Tagged: entrepreneur branding

Thought Leadership Marketing: How to Raise Your Media Profile as a CEO

CEO Branding thought leadership marketing kris ruby

 

Why is your personal brand important and how can a thought leadership marketing strategy help you create new business development opportunities? Every CEO must create a personal brand strategy today. I was recently a guest on Power Lunch Live Show with Rhett Powers. During this hour-long discussion with Forbes writer Rhett Powers, we cover a CEO’s PR digital transformation and share branding secrets of how to build your personal brand on social media marketing platforms. Listen to this episode to learn what every CEO needs to know about branding.  What is personal branding in business and why do you need to learn how to master it?

During the podcast, we discussed:

  • Business press releases: Still necessary? Or a waste of time?
  • How to develop an executive visibility plan
  • CEO thought leadership marketing 101
  • How to increase thought leadership marketing as a CEO
  • How to build your brand through digital PR
  • How to create a thought leadership program
  • Social media thought leadership best practices

Listen to the full C-Suite Thought Leadership episode here:

What is Thought Leadership Marketing?

Thought leadership marketing is a way to build subject matter expertise as a leading expert and authority in your industry through content marketing, public relations and social media marketing tactics.

Business thought leaders:

  • Frequently display industry advice or strong opinions
  • Post the latest thinking on emerging trends within their industry
  • Are known as trusted advisors
  • Have a strong online presence

Why are founders and executives investing in thought leadership marketing services?

Why is thought leadership important? For starters, if you want to be positioned as a subject matter expert as a business leader, you need to develop your brand story and key messaging points. Developing your online presence and personal brand as an entrepreneur will pay dividends in the long run, from helping you close more deals to securing new business opportunities and even increasing inbound requests for public speaking. Thought leadership content marketing impacts buying decisions. It isn’t a fluff line item on your marketing budget: it is a requirement.

How do some companies establish themselves at a dominant position in their industry? 

Some brands establish themselves as a dominant player in their industry in the media, on search engine results, and at offline conferences, while others don’t. So, what is the difference? Is it strategic marketing?

The difference between a household brand and a brand that gets little to no visibility is that the content is coming directly from the leader. Brands that try to outsource their thought leadership content marketing strategies ultimately fail. There is a difference between writing your own content and having someone else edit it versus asking someone else to come up with those ideas for you.

After working with hundreds of brands for thirteen years, the key difference between brands with dominant search engine result placement is: are they writing their own thought leadership content or are they trying to outsource it to someone else?

If you try to outsource thought leadership content marketing, you are not a true thought leader. You can outsource editing, PR, SEO or anything around the content that you are writing, but subject matter expertise cannot be outsourced.

That is the difference between a winning brand and a losing one.

Results-Driven Thought Leadership Marketing

The truth is, while some components of a thought leadership marketing strategy are tangible, other parts are intangible. Thought leadership content marketing builds trust. As a business leader or consultant, you want to be positioned as a leading expert. Customers, patients or prospects need to trust you in order to buy from you or choose you as a provider.

If you ask someone why they chose you, they may not say:

  • Because I have followed all of your posts on LinkedIn for the past year and it built trust
  • Because I read that article you were quoted in
  • Because I saw your TV segment

But intuitively and instinctively, they chose you because you became a trusted advisor through your content marketing, PR and social media.

Have you ever asked your partner, why did you choose me over the other people you could have been with? And they said because I trusted you.

Trust is built. It is not one action. It is not a single blog post. A Facebook post. Or a podcast episode. It is not a singular KPI or metric that can be quantified in that way. And yet, it is the most important metric of all, because all of those actions together build trust in the most important decision: choosing you over every other option.

Is self-promotion a necessity to rank on search engines in today’s digital economy? Keep reading to find out.

Corporate Brand Building In The Digital Era 

Transcript of Power Lunch Live Show: Podcast Interview with Kris Ruby and Rhett Power

Rhett Power: Welcome to the Power Lunch Live show on LinkedIn. I’m Rhett Power your host. We do this program every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 12 noon, Eastern Standard Time.  The point of the program is to talk to today’s thought leaders, best-selling authors, CEOs, people who are doing amazing work in the world that we can learn from. Today, I have Kristen Ruby on the show. She’s the CEO of the Ruby Media Group. She runs a full-service PR and social media agency based in New York City. Now, I consider Kris a social media guru, someone we should all listen to and watch out for. She’s on Fox, CNBC. She’s been on Good Morning America, The Today Show, she is actually everywhere these days.  Kristen Ruby, welcome to the show.

Kris Ruby: Thank you so much for having me. I’m excited to be here.

Rhett Power: You’re welcome. You’ve been someone I wanted to talk to for a while.  I want to talk about the importance of CEOs and founders having a PR strategy to promote themselves.  I know some people consider that sort of a dirty word: self-promotion. But I think it’s essential today to do it right. You have to have a public relations and personal branding strategy. Can you talk about that?

Personal Branding Vs. Company Branding 

Kris Ruby: People want to know who they’re doing business with today. The old days are behind us of a stodgy corporate branding strategy where you have a bunch of marketers and publicists in a room who are creating a strategy for an executive.   Because of the rise of social media marketing platforms, the CEO now has a microphone to be able to put out messages directly to the media. That’s a blessing and also a curse because if you don’t have a PR strategy, you can shoot yourself in the foot with the content you put out.

People want to hear from people instead of brands. They want to know, who is the person behind the brand?

Why Your CEO Is Critical For Your Thought Leadership Public Relations Strategy

We develop brand positioning strategies around leveraging the CEO’s thought leadership to secure press coverage as opposed to making the story about the company. I think that shift of corporate branding to thought leadership marketing has fundamentally changed a lot and so to your point, I agree that you need a CEO who is going to be the face of the brand and that will, in turn, help the CEO to generate more press coverage for their company.

For example, “said so and so of x company,” and in a nutshell, that’s what we specialize in doing as a NY PR firm. Plugging in experts and corporate executives to be that spokesperson for their business and offering those experts as sources to the media.

Rhett Power: To me, it seems like if I’m the CEO or the co-founder or one of the leaders, building my personal brand can actually help the company too.

personal branding quotes kris ruby

 

How to Develop Your Thought Leadership Marketing Strategy

Kris Ruby: I work with a lot of experts and entrepreneurs.  There’s an old way of doing PR where a company would say, “We want PR for our business,” and then you would build a traditional PR strategy around their business.

Today, if someone comes to my PR firm and says, “We want PR for our company,” I ask:

  • Who is the CEO and how available are they for media opportunities?
  • Are they media trained?
  • Who is going to be the face of the brand?

Give me a senior executive to work with that I can put out on behalf of the company to get quoted in different media outlets.

Mistakes CEOs Make with Personal Branding

Are you self-promoting or aggressively posting ten times a day?  That can hurt you in the long run if there is no thought-leadership marketing strategy behind the content you put out. I’d rather see a CEO put out three great pieces of content per month as opposed to something every single day and kill their engagement with low-quality content. You need to create a social media marketing strategy that ties into a holistic inbound content marketing strategy.

Before you click post, you must be able to answer:

  • Why are you putting this message out?

You also need to understand who you’re talking to when you’re posting on social media.

THOUGHT LEADERSHIP MARKETING: HOW TO BUILD A PERSONAL BRAND AS A CEO

Rhett Power: You talked about how you’d rather see somebody put out really good content two times a month as opposed to every day.  What does that mean? And if I’m the CEO or the person that hired you to come in and help me build my brand and my thought leadership marketing strategy, what does that look like? Is it video?

Kris Ruby: It depends on how that CEO shines.  If they are great on video, then they should be doing video marketing as part of their thought leadership public relations strategy. But if they are not good on camera in live media interviews, then long-form content makes more sense as part of a B2B content marketing strategy. So, you should do whatever medium is best for you and what you’re most comfortable with.

My PR secret is that it’s not just about checking off a box every day and saying, “I clicked post today and did social media for the day,” because some social media expert told me I have to do this every day. That doesn’t achieve your high-level strategic marketing and PR goals as a business thought leader.

Checking off a box is not the same as doing something with strategic intent.

What I want senior executives to think about before they post on social media is:

If I could write a message right now to the five prospects I’m going after, what would that message say? What do I want them to know? If prospects are ignoring my emails, what do I want them to see?

And that’s the part that I think 90% of people just skip out on; they skip past it completely.

If executives just spent a few more minutes thinking about that, they could be writing content that is actually helpful and educates their end-user and reaches the people they are trying to reach.  I think that is a critical part of figuring out your personal branding and digital PR strategy is. It’s not just saying I did social media to do it.

HOW DO YOU RAISE YOUR MEDIA PROFILE AS A CEO?

Take the time to figure out:

  • Who am I trying to talk to?
  • What am I trying to say?
  • Where can I find those people in digital platforms?

LINKEDIN THOUGHT LEADERSHIP

Rhett Power: You hear a lot about authenticity or being authentic. What does that mean? I mean, because I see a lot of people who talk about being authentic, but it always seemed very contrived to me.

Kris Ruby: There is a funny Twitter account that is a spoof on LinkedIn authenticity called “The State of LinkedIn.” They take these long drawn out narratives and monologues that people write on LinkedIn where they’re supposedly being authentic and call them out because it’s literally saying this is not authentic.  So, what happens is, it’s the opposite of authenticity, and people can tell, and then they call them out on Twitter.

If you’re trying really hard to be authentic, you’re not being authentic.

PERSONAL BRANDING AND CONTRIVED THOUGHT LEADERSHIP: FAKE AUTHENTICITY

The real sign of vulnerability or authenticity is when you write something and you think, oh, maybe I should delete that because I feel raw and maybe that was too personal.

That’s when you know you are truly being authentic and people can tell the difference.

Rhett Power: I was thinking about this the other day and I was trying to write an article about it and I got kind of stuck on it. But to me, it seems like if you’re genuinely trying to help solve a problem, then that, to me, is authentic. I don’t think it has to be that you have to tell your life story and all your trials and troubles to be authentic. I think it’s when you’re trying to use your experience and your knowledge to help someone.  When you talked about writing your content to those five customers, or their six customers or ten customers that you really want to reach? That to me is the answer.

WATCH THE FULL INTERVIEW HERE

CREATING A THOUGHT LEADERSHIP MARKETING STRATEGY

Kris Ruby: Most people forget the problem they’re trying to solve when they hire a public relations agency. When you’ve been doing something for it a long time and you ask someone, what problem are you trying to solve? They just give you a blank stare, because they actually may not know anymore because when they started their company, the business problem they tried to solve then may not be the problem they’re trying to solve now.  You need to take a step back and look at core business challenges before starting a PR engagement or creating a thought leadership marketing strategy.

When a prospect says, “I’m interested in PR services,” and I go, what problem are you trying to solve? A lot of times, they don’t have an answer.  I say, well, you called me, you must have an underlying business problem to solve using PR as a tactic.

If there’s not a specific problem, no one from the client-side is going to be motivated to follow through on any of the work they are hiring you to do as a PR firm.

PR takes a lot of work. It is not just an investment of resources: it is also an investment of your time.

There must be buy-in from both the client and agency to make it work.

That means: collaboration, co-motivation and shared responsibilities on writing content that is being pitched to the media. If the client doesn’t have a real business problem when they hire you, the excitement will quickly fizzle and they will not be motivated to contribute the required time that is necessary to generate organic media exposure.

This is the problem when business owners view PR as a luxury instead of a necessity.

To compete in a Google-driven digital economy, PR is a necessity for building E-A-T: Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness.

Rhett Power: You can’t do anything if there’s not a problem, right? You can’t.  You don’t have a job if there’s not a problem.

Kris Ruby: Correct. I always say ego-driven PR is not a sustainable thought leadership PR strategy. Because sometimes people say, I saw so and so on TV. So, I want to be on TV, or this other person or my competitor is doing this. So, therefore, I want to do it too. But what is the problem? I mean, let’s dissect the problem there. I’m not sure that there is a problem.

Rhett Power: But they’re not on TV. That’s the problem.

Kris Ruby: Yeah, but it’s not a real problem with a deep enough business challenge that can be solved through PR. Let’s turn it around from your perspective here which I find fascinating. So, let’s talk about good PR pitches versus bad PR pitches and tell me what you think.  You deal with a lot of PR companies all the time and you’re always getting pitched by PR consultants.

PITCHING MISTAKES PR FIRMS MAKE

What do writers really want from PR pitches?

Rhett Power: I’ll say this, I think I probably get ten PR pitches a day and I get them in two different ways. I get them for the show or I get them for Forbes or INC or one of the other publications I write for. Or I get pitches because I have influence, “Will you buy this or will you test this or will you write about that?” I get a lot of people that want to be on those platforms and they want me to write about them on those platforms. And it’s often a cold outreach.  There’s been no effort to build a relationship with me.  And often I can tell it’s an email they sent to fifty other people probably. And so, with no idea- is this content that I write about? So, 90% of them go out the window, because it’s not something I write about.  I don’t write about cars. I don’t write about food products. There are a lot of things that don’t interest me, so I don’t write about them.

Kris Ruby: And these are emails from PR firms?

Rhett Power: From PR firms or from individuals.

Kris Ruby: That’s cringe-worthy by the way that a PR firm would be sending you that because it’s their job to research what you write about.

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GOOD AND BAD MEDIA PITCHES

Rhett Power: Yeah.  But you know, somebody said to some junior associate, get the client placed in Forbes, right? Yeah. And so, they’re going to every Forbes contributor and sending an email because they have to do it yesterday hoping somebody is going to bite on this pitch.

So that’s that but then the other thing is then you’ll get somebody who might catch my attention and the story is interesting, but again, why would I do somebody a favor?

Why would I work with somebody when even if their story is compelling, they haven’t done anything to help facilitate a relationship?

That’s the other thing. You and I have been working together on some other clients for a while. And you clearly knew who I was targeting and who my audience was and so your pitches were compelling and interesting and your guests were good. So, anytime I got a pitch from you now, I would certainly look at it because you’ve done it. You did your homework and you did really well putting guests in front of me that were appropriate for the audience.

And so, to me, I’d rather work with somebody that’s focused on the relationship and build a relationship.

I had somebody that was a really good pitch that reached out in December. I finally talked to her yesterday because of the holidays, I was gone. And we talked and just like you, they provided a couple of guests that were spot on. So, I am happy to listen to those kinds of PR pitches. The other thing I think is important is understanding, Rhett does a show, he also writes for these publications, maybe if, because we know that those shows need guests. Maybe if I ask if you’ll take this person on as a guest, then maybe he’ll write an article about them if that’s our angle, right? We want an INC. placement or we want a Forbes placement. But let me get him on the show because that’s probably an easier pitch to Rhett because he needs guests on that daily show.

So just kind of understanding how all this works is really key to at least getting through to me and I know other contributors I talked to say the same thing.

Very, very few people get it right.

Kris Ruby: Really. That’s a powerful statement.

Rhett Power: Yeah, I think very few people pitch me the right way that have ever gotten through.

Kris Ruby: What does that say about the PR industry?

Rhett Power: Well, I’ll tell you what it says from my experience on the other side of it, which is hiring someone to do it. When I was running my toy company and the gift company we paid for a lot of PR that if I had known what I know now, I wouldn’t have bothered because I could have hired somebody, taught them how to do this and gotten the same story placements in the same ad placements and the same stuff that I got by hiring an expensive PR firm. I know that now, but we wasted a lot of money on stuff that I think we shouldn’t have wasted money on.

Kris Ruby: So, then what’s the difference of what is good when you are spending money on PR.  What would you say is a good use of resources versus a waste?

Rhett Power: I’m all for it because I think that there is a lot of value in having somebody like yourself or an industry-specific PR firm help you and guide you and help you create the strategy and understand the market and get better placement. There is a value in that.

But if you don’t know that and if you don’t understand what you need, and I think a lot of times entrepreneurs, at least the ones I work with and coach are like what you said, they don’t understand the problem. They don’t understand what they need. And they’re relying on a firm that maybe they didn’t ask all the right questions.  I think that happens a lot.

“You hire somebody and you just sort of check out, right? Oh, they’re going to handle the PR, they’re going to handle the strategy. And I think that’s what happens, right? Or they’re in charge of the PR. Yeah, they’re going to get any social media, they’re going to help me become an influencer. And that’s just not how it happens.” -Rhett Powers 

Kris Ruby: I think that’s one of the biggest mistakes I see people make.  They say, “I didn’t know how much time this is going to be. This is so time-intensive. You didn’t tell me.” There are many misconceptions about public relations.  Who did you think was going to write the content? You’re the expert. That expertise is not transferable.  A lot of people say, what obligations are going to be placed on me and how much time is required?

To get the most out of your public relations campaign, at least an hour of your time a day is required. I always say we can’t make you famous either.  You have that subject matter expertise. As public relations practitioners, it is our job to help shine a light on you and put that expertise in the right places online. But we can’t create that for you, you have to have already have created that on your own. I think that’s an essential piece of this for entrepreneurs to understand.

PR GENERALISTS VS. INDUSTRY SPECIALISTS

What is a PR specialist?

Having expertise within a niche in PR is very important.  And yes, there’s a difference between a PR consultant who is a generalist versus a specialist. And if you’re in the tech space, you probably want someone who specializes in tech PR and the same thing with entrepreneurship.

Is it better to be a PR specialist or a PR generalist?

I specialize in PR for entrepreneurs and PR for doctors. I have 12 plus years’ experience in each of those areas. So, if someone comes to me and says, I want you to do PR for my insurance company, I am not an expert in that area and I may not be the best fit because I don’t have those trade publication media relationships. And I think the onus is on public relations professionals to say that and not just take on any new business opportunity because someone approaches them, but instead to take on the things that they know they can do well and get great media results in.

As far as the story of our pitches or working with you, it’s funny because it’s really just organic. I didn’t set out to do anything. I like to connect the experts I have with reporters or producers who are working on a story and have a current need with a story or segment they are already doing.  It’s the difference between proactive versus reactive PR.  At the time, you were working on something, and I thought, I have an expert that I can plug into this where they would be a good person for that story. And then after I said that, I thought, wait a second, this is an interesting angle and he could make for a good guest on his show. Literally that’s how that happened. It wasn’t that I set out to write a pitch and figure out how I could maneuver my way in to get someone on your show or in your story. There is a difference. One is a contrived PR strategy to meet a quota every month, the other is adding value to a reporter’s story.

When you’re focused on how can I help this person that is critical for PR success. Give the media the expert they need or the source they need or the quote that they want versus thinking about: how can I achieve my client’s agenda, regardless of the agenda of that reporter? And I think people can tell the difference.

Rhett Power: Absolutely. You nailed it. Because yours was a totally different approach. Instead of, “Hey, I want,” I mean, it drives me crazy. The opening line is, “Hey, we want our guy in Forbes. Will you do it?”

Kris Ruby: I mean, why would you do it? Why would you care what they want, right? It doesn’t make any sense.  I was a columnist for a digital publication for almost two years. I’ve been on both sides of this and I received so many bad PR pitches. I would think to myself, these people are paying PR companies and this is the quality of what they’re sending me? I was mortified. As a PR consultant on the other side, I couldn’t believe it and I’d respond, and then they would ghost me. And I would think, I’m actually going to include you in the story. Have you ever had that happen when you actually get back to a source and you’re going to include them? And then they’re gone.  Has that ever happened to you?

Rhett Power: Yeah. Oh, yeah.

Kris Ruby: And you’re like, what? You don’t know if it’s the PR firms’ fault or if it’s their client’s fault, but then you’re like, what?

PROFESSIONAL AND CORPORATE PR GHOSTING

Rhett Power: I had a guest booked last week. We booked it two months ago, a month a half ago. I reached out a week before nothing. A couple of days before nothing. It’s like you spent all that time getting me to book your guy. And… nothing.

Kris Ruby: Wait, they ghosted you?

Rhett Power: They ghosted me.

Kris Ruby: The PR firm ghosted you?

Rhett Power: Oh, yeah.

Kris Ruby: And then nothing and you just never heard from them again? But you booked the person and they were just gone?

Rhett Power: Yeah. Gone.

Kris Ruby: I think you’re going to hear from them six months from now when they have another client and they will have a burning desire to get that story placed. And this is why PR gets a bad reputation because of things like this.

Rhett Power: I want to go back to something you said; I did appreciate it. I had a great experience after the first couple of people that we hired, we did finally figure out our thick heads that going with somebody industry-specific was the best way. And that did change and the results out of that were just spectacular and gave us a much better understanding of where we needed to advertise and where we need to place our money. And I mean, it was before social media blew up like it is now and I think that would have complicated it a little bit more. But you know, I think industry-specific is smart.

Kris Ruby: I want to talk about your audience and PR strategies. We had a guest and there was a topic and so one of the things I did was a lot of background research on that topic and shared with you what I found.  Did you find that helpful? Is that something that you would want other PR consultants to do? Do you like that approach?

Rhett Power: Those were useful.  I tend to on this program, because we end up having 45-minute conversations and it’s not a one or two question and be done. And we have a chance to go really pretty deep into things. I tend to do a fairly deep dive into that person and I always discover something else I want to ask.  There are always some surprises that come out of that research, but I think it’s a starting point and particularly if they have a book or they have something going on that’s new and has to be talked about that’s very helpful. I’ve had some guests that even had questions that they wanted to send me and that’s fine. But any of that kind of stuff is helpful, particularly if there’s something that they want to say if they have a really specific message. That’s always a good guide.

HOW TO PROMOTE YOUR CEO ON SOCIAL MEDIA 

Rhett Power: What platforms do you think are working today social media-wise?

Kris Ruby: You mean for public relations?

Rhett Power: Yeah, for professionals like a corporate leader or co-founder.

Kris Ruby: I think all CEOs need to be on Twitter if you’re doing a public relations campaign. And that’s the number one social media platform that no one ever thinks about 100%. Because, for example, if a CEO is doing a media interview, I need to make sure that they’re sharing that interview on all of the other major social media platforms. And most journalists are active on Twitter, first and foremost, and so I want to make sure that the journalist is getting visibility for their writing if they are interviewing my client. It’s important that clients create a presence on each of the main social media channels so they can leverage them if they hire a public relations firm as part of a larger thought leadership marketing strategy.

SOCAL MEDIA THOUGHT LEADERSHIP: HOW TO BUILD YOUR CEO BRAND ON FACEBOOK, LINKEDIN AND TWITTER 

Having a presence on LinkedIn, Twitter and a Facebook fan page for your executive brand is critical for branding. Long-form content on your personal branding website under the “owned” media umbrella is important for you to have from an SEO perspective and also from a thought leadership perspective.

If you work with a PR firm and as you just look at it sort of like going up like that of all the press coverage you get, but the content that you’re putting out doesn’t match the amount of press that you’re getting. That’s a storm ready to brew and a major problem. Because what that looks like is that you’re just getting a lot of press, but you don’t actually have the expertise and the thought leadership behind that press coverage to sustain it.

Earned media must be in direct correlation with owned media.

What I want people to understand is press coverage is great, but you need to be doing your part to put out thought leadership content that supports the amount of press coverage that you’re getting, or else it just looks like you have a PR firm that did a great job of getting you press mentions. But are you an actual thought leader in this space? You want to see both things going up together, rather than just a lot of press but your thought leadership is nowhere.

The best way you can do that is through podcasting or putting out your own long-form content through.  I think most people don’t do that and it’s this area they skip. And it’s very obvious because if you look at their web site, you’ll see that they do media interviews, but they’re not putting as much time into their own thought leadership content in the owned media bucket. Reporters or journalists or producers want to see that versus looking at other interviews that they’ve done. Ideally, they want to see a mixture of both.  This helps confirm your credibility as an expert source. Other media doesn’t back that up; thought leadership content that you are the author of does.

People forget that thought leadership starts with actual leadership in a field before the media is involved. It doesn’t work the other way. Thought leadership and industry expertise first. Media coverage second.

Rhett Power: Really, because I am looking at my own stuff and that makes me think, okay, I’ve been writing for INC and Forbes for five or six, seven years, I’ve probably got 600 or 700 articles on INC alone.  That doesn’t translate though into bookings for TV.  Why is that?

Kris Ruby: So you’re asking how come your content isn’t translating to bookings for TV? Well, probably because no one’s pitching you for TV.  In order for your writing to translate to bookings for TV, you need a publicist who is pitching you all the time to producers. And you have to be writing about things are topical news stories like Iran. Are you writing about Trump? I don’t think you are. Are you writing about Meghan Markel?

Rhett Power: No, but I write about leadership and I write about all those things.  I’m not writing about pop news or news like that I write about leadership and yesterday, for example, I wrote a story on Patagonia and Coca Cola and a couple of other companies that are doing really well.  You know, they just opened that new store in Denver for all of their second-hand clothes.  People turn in their old Patagonia pullover and they get credit for a new one.  Business is what I write about.

Kris Ruby: If you were looking to get on TV, we’d take that and translate it to what’s happening in the news right now and position you as an expert who’s available for commentary and then I’d include relevant links, but we’d have to tweak some of what you’ve written to work with the angles or the narrative that is in the news.

Rhett Power: Because I do tweet when I post something on LinkedIn or INC or Forbes, that all gets tweeted. But I get more play out of that on LinkedIn when I retweet or when I post those on LinkedIn versus any mileage I get out of it on Twitter. You know, when INC retweets it or Forbes tweets it, then they get, you know, they’ve got a million followers or so, so they get some mileage. I haven’t seen as much benefit out of Twitter for me but I understand what you’re saying. You’re saying it’s a different audience, right? I should be focusing on LinkedIn with the business audience, Twitter go after the media with that content.

Kris Ruby: If you are writing about Prince Harry’s leadership right now or something like that, and I was doing PR, I would say, okay, give me this link. And then not only would you tweet it, but I’d also be sending that link to producers.  I wouldn’t just rely on Twitter. That’s just one portal, but I’d also make sure producers are getting it directly. So, I would do both. You know, it’s all of these things working together holistically. That’s where the PR strategy component comes in.

Rhett Power: One of the things I think in working with my clients in coaching and consulting is to make people understand that this is sort of a long game too, isn’t it? You’re not going to build thought leadership. You’re not going to build that kind of credibility. You know, you’re not going to just go on Fox and Friends or Fox Business or CNN.

“You’re not going to go on one time, and all of a sudden, you know, life’s gonna change.”- Rhett Powers

Kris Ruby: Exactly. I’ve been on national news shows over 100 times and I keep showing up. If they ask me to come on, I always say yes. I love it. That’s what I try and explain to people you have to say yes and be willing to make yourself available. I started out doing local TV on Sunday mornings upstate I’d wake up at 3 am and do that for five years before I ever appeared on a national show. I think people need to understand that.

You don’t just show up to a national TV station and say, I’ve arrived, book me. It doesn’t work that way.

Unless you have the most amazing publicist, but even then, I just think that’s not the world that we’re in.  You have to cut your teeth in these local markets and/or produce your own content online. And I think the world has really changed even from when I started 10 or 12 years ago. There’s a lot of opportunities right now with podcasts and digital streaming channels.  So, for example, let’s say you could do a TV segment or you could do a radio segment, you may not get links from either that so you’re going to have to hire a company to get you copies of what you’re doing versus something like this what you and I are doing right now which will live forever online. So, if that’s what you’re looking for, podcasting is a great portal to do that.

That’s where I think new media has a real advantage today over traditional forms of media.

Rhett Power: Well, I think it also gives people practice, right? It gives you practice for the big stage. As you said, you did local, local, local.  I don’t know how many podcasts I’ve done. I don’t know how many radio shows I’ve done, gazillions. It gets you comfortable doing it.

Kris Ruby: It does. I would also say it’s very different. There are some people that love doing TV interviews because they are two to three minutes. But doing a podcast is not like that when you are speaking for an hour. You have to really stay focused. It’s a very different type of interview, and some people love podcasts but wouldn’t want to do TV and vice versa.

Rhett Power: Fair enough. I think both are helpful. Is TV the way to really catapult your brand still? Or is it new media or is TV really still really where you can catapult your visibility?

THOUGHT LEADERSHIP MARKETING TIPS & TACTICS

Kris Ruby: TV is a great way to catapult your visibility.  I write about this as well about this notion of CEO activism. And should CEOs get involved in politics right now is that the right move for their company and if you want to be on TV, politics is going to be a part of that conversation. Nine out of 10 times, so you need to make that corporate PR strategy internally before you decide if you want to do TV.  Ten years ago, I was on the couch of a national TV show talking about optical illusions on a Saturday morning on national TV and that’s not going to happen now. It’s just not the world that we live in anymore. Everything is hard news and it’s politically driven all the time. So, if you’re okay with politics as part of your thought leadership marketing strategy, then sure, do it and it will catapult your brand if you’re open to it.

Rhett Powers: Is it smart to take a political bet on a business today?

Kris Ruby: Is it smart? It really depends. CEO Activism is a very hot topic today and it is one that is widely debated between PR pros, brand marketers and CMO’s. If you run a company where everyone is behind you in that political point of view, and when you say that you are speaking on behalf of your employees it’s a unified point of view, then sure, that’s an accurate statement. But if you are saying we all are in alignment when you’re employees are not in alignment with your corporate social responsibility stance, and then your employees feel uncomfortable working for you because you’ve just said something they don’t agree with, then no, that’s not smart. I think it’s a divided world out there.

Rhett Power: Well, I just wonder if the reason I asked you that is I wonder if the politics of today.  When I first started a company, my mother in law, a long-time small business person said never, in a small town, I will never ever put a political yard sign in my yard.  I’ll never ever put a sign in my shop window one way or the other.  I think everybody in town knew where she stood. But she never broadcast it for her business. And I wonder if today the political climate hasn’t shifted in such a way that it almost forces people to take a side. What do you think?

Kris Ruby: It does force people to take a side and I think the other thing that’s problematic when we’re working with a CEO or trying to build their personal brand is that a lot of times they think, I’m putting this content on a private Facebook or personal Facebook, and no one can see it. Well, that’s just simply not true.  There’s ways to see it. Because if you have 800 friends,  one friend could always screenshot it or share it. So, nothing is truly private anymore. But I also think that whether you agree with this or not, unfortunately, we live in a world where journalists or reporters have their own political preferences and a political bias. So, if I’m pitching a reporter, or if I’m working on trying to pitch an expert, and then a reporter looks at that person’s Twitter and sees that maybe they have political beliefs that are the opposite of what theirs are, that’s going to impact their opinion on if they want to write back to me.

Rhett Power: Sure.

Kris Ruby: And I don’t think people really think about that. If you hire a PR firm, and you’re working hard and spending money to try and get out there, and then you’re also putting out these strongly worded political statements. I think it can hurt what you’re trying to do unless you just want to be super polarizing, one way or the other. And if you are okay with that and that is the type of media coverage you want, then that makes sense.

HIRING A PR FIRM: THE PROCESS

Rhett Power: Fair enough. I don’t disagree. What is the process you would go through to hire a publicist?  What questions would you ask? What would be looking for? I mean, is it connection? Is it somebody that gets what you’re trying to do?  What do you think your clients, why did they hire you?

Kris Ruby: I think the old way is about connections. Today, it is about: do you have the ability to make new connections that makes sense in that client’s vertical. The old way is a publicist sitting there with some magic Rolodex and going through it and calling reporters- that doesn’t exist anymore.  Similarly, I didn’t have a connection with you and we built that connection over time organically and then it just happened to work out that I had experts that worked with what you working on.  Can that person ebb and flow and can they move in where you need them to move to where it makes sense? Having that skill set is probably the most important skillset in digital PR. Can they plug in a CEO’s thought leadership expertise into the media conversation?  If you have that ability, then that trumps all.

If I was looking to hire a NY PR firm,  the first question I would ask is, are you a generalist or are you a specialist? If you’re a PR specialist, what do you specialize in? And then, is there a sub-specialty within that? And next, I would say, can I see examples of other press placements you have secured for your other clients?  I wouldn’t necessarily ask to see references because I think the best reference is all over the press you have secured. They don’t need to call other people that you’ve worked with. That to me is more opinion based than factually driven. Did I drive results for this person and what does my portfolio and body of work look like that you can find online or that I can put together for you where you can see all of the press coverage I secured? I’m a firm believer that it’s not my client’s job to sell for me, they’re busy, and I don’t want to give out their personal information. I feel like there are privacy issues around that too. Maybe some other people are okay giving out their client’s information all day long. I personally don’t want to do that.

I would want to see an example of the writing.  How does this person write? You, have to be a good writer.  You have to be able to clearly communicate new ideas and boil it down in a pitch letter.

Speaking English GIF by The Comeback HBO - Find & Share on GIPHY

 

Let me see a pitch.  Most publicists still say, “You can’t see my pitch.  You can’t see anything I write this is proprietary.” And I say, why? I believe that is part of a work for hire if it is stipulated clearly in your contract. If I have a client and they just want to steal my media connections or take my pitches, then what I’m doing isn’t valuable enough. Because I believe PR is so much more than that. If my clients want to try and reach out to you are you going to write back to them? Probably not, right? Because our relationship is stronger than that, like, go ahead, try. If they try, I have a strong enough relationship with the media that they would most likely just forward me that email to me. This business is based on trust. And the truth is what are they going to do pitch themselves?  The whole thing would just be a bad look.

It’s always better to have a PR consultant pitch you to the media than pitch yourself to the media.

Most people don’t know the nuances of how to write pitches for the media or how to boil things down in a way that makes sense and can be helpful or useful for a story or segment. Or they want to send every single idea that comes up or something that’s super trade publication focused. And it’s not necessarily what your audience is going to be interested in. But there’s a skill to understanding the difference in navigating that. This is where a PR consultant or personal branding expert can be extremely valuable.

Rhett Power: Knowing what you know, I mean, you get updates on what people are looking for at a specific moment, right? And that’s how you end up doing a lot of what that producer is looking for and whether you have a fit for it.  I mean you’re not pitching a producer something that you know isn’t going to work. So, you’re not going to waste your capital on that.

Kris Ruby: Correct. I also think that as publicists, we need to push back on ideas that are presented to us.

PRESS RELEASE DISTRIBUTION SERVICES: A GOOD USE OF MONEY FOR A NEW BUSINESS OR A WASTE?

Kris Ruby: Not everything is worthy of a press release. In fact, I think almost nothing is worthy of a press release.

I can’t remember the last time I wrote a press release. I mean, do you do anything with press releases? Nothing, right?

Rhett Power: No.

Kris Ruby: When people ask, “Can we write a press release on this?” I say, why?

The Press Release Is Dead 

Rhett Power: I haven’t done a press release in 15 years.

Kris Ruby: And what do you do with press releases when you receive them? Throw them out?

Rhett Power: I don’t even look at them.

Kris Ruby: You don’t even look at press releases anymore? Exactly. So, this is my point. If you have a client that says I want you to write a press release on this, don’t just say yes, push back and say no, because reporters aren’t even reading them anymore and they are a waste of time. I call it actually malpractice within public relations, where people don’t understand what the field of PR is, and publicists want to keep clients happy. They get these ridiculous requests thrown at them and they say yes because they want to keep the client happy and give good customer service.

My number one priority is keeping the media happy. If I can keep the media happy, I will be able to always keep clients happy because I will always have new media opportunities for them.  Clients come and go, but your media relationships won’t if you burn through them because of client requests like this.  If you start doing ridiculous amateur, rookie things that a client asks of you, which is why it’s very important that you don’t have an entry-level account coordinator or intern pitching the media, because unfortunately, they are green and don’t know the difference. And they’ll do those things because the client asked them to do and then the agencies’ media relationships will deteriorate.

Rhett Power: Right.

Kris Ruby: Which is exactly what I think you were saying before that you get these things because someone asked them to do it and you’re like, why am I receiving this?

#PRFAIL

Rhett Power: Well, because they didn’t want to be bothered to make the pitches themselves and really understand. Instead of sending out five pitches and to really tailor it to the audience you know, let me just broadcast it to my mailing list.

PR PITCHING: IS IT A DIRTY WORD?

Kris Ruby: I’m probably the only person in PR that thinks the word pitch is dirty because I don’t think about it as a pitch.  What I sent you, was that really a pitch? I don’t know, I just an idea for you that I thought would work and I didn’t give it to anyone else.   Is that a pitch? This notion of a pitch is so sales driven. It feels sleazy to me like it’s something that goes to a list and to all these people. I think we should replace the word pitch with a personalized idea that makes sense for someone.

Rhett Power: The way it came across to me, in all of our correspondence was, hey, I’ve got somebody that’s going to be good for you. You guys will connect. Right? And Thomas and I do you know, we hit it off, you know? Great, you know.  It didn’t come across as a pitch. Hey, friend, I’ve got somebody you might want to have on the show.

Kris Ruby: That’s why we need to replace this notion of a traditional PR pitch with what you’re referring to where it actually is better and makes sense because, again, that’s not a “pitch” that goes out to ten other people. It’s an idea that makes sense for you. That’s a relationship and an expert that you can use. And that’s what I think PR needs to evolve to if it’s going to survive.

Rhett Power: How do you set client expectations on what they’re going to get for PR services? Because the way I’ve been pitched before I remember and thinking of it, when I was a CEO, thinking of it this way. I’ve got a hat for the retainer that I’m paying you. I had some arbitrary thing in my mind of how many placements I wanted a month.  I mean, how do you handle that?

HOW DO YOU EVALUATE PR? WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR WHEN HIRING A PR FIRM?

Kris Ruby: It’s a great question. I’m very clear. In my first conversation with a new client I ask:

How are you going to measure the success of the Public Relations campaign?

  • Is it by the number of books sold?
  • Is it the number of press placements?
  • Or is it increasing website traffic?
  • What metrics will you use to evaluate?

PR EXPECTATION SETTING: MEDIA COVERAGE EXPECTATIONS FOR PR RESULTS.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE HIRING A PR AGENCY

If they respond with marketing-driven analytics, then I know what they need is marketing and not PR, but if they want to measure what I’m doing by the number of placements, then sure, that makes sense. An increase in brand awareness? I can deliver on that. I tell them, “I can typically secure around three to four press placements a month, but that’s not guaranteed you could have a month I guess, maybe it was zero. Luckily, I haven’t delivered that. But technically, you could because I can’t promise that a journalist is going to write about you. I can do my best to make it happen. But if something is going on in the world or the news cycle that trumps whatever I’m pitching, that will impact your PR campaign.

HOW DO I GET A FORBES ARTICLE WRITTEN ABOUT ME?

Also, we have a real industry-wide problem right now where people are sending out sales sheets, as you mentioned saying for x thousand dollars, you can get written in XYZ publication. This hurts the perception of PR and expectations around what is and isn’t realistic. Brands are trying to buy their way into media outlets.

Rhett Power: Yes, a lot of that.

Kris Ruby: And I just think this is not journalism, this is not PR. And certainly, if you’re working with me, I’m very clear that you can’t be doing that on the side. Because I don’t believe in it ethically, I think it is not okay.

Rhett Power: I get that stuff all the time. And even firms reaching out saying, “Hey, we’ll pay you to do,” I mean, like, there’s no way.  I’m not a journalist by any means. Technically I’m a columnist, but that’s just awful.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO BE FEATURED IN FORBES?

Zero dollars. You should never pay someone a set price to get you featured in digital publications. Media awareness is earned, not bought! Anyone selling these articles is most likely running a scam!

Kris Ruby: That’s how I feel too. I do PR by the book in an old school way, at least in that regard, where that’s not part of the conversation. And it can’t be that you work with a publicist that practices like I do, but then you want to do that other stuff on the side because your SEO firm told you to. This is the other problem where, at this point, I’m demanding exclusivity with PR and marketing services in this area for precisely this reason. Because what you have now is people hiring multiple firms at a time, or you have people hiring a PR firm, and then a marketing firm, but then the marketing firm or an SEO side is telling him do this and that can hurt what you’re doing from a public relations standpoint. Let’s say they do that. And then someone blasts them. Well, there goes your PR campaign up in flames because you decided that this great advice from another consultant told you to do.   That’s going to be your PR, when you Google your personal brand, that will be the story about you.

So, this is why it’s hard when you have so many cooks in the kitchen from a PR and marketing perspective. And I see that happening more and more now as the agency landscape changes. When I started out in this industry, my PR contract was about two pages. Now I think it’s twelve. And people say, “Why do you need such a long contract? Well, I will tell you why. Because most people don’t understand what services they are getting when hiring a PR firm. I have a new section now that says client responsibilities and lays out what your obligations are. For example, failure of delivery on the client-side, meaning you have to participate in this process.  We’re not held responsible if you choose to hire a firm and then ghost us as a PR firm- that’s on you. It’s not on us. It is very clear and upfront that you have to participate in this process when you engage our agency for PR services. You have to work with us and you have to give us material and requested assets for this to work and be a successful engagement. More PR firms should follow suit in that precedent that I’m trying to set with that. That way people aren’t surprised. Fewer surprises mean happier clients. People don’t like surprises when they hire professional service providers. We have expectations written out and a scope of work attached to it. We have a timeline and deliverables included.  I think more of that should be included so people know what they’re getting.

PR VS. MARKETING: WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE?

Rhett Power: What’s the difference? I think that you brought that up, and I want to be very clear about what that difference is. PR versus the marketing firm. Because I think that term is really confusing sometimes to people. I know it is for clients I work with sometimes.

Kris Ruby: Is it the difference between PR and marketing, is that what you’re asking?

Rhett Power: Well, the terms of like, if I’m hiring, you know, you hear marketing PR lumped together quite often. And, yeah, I mean, and so, for a small business person or a leader here, that’s not a marketing-focused leader. I think sometimes those departments or companies have marketing PR departments. Right? And to me, they’re distinctly different things.

Kris Ruby: They are yes and I think that’s a mistake sometimes when they confuse the two and thing marketing and PR are the same.  Everyone thinks it is all going to be the same thing. Now. We’re all going to come together. Really. It’s not.  I’m so glad you brought this up because I think there’s such a double standard in this area because as public relations professionals, a lot of times, clients will evaluate our work with marketing metrics, but you never hear of a marketing consultant being asked to evaluate their work by PR metrics. When’s the last time you ever heard someone ask a direct marketer how many national TV hits did you get us? Zero? You never have heard that question. Right? But from a PR- How many new clients? Did you bring us? How much new website traffic did this generate? How many books did you sell? Those are marketing metrics.

Rhett Power: Right.

Kris Ruby: And you’re asked that all the time as PR professionals, but marketers are never asked to evaluate their work by PR metrics. To answer your question, PR is about brand visibility and Media Relations. It’s very different than marketing. If you want to hire a marketing firm, they’re going to help you start with more boots on the ground. Maybe Pay-Per-Click, digital marketing, digital advertising, maybe some media buying direct mailers, flyers figuring out who your target audience is.

Rhett Power: How to sell more stuff.

Kris Ruby: Marketing is interested in how to sell more stuff.  As PR, I’m interested in how can we influence more people through third-party recommendations, whereas I think marketing is focused on first-party recommendations and PR is third-party through the media. I think organic media exposure and earned PR is very powerful. But I believe in the PESO model, which is a combination of all of these different media channels including paid media, earned, search, organic and owned media. Owned media is so important. When you think about owned media, what falls under that is content marketing. Content marketing is the one area where I think that is a combination of PR and marketing if it’s done properly.

Rhett Power: And if you’ve got a PR firm and you’ve got a marketing firm or a publicist, what if you’ve got those two entities hired separately? How do you bring them together to be on the same page? Because, you know, you just talked about it is integrated in a lot of ways. How do you integrate it? How do you make sure that those two teams are working hand in hand?

Kris Ruby: You need someone who’s tasked with the responsibility of managing both relationships. If you’re going to hire two respective agencies, and then not be the person that’s managing them or not hire someone, you’re going to have a problem because what you’re going to have is people going in totally opposite directions, and no one is reigning them back in. And to answer your question, it starts with having a creative brief and a strategy and a shared document where people can see, okay, this is what our objectives are, this is the plan. Here’s how PR is going to tackle this and reach these goals. And then here’s how, conversely, marketing is going to tackle these business goals. So, you can all be on the same page and see and you can also learn.  There are key insights that I can see, oh, well, this is what they’re doing from a pay-per-click standpoint, that can give me an idea for PR that oh, well, maybe this is really who they want. So why don’t I try something in a trade publication to reach this person? Conversely, I think marketing can probably learn a little bit from PR too. And so that starts with transparency and having conversations of what both divisions are doing and frequent check-ins around that.

LARGE PR FIRMS VS. BOUTIQUE PR FIRMS:

Rhett Power: Big PR firms versus smaller boutique PR firms like yours. What’s the difference in the value of each?

Kris Ruby: I’m not just saying this because I’m a smaller PR firm.  I think the value of working with a small firm is you’re always going to get more time and greater value because you’re not paying for someone else’s overhead their fancy new office space and coffee machine because they’re scrappy and they don’t have to pay for those things because it’s a smaller PR firm.

Rhett Power: That 5th Ave office costs a lot of money.

Kris Ruby: Yes, exactly. And I also think for the same amount of money, or for less money, you’re going to get someone more experienced. Because what you see with larger PR agencies is this bait and switch sales process, which is, we’re going to take the senior person and work to get your business and take you out and then we will give you a junior account coordinator that will manage the account. I don’t see the bait and switch with smaller PR firms because the person you’re talking to is the person that usually services your account. There’s a massive value add in that for what you’re paying and the experience you’re getting when you hire a thought leadership pr agency.

Rhett Power: I think you’re going to get more technical experience with a smaller PR firm often.

Kris Ruby: Yes, I agree 100%. So, again, I’m not just saying that because I am a smaller firm, I see more entrepreneurs headed in that direction.  More people are hiring virtual agencies and more entrepreneurs are doing business with PR consultants that they’ve never even met and they work with them for years on end.  I don’t think you have to meet someone face to face to do a lot of this work anymore. Larger PR firms think that they have some sales advantage because they can wine and dine a client. My personal belief is I shouldn’t have to wine and dine someone. I think my results should speak for themselves. And maybe you think that’s this sort of millennial approach, and you still need to do all these other things that I don’t think so. I think your work should speak for itself. I mean, this is probably an interesting debate that we can have about this. I don’t know where you land on it.  I personally have hired people that I’ve never met and whether they take me out or not, I don’t really care.  I’m hiring them because of what they can do and their capabilities: not where we have lunch.

Rhett Power: Well, I’ll say this. I grew up working for one of my first jobs out of college.  I was a radio DJ and then figured out that I was never going to get off the midnight shift. And then I started working in the corporate side of the marketing and sales side of Clear Channel and then I did some agency work after that. I will say twenty or thirty years ago, when I was doing that, the wine and dine was still the model and I grew up in that system, I think. But I wouldn’t disagree with you now. I don’t think that as people get busier and busier, and I would rather when I come to New York, spend time working on- I’m not a client, but I’d rather go out to lunch or dinner with you or other influencers and other people who I know virtually, who I may never have met, who we feed off each other and we help each other on LinkedIn and we help each other on these other platforms. I’d rather spend time doing that than taking a client to lunch or dinner. Because I can’t think of the last time I took a client to lunch or dinner and business hasn’t suffered.

Kris Ruby: Exactly. I’m so glad you said that. I don’t think that’s a knock on us or people that aren’t doing it. Also, by the way, I don’t think most clients have enough time or want to do that.  Even if you ask them, would they be like, yes, let’s go? No.

Rhett Power: Yeah.

Kris Ruby: They aren’t dying to go to lunch?

Rhett Power: They are at home.

Kris Ruby: Yes, exactly. They don’t really want to do it. I think this is a move in a positive direction.  It’s not this Madman agency world that you’d see in that show when it aired. I think that’s changed. And the reason I say this on your show is because I think this is a positive thing for entrepreneurs or for anyone who’s graduating who may not have a lot of cash flow in the beginning who is worried about: how can I get business and how can I get new clients if I can’t take them out? There’s hope for you; you don’t have to. Just work on being really good at what you do.

Rhett Power: Yeah, and I think the other side of that is to spend more time.  It doesn’t negate the necessity to work on relationships.  If you’re going to spend your time, I’d rather spend that hour or two hours a night after work working on key relationships with people that I want to facilitate a relationship with on a platform and so on for me, it’s LinkedIn. Then, in any other activity, I think we still have to work on our relationships. And there’s an art to it when you do that online. That’s a whole lot different than face to face. But I do think we still need to do that. I think that’s essential.

Kris Ruby: Completely agree.

Rhett Power: I know you’ve got to get going and so do I. We’ve been on for about an hour and I do appreciate it. This is the Power Lunch Live show on LinkedIn. Thanks for joining us. Thanks for being with us. Thanks for spending your time with us. Kris, thank you.

******

WHAT ARE THE TOP THOUGHT LEADERSHIP AGENCIES?

PERSONAL BRANDING SERVICES

Personal Branding Agency – Westchester, NY

entrepreneur branding agency

 

Are you interested in accelerating the development of your personal brand? Ruby Media Group is a leading full-service thought leadership marketing agency. We help entrepreneurs, doctors, physicians, authors, and experts increase thought leadership through content marketing and public relations. Contact us today for a consultation on how to take your brand to the next level with our thought leadership and personal branding services. We have created award-winning thought leadership programs for best-selling authors, top doctors, and acclaimed experts. We specialize in creating healthcare thought leadership programs and building the brands of the most well-known business thought leaders in Corporate America. As personal branding consultants, we can revamp your brand and inject new life into stale branding tactics that haven’t worked. Our executive branding services include CEO branding, personal brand consulting, public relations, content marketing, social media marketing, CEO reputation management, brand management and more.  If you need an executive visibility strategy or are looking for a CEO branding company, contact us today to learn more. Plus, ask us about a recent case study of a digital marketing thought leader that we secured national press coverage for!

BUILD MY BRAND

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

branding expert kris ruby

PERSONAL BRANDING CONSULTANT- KRIS RUBY

Kris Ruby is widely recognized as one of the top personal branding experts in the country.  Her frequent thought leadership contributions on entrepreneurship, public relations, and social media have distinguished her as a leader in the personal branding industry.  Kris is regularly featured on Fox News as a commentator on PR, social media and crisis communications. Kris frequently shares her secrets to personal branding success in eBooks, podcasts and on her web site. As a nationally recognized commentator in social media marketing, Kris Ruby is a social media savvy entrepreneur who has a passion for building brands. She has created personal brands for private medical practices, entrepreneurs, lawyers, authors, and digital marketers. Contact Kris Ruby to learn more about personal branding consultant services.

 

 

PERSONAL BRANDING RESOURCES

If you liked this article, you may like some of our other articles on personal branding thought leadership PR strategies.

PR Tips For Developing a B2B Thought Leadership Marketing Strategy

Personal Branding in Commercial Real Estate: How to Build a Brand that Gets Noticed 

How to Leverage Social Media to Develop a Personal Brand & Increase Media Exposure 

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BU COM Alumni Kris Ruby Leads Personal Branding Workshop for Executives

I was thrilled to lead an interactive personal branding workshop recently for Boston University’s College of Communications alumni. To watch the full personal branding webinar, click here: 

Personal Branding For Doctors webinar kris ruby

Do you recognize the need to establish a personal brand, yet are unsure how to do so? During this webinar, Ruby Media Group CEO & Social Media Expert Kris Ruby will teach you the top 5 ways to leverage social media and digital PR to build a brand to stand out from your competitors.

During the webinar, Kris Ruby (COM ’09) will cover the following key points:

  • How to be positioned as a source so the media calls on you for quotes
  • How to leverage content marketing to increase inbound interest in your brand
  • How to use social media to make new connections with members of the media

Webinar main topic/industry: PR, Marketing, Communications, Branding

Webinar Target Audience: Mid-level managers and senior executives with intermediate prior knowledge of social media.

Presented by Kris Ruby (COM’09) of Ruby Media Group Recorded on November 15, 2016

Kris Ruby (COM ’09) is the founder of Ruby Media Group (RMG), a full-service Public Relations and Social Media Agency. RMG specializes in creating award-winning integrated public relations and social media campaigns. Ruby works with top Executives to help position their brands in the ever-changing world of social media. Kristen graduated from Boston University’s College of Communication in 2009 with a major in Public Relations. Kris is one of America’s pre-eminent social media experts on social media and is a frequent on-air contributor on FOX News, CNBC, GMA, The Today Show and more. Kris was chosen by the Business Council of Westchester as the youngest “40 Under 40″ Rising Stars. For more information, visit www.rubymediagroup.com or www.krisruby.com

Read RMG’s comprehensive Personal Branding Guide “Branding Yourself: The Business of You” to learn:

  • The best personal branding tips
  • How to build a brand
  • Cost-effective branding ideas
  • Powerful brand building strategies
  • How to brand your business or medical practice through digital PR
  • Personal branding tips and techniques to take your brand to the next level

Transcript: How to Leverage Social Media to Develop a Personal Brand & Increase Media Exposure through Digital Public Relations

Jeff Murphy, BU COM: Hello everybody and thank you for joining us for today’s BU industry insider’s professional development webinar: “How to leverage social media to develop a personal brand and increase media exposure.”

My name is Jeff Murphy and I’m an Associate Director in the BU Alumni Relations Office as well as a proud alumnus of the BU School of Business. Today’s webinar is sponsored by the BU Alumni Association and is offered to our 321,000 alumni around the globe. Throughout your career, BU is committed to helping you define and achieve your professional goals. We aim to do this by providing alumni with a series of valuable online tools and social media communities. It’s important that we get your opinion on how we’re doing so we very much look forward to receiving your feedback via a survey that will be emailed to all of you later today. Today we have alumni joining us from Paris, Barcelona, Brazil, India, Toronto, Chicago, California, and as always dozens of Massachusetts alumni from towns like Waltham, Cambridge, Winchester, Dorchester, Newton, Arlington, and more.

It’s now my pleasure to introduce our speaker for the day. Presenting from New York is College of Communications alumna Kristen Ruby.

Kris Ruby is the founder of Ruby Media Group, also known as RMG. A full-service public relations and social media agency, RMG specializes in creating award-winning integrated public relations and social media campaigns.  A boutique and resourceful consulting agency, RMG also works on assembling the right team and recommending the most effective solutions for any business challenge. RMG has an unmatched track record of success in creating successful personal branding campaigns.

Kris is a personal branding consultant who works with top c-suite executives to position their personal brands in the ever-changing world of social media marketing. She graduated from Boston University’s College of Communications in 2009 with a major in public relations. Kris Ruby is one of America’s preeminent experts on social media and is a frequent on-air contributor on Fox News, CNBC Good Morning America, The Today Show and more.

I’m really excited to have you as our speaker, Kris. I’m going to go ahead and get your PR e-book up and I say e-book instead of slide deck. For those of you who have attended one of our webinars before, this one’s going to be slightly different in that Kris is officially launching her most recent e-book yet unpublished called, “Maximize your social media presence,” and she’s going to be walking us through her new e-book, which, as you’ll see, there’s a lot of content in the images. But you don’t need to be worried about writing everything down. We’re going to email everybody a copy of this e-book, so you can read it more in-depth a little bit later.

Kris Ruby: Thank you so much for joining us today for this webinar. I’m so excited to be here and be part of the BU COM alumni community. Today we will be talking about personal branding in PR and how you can leverage social media to build your personal brand. The first question I want to answer is: what is a personal brand? Why does creating a personal brand matter?

If you look at the most recent election and someone who had zero political experience who came out of the blue and was able to win a campaign within two years. How is that possible? Well, one of the things that made that possible was a strong personal brand.  Whether you love it or hate it, the fact of the matter is that it existed.

Why is that important? A personal brand is like a cape or invisible paint that you wear and it somehow becomes very important when you need it.

WHAT IS PERSONAL BRANDING?

Personal Branding Definition: 

Personal branding is building a series of small branding components over time that one day will create a strong brand so that when you need it, you can pull the trigger to leverage it for other career advancements and opportunities. And that’s really at the heart of what personal branding is.  Your online reputation impacts your business. Reputation builds trust. And people do business with people they trust. Personal branding can help people trust you more or trust you less. When you have no personal brand on Google search results, unfortunately, people will trust you less.

Why is personal branding important in today’s digital economy?

When people search for your brand or business online, they want to see more than paid search results. Personal branding gives consumers a behind-the-scenes look into your ethos, values, and personality. If you don’t develop a personal brand, you will lose to a competitor who is more visible online. Online reputation management matters in this digital economy, and personal branding is one of the best ways to control your reputation in search results.

There is a lot of misinformation out there about how you can build your personal brand. What I want to focus on today is showing you how you can build brand equity by strategically using 3 tactics: content marketing, PR and social media marketing.

HOW TO BUILD YOUR PERSONAL BRAND WITH CONTENT MARKETING

Jeff Murphy, BU COM: Can you tell us about how to leverage content marketing to increase inbound interest from the media in a personal brand?

Kris Ruby: Content Marketing is a critical component of personal branding and supports the branding and PR process. Let me explain how.

What is content marketing?

Content Marketing is positioning yourself in the market as a thought leader and aligning yourself with content that shows your subject matter expertise in a specific vertical. But that’s only half of it. You also want to write content in a way that people want to digest it.  Next, you want to make it easy to get found online for that content by people who are searching for your services or who are members of the media that are searching for that topic.

Content Marketing/ Personal Branding example:

People ask, “How did you get started on TV and how did you build your brand?” Here’s how.

I wrote an article as a guest author for JDate and the topic was how social media has changed the dating landscape. And then I tweeted out that content using the right hashtags so people who were interested in that topic on social media could find it. As a result of strategically hashtagging the article, a TV producer found the article and direct messaged me on Twitter and booked me for my first live TV segment. I had zero experience on television and I had never done a TV segment before. Plus, I did all of this without a PR firm. This is a great testament to the power of personal branding and public relations! But the reason that I was found by a producer on social media was because I put out the right content at the right time and I made it easy for the TV producer to find me on social media. Then, when he looked me up online, I had a strong personal brand developed and the credentials to back up what I was discussing in the article. This is how personal branding, content marketing and PR should ideally work together to help you achieve your PR goals.

I share this personal branding example with you because you can do the same thing and utilize my personal branding strategy to get more national media exposure for your business or medical practice. If you’re putting out content that could be a possible segment and you make it easy enough for people to find it, the same thing can happen to you! Personal branding is critical for doctors, lawyers, authors, entrepreneurs, and professional service providers.

PERSONAL BRANDING STRATEGIES AND TIPS

Personal branding strategy: Sponsored Content

There are other ways to amplify your personal brand that tie into a content marketing strategy. One of the personal branding strategies that will increase visibility for your brand is sponsored content. This is a huge trend right now in digital marketing. And it’s very important as some social media marketing platforms change their algorithm and make it harder for your content to be seen.

Sponsoring content and boosting posts has become a more important component of your digital PR strategy. If there is a web site you want to get featured on from an editorial standpoint, but your pitches are not resonating with reporters, you may want to consider sponsored content. Yes, it does mean paying for visibility, but it is an interesting hybrid of editorial and advertising and enables you to reach your branding objectives.  Buying sponsored content helps you get in front of the right audience with relevant content to a highly targeted audience that you are paying to get visibility in front of.

Personal branding strategy: Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing is another personal branding strategy that is important to consider.  This notion that you can bombard consumers with direct advertising is the way of the past and it is no longer an effective marketing tactic to reach mass consumers. If you want to develop a strong funnel of inbound marketing leads, you need to create compelling content that keeps people coming back for more.

PERSONAL BRANDING CONSULTANT: KRIS RUBY (LISTEN TO THE FULL EPISODE HERE!) 

PERSONAL BRANDING AND SEO: WHY IT MATTERS

What role does SEO play in branding?

When you search for someone online and go to the first page of Google, think about what you click on.

Do you click on the paid ads, which you can very easily see because they’re marked as paid, or do you click on the content that answers your questions and matches the searcher’s intent?

Improve your personal brand with SEO

The next strategy to increase your personal branding is personal SEO.  SEO for individuals is so important.  I believe in organic SEO, which means consistently putting out fresh, organic content.  I don’t believe you have to pay for it with pay per click (PPC) and many of these other paid digital tactics.  If you put out strong organic content and have the right backlinks that carry weight and depth, then you can make it easier to get found online by prospects (and the media!).

How do I optimize my name on Google?

How do I make sure I am the first name to come up on Google? One way to build your personal brand on Google is to claim your directory listing and use rich schema markup. You also want to claim your business listing on Google. The best way to optimize your name on Google is to *try* to control the search results. You can do this by consistently getting quoted in the media as a subject matter expert through a digital PR campaign, which will impact how relevant you are when searchers look for your name.

Branding through SEO: Search engine optimization for people

Most people think of SEO for their business, but they do not realize personal SEO is critical for building a personal brand. You want to use critical search terms that the media is using to find an expert in your niche. For example, the media may not search for your name at first. Instead, they will do a generic search like “NYC Social Media Expert.”

PR for SEO Kris Ruby

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Branding Tip: Is your personal branding web site optimized to appear in those search results? If not, it should be!

Personal SEO for your name: How to improve personal Google search results

The next personal branding strategy is blogging. If you consistently publish fresh content on Google, you will improve your branded search results for your name.

For example, let’s say you want to position yourself as a medical expert.

What are the top 20 questions that prospective patients have about your services?

Next, write content around that as part of your personal branding strategy.

If you do this personal branding exercise, you could have 20 pieces of content!

Personal Branding Tip: Write out the answers to prospects’ most pressing questions and help people find you!

Personal branding/ blogging tips: How to figure out the heart of your personal brand:

Ask yourself the following question:

If I was booked on a national television station on a topic, what would my title be as an expert?

Think about your name, title and what you want to be known as an expert in. If you look, for example, Kris Ruby, President of Ruby Media Group, doesn’t answer the subject matter expertise. “Social Media Expert” or “Digital Media Strategist” would be the expert title in TV jargon.

What matters to a producer is answering:

  • What is this guest an expert in?
  • Are they an expert in social media technology, digital media trends or advertising?
  • Don’t make them guess! Spell it out for them!

You have to be able to think like a producer.  Think like someone who wants to find you and then do the reverse algorithm of that and work backward. 

Personal Branding/ PR Pro Tip: Answer people’s questions so that if there’s a breaking news story, you are the one that the media is going to call as a source because you’ve already put out so much content on that topic that they know that they can rely on you because of your unique take on a given topic.  The goal is to become a trusted source and media commentator. That is the power of personal branding and PR!

PERSONAL BRANDING MYTHS AND MISTAKES

Staying on brand: Avoid these top branding mistakes

Social media is not sufficient to replace your entire marketing strategy and it is not a magic bullet to fix your sales and marketing challenges. You can’t expect social media, marketing or branding to turn everything around for your business.  You need to be doing one of seven different marketing and PR tactics at any given time using a PESO strategy.

Unfortunately, you can’t develop a personal brand by hiring an agency and expecting them to know what you know.  No one can go inside of your brain and know what you know as a thought leader in your field. If you’re expecting someone to be able to ghostwrite on your behalf, it’s not a sustainable strategy.   You have to be part of the content creation process. This process includes social media, branding, public relations, media relations, paid media, and traditional advertising.

Jeff Murphy, BU COM: Can you comment on the three big questions that we wanted to answer for our audience today, both from a small business and also personal branding perspective?

PERSONAL BRANDING PR

How to be positioned as an expert source so the media calls on you for quotes.

Kris Ruby: These are great questions to guide you in your personal branding journey if you want to be positioned as an expert source.

Create a brand vision and ethos.

What to consider before building a personal brand…

Answer the following brand questionnaire questions. We ask our clients to engage in the same exercise!

  1. Who is your target audience?
  2. What do you want to be known for?
  3. Who do you want access to?
  4. What media are you looking to connect with? *Then create a media list around that.

How do I build a personal brand?

Build a personal brand blog. Blogging for business or “the business of you” is critical to helping you reach your branding objectives.  I can’t stress this enough– you need a personal branding blog. You also want to know your audience; you don’t just want to write for the sake of writing. If you understand what your personal brand is, and who you’re looking for, you should write content very specifically for that audience.  If you’re not sure how to get started with blogging for your personal brand, there are blog topic generators, where you can put in three different keywords, and they will give you the titles of what you should write about. You also want to understand, what are your frequency limits? How much content can you put out? 

PR personal branding Pro Tip. If you spend time writing PR pitches to journalists and no one uses your quotes, post the content on your blog. That’s why it’s so great to save interview answers that have not been used because you can keep recycling and reusing the content. 

Create a content calendar.  Create an editorial content calendar so you know what holidays are coming up and how that ties into the news for a hook or relevant angle. There are so many random holidays that most people don’t even realize exist so that’s a really good PR trick to leverage these holidays. And that can make your whole social media process that much quicker. Sharing helpful information is important.  It shouldn’t feel salesy. It should feel like you’re compelled to write something because your thought leadership on the topic will be that helpful for people. Apply this rule: If you don’t want to share it or if your family wouldn’t share what you’re writing, skip it.  Write content that is interesting enough that would apply to someone where it will actually help their life. You may say, but I work in a field that’s so dry, no one’s ever going to want to share this. That’s just not true. Spice up the content and bring it to life.

Develop your lower-third expert title. If a national TV producer looks for you, you’re not just President of x company. You are an expert in X.  You have very specific thought leadership in that area.  A producer will not be interested in you because of what your company does or your company title. The truth is no one cares. Unless you’re hiring a NY PR agency to specifically get you a few press placements for a new product launch, it’s not a sustainable PR campaign.  I’ve done more than 30 TV segments as an expert guest on social media marketing. I don’t think I’ve ever done one segment on what my company does. Because the media doesn’t care we do. They care about having an expert source who can comment on a story. Figure out what expertise you want to be known for and carve a niche around that.

Follow breaking news and always be prepared to comment on trending stories. Use sites like Mention or Google Alerts and put out alerts for trending news stories in your field so that breaking news comes directly to your inbox daily. For example, every time there is a news story on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, it’s impossible to keep up with it. I went in and I put on Google alerts for each of those keywords and now I’m getting a daily digest email about top stories, the top breaking stories for each of those things. And then I can decide, do I want to comment on it? I did the same thing with “election social media” as a phrase. And then I would get articles and decide if I wanted to comment on any of them in the media. You can do the same thing for your personal PR strategy to make this more manageable.

Watch the news. If you want to get found by the media online, start staying on top of the news more than you ever have before. Because in the TV booking world, they are booking guests based on breaking news, not fluffy ideas with no news peg. Anything that planned yesterday is no longer going to be relevant tomorrow. If there’s a breaking news story, TV producers want someone that is able to speak on that specific topic. For example, if you’re in healthcare and a new medical study just came out, you want to write content around that, and then use the right keywords and hashtags. Guest blogging on other people’s web sites is also critical for increasing visibility and domain authority.

How can I create my personal brand on a limited budget or without any money?

Answer media queries.  You can use free resources like HARO to build your brand and get free media exposure and publicity for your business or PR for your medical practice.  As a PR consultant, I use this PR tool every day for my clients. If you want to be quoted as a source, read those queries daily and respond to the ones that make sense for your business that you can comment on. If you get quoted, it is a source of free publicity.  Unfortunately, most people spend more time writing about themselves than they do giving a reporter what they are looking for.  If a reporter says, “I’m looking for an expert who can speak on X,” answer the questions and provide one line at the bottom of the pitch with who you are and a link back to your personal branding web site and why they should quote you. Journalists and reporters are receiving thousands of responses to queries per day. What they’re looking for is the best response and the most highly qualified expert. The first thing that they want to see is who is actually answering the question they are reporting on. And 99% of people do not ever answer the question. And that’s why no one picked up their responses to HARO queries. So that’s a great PR tip that I’m going to leave you with. That alone can help boost your personal brand, and it’s a free way to do it. 

Create a PR strategy and engage in media training.  

How can I strengthen my online presence?

Here is what the media cares about:

  • Getting more viewers and eyeballs on their segments.
  • Producing great segments.
  • Having the best guests.
  • Having experts on-air who are thought leaders who can move the story forward.

You need to be able to have a point of view that pushes a story forward.

It’s not just saying, “I read this” and regurgitating what the story is.  It’s saying, based on the story, here are the top three things that you need to do.

See the difference? There is an art to crafting storylines and angles, which is where a PR consultant can help you.

Yesterday, I looked at a story of terrible post-election, social media behavior that I’ve noticed. And then I put out an article on the top three ways not to engage in deplorable social media behavior.  I didn’t just read the story, I read it, and then I turned it around and I put out actually really good content that people can use and consume, that they’re like, Hey, Kris, thanks for sharing this, right. So that’s a perfect example of something that you can do as well. And if the content is strong enough, you can reuse that content for a pitch to a TV producer for content on a blog, or even break it down into different tweets. So that’s something that’s important as well.   You can take this content and stretch it out exponentially, especially if you’re taking the time to write it.

I’m talking about TV booking and how to get on national television and some people here may not care about that at all but here’s the reason why I bring that up. Because this webinar is about social media and PR and leveraging your personal brand to do both. If you do one tactic, you can use it to get to the other.  I want to empower you with the tools that if you’re going to use social media the right way, one of the byproducts of that is that you can obtain the attention of the media by doing that. So that’s why I’m sharing both sides of the equation of what that looks like and giving you examples of how you can do that when you are building your personal branding strategy.

PR Tip for personal branding: Don’t just comment on every story and don’t comment on things that are out of your wheelhouse or out of scope just to say that you commented on it.  It’s better to go narrow than to go too wide when you don’t really know what it is you’re commenting about.

MEDIA RELATIONS & BRANDING: BUILDING A PERSONAL BRAND THROUGH THE MEDIA   

How do you create a personal brand with digital public relations?

Jeff Murphy, BU COM: As we continue through this tour of your PR e-book, one of the questions that we want to dive in deeper into is about how important it is to make connections with members of the media.  Can you speak more specifically about how to make connections with reporters and journalists on Twitter?

Twitter for PR: How to Use Twitter for your public relations strategy

Find PR opportunities on Twitter using these tips

Kris Ruby: If you want to connect with the media on social media, build a Twitter list that is private that no one else can see except for you. Add members of the media that you’re looking to connect with, put them all on a Twitter list and then follow their tweets. Rather than seeing your normal feed of the same 2000 people that you normally follow, you’re not going to see in that Twitter list, maybe only the fifteen media people that you want to get on their radar.  And every day for 15 minutes, you’re going to go in there and you are going to favorite their tweets, you’re going to make an active effort to respond to some of what they’re saying you’re going to retweet some of their content. This will warm up the process so that if you ever do want to reach out to these reporters, or if you do want to get on their radar, they know who you are. So that is a great tip that can exponentially help you build your personal brand and it’s an easy, actionable item.

Create a traditional media list. What publication do you wish would write about you?  Open that publication, look at an article that is written about your competitor, see who wrote it, look at their website and then on the bottom, they’re going to be sharing all their social media links.

Writers, like producers, want more traffic on their articles.

If you can help them achieve those traffic goals, you become more valuable to them. Not only as a source, but also as a fan and part of the audience. Create a media Twitter list and following what they’re reporting on. If they do write about you, thank the reporter on Twitter or Facebook and retweet the content, share the content and tag them in it so that they see it.  From my experiences with the media and having built trusted relationships with the media over a decade, notice if you don’t do that, and if you don’t do that, they’re less likely to use you again as a source moving forward.

Twitter for PR Pro Tip: Tap into trends and also look on Twitter at what is trending. Put out content and leverage trends that are trending on Twitter.

Look for journalists’ queries in real-time.  One of the things is #journorequest and #PRrequest and then and then just jump in there.

Facebook Groups for PR: How to connect with the media on Facebook

Jeff Murphy, BU COM: Kris, I’m curious to know what’s different about using Facebook to also make those connections with the media?

Kris Ruby: Leverage Facebook groups to connect with journalists because you never know what reporters are in the groups.  Many journalists search for sources in Facebook groups.  If you are in a very specific vertical, search for groups that exist within that, join the groups and then comment within those groups, because a lot of times people get queries from media finding you within the Facebook groups. The other thing is you can use hashtags on Facebook and I think that’s important. You don’t want to overdo it the way you overdo it on an Instagram or a Twitter with hashtags, because Facebook etiquette is different.  If you want people to find you, you should tag brand pages, mention places and strategically use hashtags.

Raising brand awareness on social media

If you want to build a personal brand for business, you need to boost posts using paid advertising. Social media platforms have changed their algorithms so much that if you want to get found and if you want your fans to see your content, you need a budget for paid digital advertising.

Social Media personal branding tip: Create a fan page for your name as a public figure.  Create a separate Facebook fan page so that again, you’re differentiating yourself as the brand, which is important.

Want more social media tips? Here is a link to a five-step process for measuring the ROI of social media.

Jeff Murphy, BU COM: Awesome, Kris, thanks as we wait for some questions to come in here. Again, to all of our guests, please feel free to use this chance to ask Kris Ruby a question by typing your question into the Q&A chat box at the bottom of the screen. And while we wait for those to roll in. Kris, I know you and I had talked about an interesting exercise with our group here. We want to know from all of you in terms of building your personal brand, particularly if any of you are already you know experienced and trying to connect with the media, please click the right answer here for which social media marketing channel has been most successful for you. And Kris, I trust you can see those answers coming in real-time here.

Kris Ruby: For those that said none of the above, can you drop into the chat box right now? What the other category would be for you because you said none of the above. I want to know what are the other things that you’re doing that have worked for you. Drop that into the chat button so we can see what those things are so we can share it with the rest of the group.

Jeff Murphy, BU COM: Actually, Kris, I just opened up another poll question. That’s a short answer one, so people can go use that. But I can see them coming in here at the bottom, LinkedIn. Yeah, forgot to include LinkedIn. I don’t always think of that as social media, to be honest with you, I think of it more as your professional brand. But any comments on LinkedIn?

LINKEDIN FOR PERSONAL BRANDING: THE ART OF CEO BRANDING 

How can I use LinkedIn to build my personal brand?

Kris Ruby: LinkedIn is important for personal branding with business connections and prospects and it’s the most business social media network out of all of the major social platforms. And it is really important for personal branding. One of the things you can do on LinkedIn is to share over all the thought leadership content that you’re writing and put it on LinkedIn. Securing recommendations and testimonials from a colleague is important. Joining relevant industry groups and participating in those groups is also important. LinkedIn has added the capabilities and functionality to add videos or photos within your profile. If you’re quoted in an article, you should share that on LinkedIn so that other people can see that. People have work anniversaries, saying congratulations, it’s just another way to move your brand forward so people actually consistently see you. But the number one way to leverage LinkedIn for personal branding is to put out a steady flow of content, and then use hashtags to increase visibility.

Jeff Murphy, BU COM: Kris, we’ve got some great questions rolling in here. Molly’s wondering, is an e-newsletter a suitable substitute for a blog? Are they the same thing? What are your thoughts on that?

Kris Ruby: I don’t think they’re the same thing. I wouldn’t necessarily do it as a substitute. My answer is that it depends who’s on the receiving end of it. If you have all of the people that are on your target list that are receiving that, then I suppose you could say that but my issue with an e-newsletter is that people don’t necessarily just find it because they’re getting it because they’ve already somehow subscribed to you.  If I don’t know that you exist, I’d be Googling you to first find out about it. If you’re not putting that information on the blog, it’s going to be much more challenging for me to find that. The issue with that newsletter is that it goes under the basic assumption that I already know who you are and I want to read your content again versus the inbound approach. I’ve drawn people in with the content. To cover your bases, it is best to post that content on your personal branding blog as well especially if you have already written it.

Jeff Murphy, BU COM: And a similar question from Diane, she’s already a brand on an electric electronic newspaper, but wants to change venues for broader exposure. If you’re somebody who’s got a solid brand presence in an E-newsletter, what would you recommend as the next step to for broader exposure?

Kris Ruby: That just becomes a negotiation with the outlet.  I would say that that’s the pitch.  I would spend time as a PR consultant, perfecting what that pitch is and telling the reporter what you can bring to their outlet and why they should be working with you. They will be looking for your audience size or social media numbers, what type of talent you are, that you’re bringing to their site. If you’re a brand, they look at you as talent right now.  That’s the new version of “Hollywood talent” and influencers. They’re going to want to see your own version of a media kit. My recommendation to you would be to put that together and let them know based on what you’ve done with a previous media outlet. What results you secured and how much traffic you were able to bring.

Jeff Murphy, BU COM: Interesting question here from Susan, specifically on Twitter.  Is it better to have many more followers than accounts that you personally follow?

Kris Ruby: I think people do that for vanity reasons.  So the Twitter vanity metrics, yes, it’s better to have more followers than people that you’re following. I think that matters, probably maybe with journalists if they’re seeing it.  In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t necessarily, but if you want to I would say yes.

PERSONAL BRANDING SOCIAL MEDIA TOOLS TO SKYROCKET YOUR BRAND

Jeff Murphy, BU COM: You talked quite a bit about the importance of blogging for personal branding. So where would you recommend that people get started with blogging and what are some helpful personal branding tools?

Blogging platforms for thought leadership

Kris Ruby: I build personal branding web sites using WordPress, and I customize the themes, and then they usually have a blogging component within them. So that’s what I recommend doing, having it built into the backend of a WordPress site. But you want to get started with it. Like even with writing one tool that I use that I pay is called Grammarly. And what you can do is you drop in all of your text that you’ve written, and it will edit it and it’s like having a professional editor on your computer. And you can then put in “this is a business letter or business email, or this is going to be for a blog post and it edits the content accordingly for where you’re going to publish it. Having tools like that at your disposal is also just amazing and it cuts out having to have a full-time editor. One thing I will say is that you need to think about yourself as your own magazine now. Everyone becomes a publisher and that’s something that has really changed in digital PR and marketing. You need to think that way. Think the way that the biggest regional publication thinks where you live.

You should expect to be putting a lot in on the front end of writing content, formatting that content, doing graphics around that content. I want to share some tips with you and some tricks that you can use that are free or at a very minimal cost to do that.  One of the apps that I use that is great for non-graphic designers is Canva.

Jeff Murphy, BU COM: You’ve been talking about this next question from Patrick, and you just talked about viewing yourself as a magazine publisher. Patrick’s question is, when your business is you, is there a different way that your branding then you would for a company? Should he be talking more about who he is? Or what he does?

How to become more visible as a recognized expert in your field

Kris Ruby: It’s not who you are or what you do. It’s fundamentally about what your brand can do for others that will make you an invaluable media asset.  What’s most important is how can you take that and move a story forward and give people information that will broaden their horizon on a specific topic.  It’s not who you are or what you do, it’s what you can do for a producer’s audience that matters.

When you’re branding a person versus a company, it’s very different and you can take more liberties when you’re doing personal branding than you can if you’re working at a Fortune 500 company and you have a different structural hierarchy that you have to go through. The great part about having a personal brand is that you don’t have to go through all of that red tape.

I will say, though, that there are ways that you can very easily destroy your personal brand. I’ve never seen more people destroy their personal brands than I have over the past few weeks of the election, one of the things that I always tell people, you know, traditionally before any of this happened is you have to think about who you’re connected to.

Are you connected to people online that you want to potentially do business with? If so, you don’t want to put something out on social media that is going to potentially offend 50% of the population that you are going to want to work with at some point down the line. But for whatever reason, right now, we’re in the wild, wild west of social media.

All conventional social media etiquette rules have gone out the window, and people are just posting whatever they feel like even on LinkedIn, I’m seeing it across the board.  I urge you to think about that when you’re putting content out there. You’re in this branding game for the long haul. Don’t just think about what makes the most sense to post today because you have a strong opinion about something. You really want to think about- if this was on the cover of The New York Times my tweet, my blog post, what I want all of America or would I want the world reading this opinion, and you have to think about how it ties into your overall brand. Does it support it? Or does it detract from it?

Jeff Murphy, BU COM: Silas question addresses what you just talked about regarding somebody destroying their own personal brand, but Silas wants to know about when you have fans or commenters who are impacting your brand. He specifically mentions that on Twitter and Facebook, he’s getting lots of people who make comments that you don’t want to be associated with that he’s having to block people from time to time. And his question is basically, how do you make sure that you are interacting with the right set of people on social media channels?

Kris Ruby: I’m seeing a rise of that right now. Let’s say it’s on Facebook and you post something and someone posts something that’s an inappropriate response on that thread or that you deem inappropriate. One of the things you can do is direct message somebody in a polite way and say, “This is a safe space for positive commentary we don’t really tolerate so you can have your own sort of social media policy with your own followers and what’s okay and what’s not okay.  If you start seeing things that are terrible and that you don’t want to be associated with, I would unfriend those people and block them. But unfortunately, right now everyone’s coming out of the woodwork and saying so much more of this stuff than we’ve ever seen. You can’t block everyone you’re friends with.  If you post intelligent things in what is somewhat of a neutral way, and I think that the message, the way in which you craft that message also will dictate the response that you’re getting. If you still see things that are ridiculous, I’d say definitely remove that content because again, you are affiliated with what their responses or you can publicly respond and say, please don’t comment, please stop trolling my wall.  You’re on Twitter, you don’t have to respond to those people at all.

Jeff Murphy, BU COM: Susan’s just typed in a question as I think, a result of listening to your answers on the last two. But let’s say that you do have a personal brand meltdown on social media, any thoughts on how you recover from a major brand disaster?

Kris Ruby: Go silent for a little bit. This world that we created where we have to be attached to our devices 24/7 in order to feel okay and connected it’s that’s not okay.  If you have a brand meltdown, I would step away from the computer like stop posting, all you’re going to do is make it worse, you need some time to reflect on what happened with that meltdown. And if you stay connected, all you’re going to do is continue to make that problem exponentially greater.  Walk away from the computer shut down and go take a walk outside, literally go sit in nature for a second and think about when you come back when you decide to have your comeback online, what is the thing you want to say? Do you want to issue a public apology? How do you want to PR this? Do you feel like you can recover from this? What does that really look like for you? It’s so specific to each individual thing that I feel like I probably have to have like a call with everyone on what those meltdowns look like, but my number one piece of advice would be stepping away from the computer and stop posting.

Jeff Murphy, BU COM: I knew we would get a question like this before too long and I’m glad Cattrell has asked that I think it’s a great place to end.  And so Cottrell’s question and I’ll add other than hiring you as a personal branding consultant Kris, what would be your best advice for giving a new couture fashion brand some exposure on social media?

Kris Ruby: For a fashion brand Instagram would make the most sense for that brand and to also be joining different fashion groups and boosting posts. Figure out who your audience is and boosting posts accordingly to get on the radar of who you are looking for. Fashion is an entirely separate PR vertical where you need to be sending out samples and connecting with the right influencers. Figure out what influencers you want to connect with and then dress them and then and then broker a deal with them where they in exchange for you dressing them they are publicly promoting your line. obviously, they have to follow the new guidelines and make it clear right they have to let it be known that you have an agreement with them about that’s what you should be doing for some quick and easy exposure that’s more of a barter than actually paying out of pocket.

Jeff Murphy, BU COM: Kris let’s talk about your personal brand. Where should people follow you on social media for continued thoughts on how to build a personal branding strategy?

Kris Ruby: My personal branding web site is Kris Ruby and my business web site is Ruby Media Group

If you want to connect with me on social media you can find me at @sparklingruby or at @rubymediagroup. I’m happy to offer a 15-minute consultation to any member of the BU COM alumni community that was on this personal branding webinar today.

Jeff Murphy, BU COM: Awesome, Kris, thank you so much for your time. As you were doing your presentation that was sort of feeling like a lot of the tips that you were offering, it felt like a little bit like, you know, a peek behind the veil at how the media is made. Everything that you talked about it is common sense and, and something that everybody can do. I really appreciate that you delivered on your promise of “here are some steps that everybody who’s tuning in today can take to help build their personal brand and increase their media exposure. Thank you again on behalf of the BU Alumni office for sharing this with us today. I really appreciate your time.

PERSONAL BRANDING SERVICES FOR ENTREPRENEURS & DOCTORS 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

KRIS RUBY- NY SOCIAL MEDIA & BRANDING EXPERT

Kristen RubyKris Ruby is the CEO of Ruby Media Group, an award-winning public relations agency.  Kris Ruby has more than 12 years of experience in public relations and media relations. As a result of Kris Ruby’s behind the scenes experience in a newsroom commenting on breaking news stories, she has a unique understanding of how to formulate effective public relations strategies and how to garner earned media wins for clients that result in national press coverage and earned media results. Kris Ruby has secured thousands of media impressions and press placements for clients in national publications and media outlets.  She is a sought-after digital strategist and PR consultant who delivers high-impact personal branding training programs for executives. Over the past decade, Ruby has consulted with small- to large-scale businesses, including Equinox and IHG Hotels. She has led the social media strategy for Fortune 500 companies as well as private medical practices, and is a digital media strategist with 10-plus years building successful brands. Ruby creates strategic, creative, measurable targeted campaigns to achieve an organization’s strategic business-growth objectives. Ruby is also a national television commentator and political commentator. She has appeared on Fox News more than 100 times covering big tech bias, politics and social media. She is a trusted media source and frequent on-air commentator on social media, tech trends and crisis communications and frequently speaks on FOX News, CNBC, Good Morning America and other networks. Ruby is at the epicenter of the social media marketing world and speaks to associations leveraging social media to build a personal brand.  She graduated from Boston University’s College of Communication with a major in public relations and is a founding member of The Young Entrepreneurs Council.  Ruby Media Group’s CEO was recently named “Publicist of The Week” by Women in PR. For more information about Kris Ruby, visit https://www.krisruby.com and https://rubymediagroup.com

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*Date last updated 2020

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