = wide net.

Digital marketing = highly targeted net.

People purchased traditional advertising largely based on national reach vs reaching the right people in their target audience through highly targeted digital advertising.

Advantages of Traditional Marketing

What are the advantages of traditional marketing over digital marketing?

Traditional marketing is a great choice if you want to cast a wide net and reach as many people as possible on a national scale. One of the main disadvantages of digital marketing today is the rise of ad blockers, which can hurt how many people are being exposed to your marketing messages.  Today, more than 600 million devices are using ad blockers.

Many of the clicks you are paying for in a digital advertising campaign can be fraudulent. For example, the high click-through rates and traffic you believe you are generating (and paying for!) may not be what you think it is.

You are paying for one thing that isn’t necessarily what is being delivered.

So, if you are spending money on digital advertising, the cost per click you are paying can be dramatically different if you are reaching a bunch of bots and ad blockers. Plus, if less than half of all online ads are viewable because of ad blockers, you have a problem.

This is one area where traditional marketing will remain supreme and has a major advantage over digital marketing.

Bob Hoffman, author of “BadMen: How Advertising Went From A Minor Annoyance To A Major Menace” said, “According to the World Federation of Advertisers, within 8 years ad fraud may become the second largest source of criminal income in the world, after drug trafficking.”

Why is traditional media still important in advertising?

Has the rise of influencers (especially news influencers/commentators) hurt local news organizations with increased competition in coverage and advertising?

Kris Ruby digital marketing vs traditional marketing cheddar tv

Why would a brand pay the quote in a smaller news organizations media kit when there are influencers who will work for less or have larger followings?

The rise of influencer marketing has hurt local news organizations on a hyper local level. Consumers are always excited about the latest shiny thing when it comes to marketing trends, regardless of whether it is the right strategic approach for their business.

That being said, a brand should still consider paying the advertising quote in a local news outlets media kit even if there are influencers who will work for less.

Why?

Because many of these influencers who tout large followings may not even have real followers. You can read more about the Instagram black market and trend of buying and selling Instagram accounts

As marketers, it is important to  look at how many of those followers are actually real. Plus, you have to look at if the followers are relevant to your business.

The best local marketing plan is one that is a strategic and comprehensive integrated marketing communications plan. That would include paid media (ads), Influencer marketing, social media marketing, public relations, content marketing and digital advertising.

Influencer marketing cannot replace the value of traditional advertising.

For example, if your target demo is men 65 plus and they aren’t active on Instagram, it doesn’t matter how many followers an influencer has or how much cheaper their rates are in a media kit.

The local print outlet will most likely be a better match to meet your target demo.

Pro Tip: The media vehicle has to match the target demo and what their media preferences are.

How can digital and traditional marketing work together for your brand?

Traditional and digital marketing can complement each other in a strategic integrated marketing communications plan.

Both can be used to pursue similar outcomes of:

  • Engagement
  • Brand awareness
  • Brand preference

In a digitally-dominated world, why do you think some traditional marketing techniques still hold value and relevance?

It’s not as much of a digital-dominated world as you think. Not everyone is a digital native and for some parts of the marketing puzzle, traditional marketing channels pull a stronger ROI and reach a better audience.

The power of digital marketing is the power to go very narrow — targeting with a level of sophistication we’ve never had before until now.

But marketers don’t always want to go narrow.

Sometimes, they want to reach a much broader audience. And, if that is what you are looking for, traditional media may still be a better vehicle to achieve that outcome.

What are some ways advertisers have combined traditional methods with a progressive approach that includes digital PR/marketing?

  • Sponsored Content, Event Marketing, Access to big data
digital marketing vs traditional marketing

Marketers use traditional media for brand awareness and leverage digital platforms to drive purchases as the moment of decision making.

Conversely, there are thousands of examples where customers first find out about a product online and then make their purchase decision based on subsequently seeing traditional advertising or PR.  This is why it is important to not overly rely on one type of marketing channel. Ideally, you want to be doing a combination of different marketing vehicles.

How have traditional media outlets and publications figured out ways to reach new markets and consumers?

The most important question is not how traditional publications can reach new markets but, instead, if they can make it profitable.

The main problem with the publishing industry is that it existed on lightly targeted advertising, and now marketers want more-narrow targeting.

A full-page ad in The Wall Street Journal can cost a quarter of a million dollars for one ad.

Or you could spend a tenth of that and carefully reach only those people who were actually potential buyers of your product or service. It’s a no-brainer.

In some ways, big print ads are becoming what PR used to be — a signaling device that tells people a company is established and legitimate.

What are some of the trends you’re seeing in Out of Home advertising that are helping brands extend their reach?

Even in out-of-home (OOH) advertising, digital advertising has changed the game. For example, there are digital billboards near the Las Vegas airport that tens of millions of people see a year.  You have to drive past them as you leave the airport and they’re very popular with consumer brands and companies that advertise during conventions.

In the old days of marketing, buying that billboard for a month or a week would have cost a small company a fortune – it would have been totally out of reach.

But now?

What if you knew your biggest potential customers were all flying in the night before a trade show, and you could buy an hour on that billboard?

What if you had one big prospect you wanted to target and only needed that billboard for 15 minutes or less?

With digital advertising, the owners of ad platforms can accommodate marketing asks like that.

It’s not that it’s more affordable on a per-impression basis, but that it’s affordable because you no longer always have to buy a whole billboard for a month or more.

So, the difference is not only cost, but the frequency and volume of the media you are buying as well. You now have the option to purchase large scale OOH media for a fraction of what it once cost if you purchase it for a shorter period of time.

THE FUTURE OF MARKETING: PREDICTIONS

Is the age of mass media over?

The age of mass media is not over; it is just evolving.

As we have seen with the explosion of the podcast industry, it is becoming more of a niche digital marketing landscape. I expect to see this trend continue.

PR tactics will change depending on generational media consumption preferences. Before you can place media for a brand, you must understand who the target market is and what the media preferences are within that demographic.

For example, if you are a brand that is targeting baby boomers, traditional marketing and PR would be a good approach to reach this demo because this target audience watches TV.

However, if you want to reach millennials, TV may not be the right approach because the majority of these consumers get their news today from social media and digital channels.

The key here is to ask the following marketing questions:

  1. What media matters most to your target demo?
  2. How do they consume media?
  3. What are their media consumption preferences?

Create a media strategy accordingly and determine if traditional media is a more effective vehicle than digital marketing to reach this demo.

BONUS

5 actionable traditional marketing ideas to try 

Still not sure if you want to use traditional marketing or digital marketing tactics to increase exposure?

Increase sales for your business today using both traditional and digital marketing strategies to drive awareness.

  1. PR GUEST POST
    1. Traditional Marketing Idea:Publish an op-ed in a newspaper.
    2. Digital Marketing/ PR Idea: Write a guest article on a trade industry web site.
  2. E-NEWSLETTERS
    1. Traditional Marketing Idea: Send out an e-mail newsletter.
    2. Digital Marketing Idea: Add lead magnets to your blog posts to increase conversion rates.
  3. PUBLISH
    1. Traditional Marketing Idea: Publish a book and become a bestselling author.
    2. Digital Marketing Idea: Create an e-book or self-publish a book on Amazon.
  4. ADVERTISE
    1. Traditional Marketing Idea: Buy an ad on a local radio station that is popular with your target audience.
    2. Digital Marketing Idea: Launch a podcast. Who do you want referrals from? Interview those people on your show.
  5. SPONSOR
    1. Traditional Marketing Idea: Sponsor a booth at a tradeshow.
    2. Digital Marketing Idea: Become a digital sponsor of a digital summit.

 

TRADITIONAL MEDIA VS. DIGITAL MEDIA RESOURCES

 How Publications Increase Revenue In a ‘Grow Or Die’ Environment 


Women in PR “Publicist Of The Week”

Kris Ruby, CEO of Ruby Media Group, was recently named Women in PR’s “Publicist of The Week.” Here is some advice we wanted to share with other aspiring publicists after 12 years of working in the PR field.

PUBLICIST CAREER ADVICE

What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs and aspiring publicists?

Everything needs to be backed by a contract.  This applies to your engagements with clients and also with strategic partners and vendors. Don’t leave things up to chance because you are a trusting person.  Get it in writing from all parties in a deal.

There is a difference between sharing how you do what you do vs. what you do. Any time someone asks for ideas, they are usually almost always asking for strategy (and free work!). As PR practitioners, strategy is a key component of what we are selling in our deliverables. Don’t give this away unless you are retained with a signed contract. This includes offering up free PR ideas when you are replying to RFP’s. Unfortunately, most PR firms waste hundreds of hours of billable time annually with prospects that are shopping around and have no plan of actually changing agencies or ever retaining a PR firm to begin with.

Qualify the buyer and invest in sales training. Too often, as PR professionals, we get excited when someone wants to work with us. Instead of getting overly ecstatic, we need to properly assess if it is the right fit and ask critical questions such as:

  1. Is this the right fit for my PR agency?
  2. Can I secure stellar earned media results for this client?
  3. Does this prospect understand how the media works or will I have to spend time training them on media relations 101?

If you feel like something is a bad fit, it usually is. Trust your gut and stop trying to go against it just because it would be nice to add another client to your web site in that vertical.

Only take on projects that you are truly passionate about. If you don’t believe in it, you can’t possibly do a good job promoting it. You must believe you are the right one to carry that person’s mission and vision from a PR perspective.  If you know someone else is better for it because they believe in the product (or the person) more than you do, refer them the business. Life is too short to promote things that you don’t believe in.

Use your PR abilities to help spread more positivity in this world. Whether that is veganism or political activism, your ability to connect journalists with causes that matter sets you apart from others who may not have your PR skills. There are millions of organizations that would kill just to have someone with your PR skillset who could impact change in this world. Take a chance and help them.

Keep investing in industry training. Almost every other profession requires continued learning credits. I believe the public relations industry should require the same.

 

WOMEN IN PR RESOURCES

Kris Ruby was also recently named PR Girl Boss of The Week by Orlaigh Claire.

PR girl boss Monday

Do you dream of working in PR? For more of my top career advice for aspiring publicists, check out my full interview below with Orlaigh Claire.


Political Bias: How Google’s Quality Raters’ Guidelines Impact SERP’s

Google recently settled with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Over Political Bias Claims. In a recent segment on RT America, we discussed the Google antitrust probe and the political bias complaints from former Google employees.

 

 

In this article, I discuss the following:

  • Is there political bias in how Google displays search results?
  • Does political bias impact ranking recommendations in search queries on Google?
  • Are search resulted altered or manipulated during political elections?
  • Does Google provide access to information regardless of a political viewpoint?
  • Does Google rerank or change search engine results?
  • Does Google Censor search engine results?
  • Is Google’s search engine biased?
  • Does big tech discriminate against right-leaning media outlets and employees?
  • Does Google promote or demote content that is considered controversial or labeled as a conspiracy theory?

Does Google Censor Free Speech?

One of the most pressing issues in the 2020 election is our ability to access fair and balanced news on search engines. Americans want to make sure they are seeing content from all political parties in order to make an informed voting decision.

Recently, there has been concern over the suppression of content on search engines and the ability of big-tech to tamper with elections and SERP’s (search engine results pages). This is no secret and has been widely reported in the news. Some sites claim that they have been blacklisted for certain search terms, and their content has been deranked because it is labeled as low-quality content.

The Politics Behind Machine Learning 

The politics of artificial intelligence is a critical topic as we move towards better understanding algorithm rankings. In order to determine if algorithms are balanced, you need to look at who is responsible for creating the algorithms in the first place. Remember, the people who create the algorithms can create them to their own belief system.

This is why it is important that if a search engine owns 90 percent of the search market, that it employs people from all political point of views.

It is critical that machines are programmed properly for both Democrats and Republicans.

Several conservative bloggers have reported being manually banned for content in search results. Recently, President Trump tweeted that Google manipulated votes in the 2016 election.  Some bloggers have reported that heavily trafficked articles saw a huge drop in search engine rankings. So what is really behind this?

Search Engine Manipulation

Manipulating search engine results has also been a widespread issue covered in recent Congressional hearings.

So the million dollar question is: Is this really due to political bias of search engines?

Or does it have to do with larger quality issues called “E-A-T” as outlined by Googles Quality Rater’s Guidelines?

E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness.

Google’s Quality Rater Guidelines

In Google’s recent quality rater guidelines update, they placed a greater emphasis on news sites, and algorithm changes in the news industry. There is also a stronger emphasis placed around author credibility, particularly in the (Your Money Or Your Life) YMLY Categories – Civics, Government and Law has been added to this area.

Additionally, alternative health sites have taken a hit in search ranking results.  Reputation is also being considered in the quality rater guidelines from outside news sources.

Any website that is considered to be a YMYL page is put on a higher standard by Google because they have the ability to affect a searcher’s health, happiness, wealth, and safety.

E-A-T Worthy Content

There are over 200 technical SEO factors that can impact search engine rankings on Google.

But what about E-A-T and the impact it can have on search rankings?

When Google is rating your web site, they are evaluating it for E-A-T worthy content. The main question they are looking to answer when rating your site is: is this content trustworthy?

And it doesn’t matter if you tell people you are trustworthy. What really matters here is that others around the web from third-party sources are saying you are trustworthy.

So now imagine that you have a popular right wing web site. The author states they are trustworthy. Then, you go to Google, and there are numerous complaints about the web site and others saying this person is not credible at all and is spreading conspiracy theories. It almost doesn’t matter what the person says at this point. Because third-party credibility to support your own claim of expertise matters more than your actual credibility in Google’s eyes.

So even if you are authoritative in your field, if Google determines the author of the content has a poor online reputation, that will impact the search rankings of the web site. If the author of the article has a poor digital reputation in the court of public opinion, that site is most likely going to tank and will never rank well.

Google also emphasizes that your site must have a clear purpose.

Google Page Purpose

 

But what if the purpose of your site is by nature controversial?

For example, what if you create a web site that states:

“The purpose of my site is to share the truth about vaccines.”

OR

“The purpose of this site is to share why abortion is wrong.”

See the inherent problem here? Google is viewing political pages or right wing pages as having invalid page purposes to begin with. They believe the purpose of those pages is to harm users!

Additionally, the second highlighted statement there is a contradiction within their guidelines document. “As long as the page is created to help users, we will not consider any particular page purpose or type to be higher quality than another.” Incorrect.

Later on in their guidelines document, they go on to say the following:

Low Quality Google Pages

 

So here is the problem. Any information that is not considered acceptable by the mainstream will not be called “accurate content”  if you are unable to provide citations to studies around the web supporting the claim.  The majority of alternative health information or right wing content will by nature contradict well-established expert consensus. All of this information may be labeled as “unsubstantiated conspiracy theories” by Google. Google will also say that this information is attempting to misinform rankings and spread conspiracy theories. If you are sharing information that cannot be cited by outside sources, it will be considered an opinion, and may be more likely to get pushed down vs. a pharmaceutical company that can cite studies.

And the worst part of all of this? If you try to publish journalism that is not in the mainstream, Google is actually accusing users of doing it to “make money or gain attention.” How sad.

 

 

 

LOW QUALITY GOOGLE PAGES BY E-A-T STANDARDS

 

E-A-T Trust and Political Content

Even though you have followed Google’s guidelines of having the purpose of your site be visible, you are not following the guidelines because in their eyes, you are spreading conspiracy theories. It doesn’t matter what you write, or how many blog posts you write because everyone says that “content is king!” Google will determine you are spreading fake news because these are not mainstream popular opinions, and you will see a steep decline in rankings that you most likely can’t ever recover from.

Google is not seeing this as political bias. They are very transparently saying: we will deprioritize site rankings that share views that are not popular.

E-A-T is all about trust. And if you are sharing any political opinions that are outside of the norm, Google will see that as a real danger and threat to consumers. You will tank in E-A-T rankings. I’m convinced this is real issue because the alleged political bias that is being reported about Google, but no one has put the pieces together.

Additionally, the reputation of the content creators matters in the eyes of Google. So if the bios of the authors are controversial in any way, that will also negatively impact search rankings.

So, let’s explore this.

Let’s say Google has no political bias at all. But, if everyone else says your site is spreading conspiracy theories or leaves bad reviews about you all over the Internet, that will impact your rankings. And from what we have seen, many conservatives with strong opinions that are outside of the mainstream may fall under this category. If you pair that with Googles brand new quality rater guidelines, you have the perfect storm. I am not quite sure anyone has really connected the dots yet on this one, but I believe this is at the heart of what is really going on here.

This screenshot is taken from Google’s clause on Pages that potentially spread hate. What is most interesting here is that they ask the Quality Rater’s to use their own judgment based on personal knowledge.

Google cannot claim to be neutral and have no political bias when in the same sentence in a document created for quality review standards they tell reviewers to exercise personal judgment! Yes, I understand this particular clause is referring to pages that spread hate and not political pages, but you get the point.

An AP article stated, “Political leanings don’t factor into Google’s search algorithm. But the authoritativeness of page links that the algorithm spits out and the perception of thousands of human raters do.” I completely agree with this statement.

The other challenge, particularly for doctors in alternative medicine, is that Google is determining what is fact from a conspiracy. So, for example, if you dish out advice on your site that Google considers inaccurate or dangerous, your site will suffer in search results. If your views are alternative and differ from the mainstream, that is considered “dangerous.”

 

I believe this same principle is being applied to machine learning and quality rater reviews pertaining to politics.

 

See what’s happening here? Google is essentially saying medical advice should NOT be given by people who do not have appropriate medical expertise or accreditation. But, what are they defining as “appropriate medical expertise” and accreditation? See how this could take out the entire field of alternative medicine sites in one clean swoop?

consensus

Can you see why this could be largely problematic? “Where such consensus exists.”

Well, there are many areas where consensus will NOT exist on topics ranging from healthcare to politics. So what happens to those sites where the opinions fall out of the mainstream, popular choice? Are they not considered quality pages? According to Google, yes, they are not, and they are deemed low quality websites.

Why Author Reputation Can Tank Search Engine Rankings

Positive reputation is mentioned several times throughout this document. Many right wing sites have been tarnished with negative reviews on accredited business review sites. So, Google will take that into consideration, and they are very clearly saying “positive reputation” matters for rankings.

 

So, if a political commentator or alternative healthcare practitioner has negative reputation mentions all over the Internet, Google will automatically derank that content from appearing in search results. They aren’t hiding that fact- it’s just that no one has really bothered to read through these quality guidelines and connected the dots together regarding the impact of these guidelines on political content search results.

I also notice several times throughout the quality rater guidelines one of the common criteria for low-quality page rankings is “the level of expertise of the author is not clearly communicated.

Yes, E-A-T SHOULD distinguish between the two scenarios, except when it doesn’t.

And that’s where the problem really begins…

Many right wing commentators and political pundits who have risen to fame on Twitter and social media may not have the political background Google considers as “ accredited” regarding expertise on politics.

Right off the bat, regardless of what they publish, Google will see an inconsistency with the topic of content they are writing about and their perceived background of expertise in the topic. Again, this will automatically tank search rankings, and Google is very clearly stating it.

consensus

Is Google politically biased?

So, does Google have a political bias when it comes to search engine results? I am going to leave that to you to determine, because I don’t want this site to be flagged for “spreading conspiracy theories.”

 

Does Google censor search results?

What I really think is going on is that Google’s determination of “dangerous” information is the real culprit here. Any information being disseminated on the Internet around nontraditional healthcare remedies or non-mainstream political views is considered ‘dangerous’ because it does not reflect the popular opinion of the majority of Americans.

Google will de-prioritize this content in an effort to “protect” consumers from fake news. The problem is that for some people, that news is not fake news, and it is real news. They want access to both. And they do not want Google determining what is real vs. fake and what is dangerous vs. what is helpful.

In a private conversation with an anonymous SEO specialist, he said, “If you’re writing articles around science, show your research and medical journal citations so Google can verify it as credible. And if you’re writing about politics, don’t have negative social proof. How else would Google verify it as fact or fiction other than social proof? What algorithm could they create? There’s no way to measure politics because it is all opinion based. You either have good social proof or you don’t.”

My reply?

“No. You don’t get it. Anyone in politics who is a conservative will automatically have negative social proof. That’s the whole point of this investigative journalism piece.”

That is my take on the issue. What is yours?

 

E-A-T RESOURCES

Google Quality Rating Guidelines

Google Quality Raters Guidelines Updated 

Google’s Quality Raters’ Guidelines E-A-T Webinar: Marie Haynes 


Corporate Social Responsibility, PR and the Rise of CEO Activism

150 CEOs of major companies demanded the Trump administration and Congress to take action on gun violence.

In a recent segment on Fox Business, branding strategist Kris Ruby, CEO of Ruby Media Group, discussed:

  • How CEOs and their companies can ‘do good’ in the court of public opinion
  • Is CEO political activism fair to shareholders?
  • Is corporate social responsibility a great PR strategy? Or will it lead to long-term economic failure?
  • If it does lead to loss of profit, is it worth it because CEO’s are giving back to society on a larger level?
CEO activism

CEO Activism: Brands and Political Activism

Is taking a political stand a mistake for brands?

Every brand is taking a political stand these days on social media. But is it a mistake? And can it cost you profitability in the long run?

Taking a political stand as a CEO used to be considered a public relations “no.”  Now, it appears almost every Corporate Executive is changing their tune on this old adage. When did things change and why? What can we attribute to the rise of CEO activism?

  1. Millennial consumers. Consumers under 30 demand corporate social responsibility from their leaders.
  2. Social media. Social media changed the playing field. Many CEO’s are now using social media as a portal to share political views. CEO’s believe, “If I can use my power and social media network to make change in this world, then I will.”

The social media microphone of corporate executives

A lot of CEOs today, particularly in big tech, have celebrity power – a sort of bully pulpit they can work from. As I stated above, anyone selling to people under 30 has to take this into account because younger consumers demand much more corporate social responsibility from the companies and brands they buy from.

Social media has changed the speed at which this information is transmitted and the transparency of politicians viewpoints.

Should CEOs get involved in politics and weigh in on controversial issues?

There are expectations on CEOs to speak up on issues anywhere from gun violence to ICE raids and immigration reform.

Consumers are now relying on big brands and corporate executives to impact legislation on topics that were traditionally siloed for the government to handle.

How has this impacted integrated marketing communication strategies?  I am not sure we have seen the full ramifications of how this will impact a brands marketing communications strategy.  We are in unprecedented times.

Yes, corporate political activism seems to have skyrocketed under this administration, but at what cost? All of these decisions can have real world economic impacts as well.  And at some point that is going to catch up.

While it is great to read the headlines of corporate social responsibility, you rarely read about the PR aftermath of partnership or vendor disputes regarding the fallout from some of these decisions.

CEO Activism: the pros and cons  

Even if the CEOs goal of political brand activism is good in nature, it can still have a ripple effect on every other part of their business.

For example, how does a CEOs political views impact their companies media relations efforts? Does it help or hurt them if the press has different political views than the CEO? Similarly, how does this help or hurt the CEO if their employees have different political views?

CEOs say, “Employees want us to speak on their behalf and we are using our power to be their voice.”

However, did anyone ever check what their voice was? That assumes that all employees have the same political views across the board. Employees can feel trapped working for companies who have taken a very public political stance that they don’t agree with. They are afraid to speak up because they don’t want to get fired.  They are working for someone in a political environment where if they express dissident they will be on the outskirts.

CEO Activism and workforce politics

Everyone has a right to free speech, even CEOs.

If a company takes a stand and it ends up driving away customers, the company makes less money and the company stock price goes down.  If shareholders don’t agree with a CEO, they can decide to sell the stock or hold onto it and collect their returns if the stock performs well.

Employees are in a similar situation — if they disagree strongly with a company’s opinion, they can leave. We have historically low levels of unemployment, so it’s easier for a worker to find a new job than ever before. However, just because it is easier, doesn’t mean that most employees will automatically jump ship. Instead, they can stay in the position and it can feel like a slow arduous death.

Taking a side, whether it’s principled or a gimmick, endears you to millions of people on that side.

But what happens to the other side?

For starters, companies with a strong opinion about social or political issues on the far right may not have as much access to talent.  For example, if your company publicly supports Trump, about half the country might not want to come work for you. Similarly, if your company publicly denounces Trump, what about the other half?

When speaking about CEO activism, Richard Edelman stated, “…But we’re also using the power of our employees, who are going to be our motive force.  Employees want us to speak on their behalf. And it’s an urgent time for CEOs to mobilize, in the sense, their entire supply chain of those who contribute to their businesses and get them to write letters as well.” 

“CEOs feel that they are empowered to step forward into the void left by government, that three-quarters of people, according to the Edelman Trust Barometer, now want CEOs to stand up and speak up on behalf of issues of the day.  And that’s a new kind of moment in corporate world. So CEOs are doing so, with the backing of their employees and the backing of their customers.”- Richard Edelman

Let’s dissect this for a minute.

This statement is inherently flawed for a number of reasons.

  • It assumes that all customers have the same political view, and that all employees have the same political view.
  • This is a utopian view of society that does not take into consideration that there are two political parties in this country.
  • One cannot assume that all of their employees and customers agree with them unless they know without a doubt that 100 % of their base only has one political point of view.

Should brands take a political stand?

Business leaders are drawn into the political process at rapid speed. But does partisanship really have a role in Corporate America, and what impact can it have on the economy? Business leaders are already entrenched with daily corporate negotiations.  Do we really need to add a halo of polarized politics on top of all of it?

Some believe that if corporate executives do not take a political stand, it is a complete abdication of their responsibility as business leaders. Does Congress want to answer to business leaders? And do consumers really want to be entangled in their favorite brands political preferences? Will this help or hurt business?

It is also important to note that brand activism as a PR stunt is always pretty obvious, and consumers can tell when a brand is not coming from an authentic place.

Similarly, if your short term goals are financially motivated, consumers can sense that as well.

So, where does this leave CEOs and public relations managers who find themselves smack in the middle of this burgeoning era of corporate political activism?

Should consumers rely on brands and corporations for political activism?

Yes, but only if your target audience is partisan, and you have data to back that up. If your target audience includes consumers from both parties, you should strongly consider if inserting your brand into controversial political policies makes sense. Just because it is the hot PR strategy of the moment doesn’t mean it is a profitable one for your business.

If you want to alienate half of your employees and consumers, go for it. But traditionally, companies prided themselves in caring about all of their customers.  That should include customers from all political backgrounds. As a brand, you cannot preach inclusivity, when in reality, you are actually executing corporate exclusivity, while ignoring any differing opinions.

BONUS:

Listen to the 1 hour podcast interview with Kris Ruby on CEO Activism on The Kinglsey Grant Show

CEO Activism podcast kris ruby

Brand Activism Resources

Most consumers want CEOs to take a political stance

What CEOs Should Know About Speaking Up on Political Issues

The right and wrong way to do CEO activism

Should CEOs be activists?

When should CEOs take a political stand?

The cost of CEO activism

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

This article was written by Kris Ruby, CEO of Ruby Media Group. Kris Ruby has over a decade of experience in public relations and CEO personal brand management. In addition to consulting CEO’s on crisis communications, Ruby is also a political commentator. She has appeared on Fox News over 100 times and on countless other networks discussing the politics of social media and corporate branding.  Most recently, Kris Ruby discussed the issue of Nike’s political marketing strategy with Kaepernick on Fox News and Fox Business. Ruby also provided commentary on Gillette’s political marketing strategy with the “The Best Men Can Be” campaign on Cheddar TV. 

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This article was last updated on January 15 2020.