Tagged: Kris Ruby

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 

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

 


Social Media Keynote Speaker Kris Ruby Millennial Awards

 

Kris Ruby Social Media Keynote

“Millennials urged to create legacies on social media”

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

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

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

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

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

WATCH KRIS RUBY’S KEYNOTE HERE: 

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

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

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

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

MARKETING KEYNOTE SPEAKER: ABOUT KRIS RUBY

 

Kris Ruby Keynote Speaker Bio

 


Political Advertising On Social Media

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

SOCIAL MEDIA POLITICAL AD POLICY

Political advertising in the digital age.

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

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

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

HISTORY OF POLITICAL ADVERTISING

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SOCIAL MEDIA: NEW RULES FOR POLITICAL ADS

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

Political Ad Policies

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

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

FACEBOOK POLITICAL AD POLICY

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

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

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

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

Facebook Political Ad Policy

GOOGLE POLITICAL AD POLICY

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

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

Google Political Ad Policy

TWITTER POLITICAL AD POLICY

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

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

Twitter Political Ad Policy

The pros and cons of restricting political ads on social media

PROS

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

CONS

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

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

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

Will government regulation affect growth? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That is not manipulation; it is good marketing!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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

 

 


Public Relations Podcast: Inbound PR Success

Inbound PR Kris Ruby podcast

 

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

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

Inbound Success Podcast

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

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

Listen to the full PR podcast episode here 

INBOUND PR PODCAST HIGHLIGHTS

Highlights from the Inbound Success Podcast Interview: 

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

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

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

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

PLUS 

  • What makes for a newsworthy story?

 

ABOUT THE PR PODCAST GUEST

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

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

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

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

For interview and media requests, contact us here.

inbound pr podcast kris ruby

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This week on The Inbound Success Podcast, Ruby Media Group Founder Kristen Ruby breaks down the myths surrounding PR and inbound marketing. In this podcast episode, she goes into detail about who should consider using PR, when to use PR for your business, how much you should expect to pay for PR, and what kinds of results you should expect if you hire a PR firm.

In addition, Kristen covers the difference between PR for brand building and PR for SEO, as well as reactive vs. proactive PR.

There is a lot of practical information here for any marketer who has ever considered using PR as part of their strategy.

Highlights from my conversation with Kristen Ruby include:

  • A PR specialist is different than a media relations specialist. Kris specializes in strategic Public Relations and Media Relations.
  • PR can encompass anything in a communications plan and marketing plan, whereas media relations is specifically about interaction with the media.
  • PR is a good strategy for any business that is looking to build a long-term, sustainable funnel of leads, as well as to build their brand.
  • One of the big benefits of PR is that it can contribute to building your domain authority, which is great for SEO.
  • In terms of setting expectations for a PR engagement, Kristen says that the results you can get are very dependent upon the news cycle and what journalists are interested in covering.
  • Kristen says you should expect to commit to working with your PR firm at least one hour each day.
  • There’s a difference between reactive and proactive PR. Kristen specializes in reactive PR, which entails responding to reporters’ requests for sources, as opposed to proactive PR, which she states is going out to the media and spamming them with unsolicited pitches.
  • When it comes to PR, it’s important to build up online (and offline) authority so that the media sees you as a credible source.
  • For clients looking to get started with PR, Kristen recommends that they begin by publishing content that is aligned with what they are hoping to get coverage about. This can be published on their website, LinkedIn profile, etc.
  • The cost of a PR engagement can vary widely depending upon the scope of services and the type of media coverage that you’re looking for and then the size of the firm you want to work with.
  • If you plan to be on TV as part of your PR plan, Kris says it could be worth investing in media training as part of your PR package, as it will prepare you to be on camera.

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

ENHANCED TRANSCRIPT WITH BONUS MATERIAL:

Kathleen Booth (Host): Welcome back to the Inbound Success Podcast. Today, my guest is Kristen Ruby who is the CEO of Ruby Media Group. Welcome Kristen.

Kristen Ruby (Guest): Hi, thank you so much for having me.

Kathleen: I’m so happy to have you here. You are in the field of PR and we don’t get to talk about PR a lot on the podcast so I’m really excited to dig into it with you, but before we do can you just tell my listeners a little bit more about yourself, and about your company, and what you do?

Kristen Ruby:  My company is Ruby Media Group. I have been a public relations consultant for over a decade now. I work with clients and businesses of all sizes from small to midsize companies to Fortune 500 companies. I also do PR campaigns for medical practices and doctors.

I help companies with brand building, content creation, social media, public relations, and more.  My mission is to help people get found online through integrated digital PR strategies. I am great at taking people’s offline thought-leadership and translating that online into digital platforms.

INBOUND PR: PUBLIC RELATIONS AND INBOUND MARKETING

Kathleen:  This podcast is all about inbound marketing and people have mixed opinions about where public relations fits within that mix as an inbound marketer. I think there’s also a lot of misconceptions about what public relations is, especially today as the field has evolved over time.

You had some really interesting viewpoints on that and I wanted to start by having you explain what you see as what PR is, and the different uses of it, because there’s PR for SEO, and then there are other types of PR.

PUBLIC RELATIONS VS. MEDIA RELATIONS

What is the difference between PR and Media Relations?

Kristen Ruby: There is a difference between PR and media relations, so I want to also explain that first to your listeners.

PR can encompass anything in your communications and marketing plan, whereas media relations is specifically about interactions with the media.

I do a lot of media relations work, whereas some public relations practitioners focus on community outreach, partnership outreach, or sponsorship activations.  These areas fall under a larger umbrella of PR and communications. So, PR can encompass many different areas of outreach, whereas media relations specifically focuses on communications with the media.

What does a publicist do?

A publicist will help you navigate through your interactions with the media and will get your brand message and story out there to the public. A publicist will also handle media inquiries and manage interview requests and talking point coordination on behalf of your company.

HIRING A PR FIRM: WHEN SHOULD YOU INVEST IN PR FOR YOUR BUSINESS?

How to measure the value of PR.

Kathleen:  What do you see as the value of PR for the companies that invest in public relations? Who is it right for? When should you engage a PR firm for PR services?

Is PR worth it?

Kristen Ruby:  With PR, it depends on what stage you’re at in your business. For example, let’s say you’re a medical practice and a doctor, and you’ve been around for ten years, you already have a waiting list of patients, but at this point, you have other strategic business goals.

Maybe you want to become a paid speaker. Maybe you want to write a book and you want a publisher, and you need a social media following for that.  Or maybe you’re at a different level in your medical career where now you want to focus on putting out educational content to reach the masses because your time is limited, and you can only see a certain number of patients a day.

For that type of medical practitioner, I think PR is ideal because it fits in the brand building bucket.

If you’re someone that is saying, “I need more patients in the door tomorrow, and I’ve just launched a practice,” I would say traditional marketing would make sense for that, including direct marketing and digital advertising.

When is the best time to hire a PR agency?

Kristen Ruby: You have to evaluate, “Are you looking for sales and leads tomorrow out of this, or can you have a longer sales funnel with what you’re doing?”

Kathleen: Yeah, that’s a good point. I often hear about PR a lot from startups, especially B2B technology startups. There seems to be this assumption that in the beginning, PR is something that you should invest in almost before marketing. I think part of it is this desire as a startup to plant your flag in the ground in the marketplace and get your name out there.

But then, the other part of it is also, from my perspective as a marketer, about building domain authority. That goes back to PR for SEO, so I wonder if you could talk about that.

PR FOR BRAND BUILDING VS. PR FOR SEO

Kristen Ruby: I have a great case study of PR for SEO. We worked with a health care client and we launched their personal branding campaign from scratch with a new website and an in-depth strategic deck.  We had not done any direct marketing, and we’ve only done PR for them.

Their Domain Authority ranking now is 32 and that’s all from public relations. So, all of that authority and they have not done any paid advertising. It’s all backlinks from PR articles that I’ve gotten them.

Now, again, that was never even a primary goal of why we did PR for this brand, but I think one of the amazing things about that campaign is that it can happen when you’re not even trying for it.

With traditional public relations practitioners, there’s often a disconnect with SEO and PR because they’re so focused on getting the press coverage, and working with producers and journalists that they don’t realize they are building someone’s backlink profile and Domain Authority while they are executing a PR campaign.

Of course, you can never guarantee any press placements, and we could talk about that as well, but if you get backlinks it can be great, especially if you are securing press coverage for a client in a third-party national media outlet, and that outlet has very high Domain Authority, you’re benefiting from that.

Kathleen:  It is tremendous potential if you have a well-known media entity. Those backlinks can be worth a lot.

Kristen Ruby: Yes.

PR FIRM EXPECTATION SETTING

What should you expect from a PR firm?

Kathleen: I want to talk about expectation setting when you work with a PR firm because that can seem very alluring, and I’m sure you have clients who come to you and say, “Get me mentioned in The Wall Street Journal, or on TV, etc.,” so can you talk me through when you first start working with a new PR client how do you determine what’s possible and how do you set expectations around that?

What should I look for when hiring a PR firm?

Kristen Ruby:  The first thing that we ask a prospect who is interested in hiring Ruby Media Group for public relations services is, “What does PR success look like to you? How are you going to evaluate the PR engagement and what do those metrics and KPI’s look like?”

For example, if they say, “We want to be on The Today Show within a month.” Obviously, that’s going to be an unrealistic expectation. If they say, “We’re looking for around three or four press placements and digital mentions a month.” That’s a realistic expectation with my PR firm. I’m not sure if it is with every firm, but for us, I know that I can deliver that.

If they say, “I want you to guarantee a set amount of media bookings whether that’s on radio, or television, or any outlet.” That’s something that’s not realistic because no PR firm that’s worth their salt is going to be able to give those media guarantees.

The reason for that is because we are working with the media. The media dictates what they want to use and what they don’t want to use. Our main deliverable is very much dependent on a third-party variable at any given time: the media.

What should a PR firm do for you?

Kristen Ruby: The problem is that people hire publicists and think that the publicist has much more power than they do. I don’t know if that’s because public relations practitioners misrepresent what they can do to try and close a deal, but it’s just not realistic. Unfortunately, there are many misconceptions about public relations.

For example, if you look at any given week in the news cycle there’s a lot of political news happening, such as the Trump impeachment hearing. What if you had a PR client that’s booked on TV this week? That segment will most likely be canceled because of the news cycle.

Kathleen: And if it wasn’t canceled no one would probably pay attention anyway because everyone’s attention is diverted somewhere else I would think.

How does a PR firm work?

Kristen: This is why it’s so important if you’re hiring a PR firm to understand this.  The news cycle and breaking news dictate what’s being covered. It’s not your client that dictates it.

So, if you can come up with some great tie-in to the news, or if your client’s a political expert and they can comment on what’s happening, it adds value to the breaking news peg.

That lends itself back to your original question, which is how to determine if someone’s going to be a good PR client.

In this heavy political news climate, a lot of PR practitioners will gravitate towards prospective clients that can comment on those areas because they know that they can get them booked on TV for media interviews.

We go through an internal checklist about who’s going to be a good fit. It has to do with expectations. Are they realistic?

The next question is: do you have at least one hour daily to work with your PR firm if you hire an agency? People make the mistake of hiring a PR firm and then they don’t give them what they need to do their job effectively. You have to supply content to your PR firm so that they can get you out there. That content is the backbone of what they are pitching to reporters.

You have to let your PR firm know if something’s going on that you can comment on, tell them. If there is a link to a news story that you think is interesting, share it with them and explain why. But this notion that you’re going to hire a PR firm, and then you’re not going to talk to them, and they can get you press coverage is very unrealistic.

PR TIPS

What makes a story newsworthy?

Kathleen: Now, someone comes to you, and their expectations are realistic in the sense that they say, “Hey, I would love to get four press mentions this month.”

I’m assuming that there’s some kind of content that’s needed, like you can’t just call up a reporter and say, “Hey cover this company,” full stop, period. There needs to be some kind of a story. So how do you work with clients to determine what that story is and cultivate something that’s newsworthy?

PROACTIVE PR VS. REACTIVE PR

Kristen:  There are two different types of PR. There’s proactive PR and reactive PR. I’m a specialist in reactive PR. Reactive PR is when you’re using different databases, whether it’s HARO, ProfNet or Cision, to reply to reporters queries in real-time.

There are a lot of new platforms coming out where those journalists are saying, “We’re writing this story, do you have an expert to speak on X?” That’s when I plug my clients in to be able to comment on those stories.

Proactive PR is a traditional old-school approach where you’re going out to journalists and spamming them and saying, “I have this great idea, why don’t you cover it?”

But the problem with that approach is that they may or may not be writing about that topic. So, I think the success rates are significantly higher when you practice reactive PR, because you’re giving the media what they want, when they’re already working on that topic and it makes their life easier.

Kathleen: So you really, in that case then, don’t have to necessarily have a breaking news item or a piece of content. It’s really just authority and expertise that you’re pitching?

Kristen: It’s authority and expertise, but it’s also answering a lot of media questions, and usually those questions tie into a breaking news story. If a reporter is working on a vaping story. You could have authority and expertise, but you also need to have expertise in that news area that’s happening with vaping in the country right now. It’s a combination of all of those factors together. But to answer your other question about packaging, I have a motto.

HOW TO BUILD YOUR PERSONAL BRAND

My PR motto is “Package, pitch, promote.” Phase one when I work with a new PR client is, “how can we package this story?” Who are they? What does their brand look like? The first thing I’ll do is do a deep dive on Google. I want to look at their website. Do they have a press-friendly web site for the media? If not, that needs to go up before we even work with them because journalists are going to look for that.

Next, what has been written about them online? Do they have a critical mass of authority online? If they don’t, that needs to be created. Third, who are they? What do they want to be known for?

What is their area of expertise? If there is going to be a lower third for their title tag on television, what would it say? Expert in what? So, we need to figure all that out. Finally, do they have a high-res headshot for the media and do they have an executive bio?

All of that has to be done in the first two months of us working with a PR firm. Even though it sounds simple, most people don’t have all of that ready to go. So, we get that lined up for someone before we start with them, and then next we start putting together an FAQ document in Microsoft Word.

I recently created a helpful media 101 pitching checklist that I can share as well as a media guide too which may be helpful for your listeners.

DIGITAL PR: HOW TO BUILD ONLINE AUTHORITY

Why digital PR is your secret weapon for increasing E-A-T on Google 

Kathleen: Now, I think it was the second thing you mentioned there was they need to have is that after the website, they need to have some sort of critical mass of online authority established. What does that mean? What are you looking for there?

Kristen: I’m looking to see that other reporters and journalists have quoted them. I think that lends itself very nicely to the new Google Quality Rater Guidelines. I wrote an article on what Google is looking for regarding digital authority and E-A-T. It’s very important. It’s all about having authority online.

That’s where PR can help. If you’re trying to increase your E-A-T on Google, you need digital authority. It’s not just about you saying that you’re great. When they look online, they need to see that other people are saying you are great and that you are an expert in what you’re saying you are an expert in.

This is a very interesting time, and this is sort of changing the game in general for PR. You can’t just pivot. You can’t just say that you’re an expert in everything anymore.

You have to become an expert in one thing and it doesn’t matter how many times you say it. This is going to be a major game-changer for PR.

Launching a PR campaign: How to get started with PR for your business

Kathleen: So, if somebody comes to you and they don’t have a lot of mentions online, can you work with them? Can you get them press coverage? How do you start with PR and brand building? What’s that first step?

Kristen: The first step is that we do a brand audit and build that out for a longer period of time before we ever pitch anything to the media.  It all starts with content marketing and strategic management consulting.

If you want to show your expertise, you have to put out consistent content that aligns with that expertise.

The best place to start if you don’t have other people mentioning you is to your web site or LinkedIn where you can show what they know. You can also publish an e-book, or any sort of other inbound marketing campaign, which is important. Having people link back to that content to start building authority is critical even if you have no other outside media coverage to start with.

Why inbound marketing is necessary for PR

Kathleen: That’s helpful because when you think about how inbound marketing and PR go together, I’ve talked to lots of companies that think you start with PR, then you do inbound marketing and then maybe you do PR again.

But if what I’m hearing what you’re saying is correct, it sounds like it does make sense to begin with some inbound marking first so that you have that content already created. You have potentially gotten mentioned, you’re starting to establish some authority. Is that accurate?

Kristen: Yes. You can’t say that you’re an expert and have no content to back that up and expect journalists to write about you.  At that point, you’re just a self-proclaimed expert. If a PR consultant is going to pitch you to the media and that journalist looks you up, and they don’t even see content written by you, how are you an expert? It doesn’t make any sense.

I think that’s a major mistake that a lot of executives make. There are some PR practitioners who skip the content marketing part and that’s not practicing the new method of digital PR. Content marketing and inbound marketing must work in unity with your public relations firm. It should not be separate.

PR PRICING: HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO HIRE A PR FIRM?

Kathleen: One of the questions I’m sure that anybody has if they haven’t worked with a PR firm before is, this sounds great but what does it cost? I’m not asking what do you charge, but can you give me a sense of if somebody’s considering doing PR and they’re going to work with a consultant outside of their company to do it, what sort of budget should they have to get started with a PR firm?

What does PR cost? 

Kristen:  The cost of hiring a PR firm depends on so many factors.  A startup, entrepreneur, book author or small business is not going to spend 100k monthly on PR services. So, it is important to understand that many of the numbers you see floating around online for PR services widely differ depending on the vertical, industry and media coverage goals.

Public relations consultants and freelancers will be able to offer more competitive pricing because you aren’t paying for their overhead. If you want to work with a large size PR agency, you will pay for the brand name and may not be working with the senior-level strategists unless you are willing to pay a premium for it.

How much does public relations cost?

Before you can answer, “how much does PR cost?” ask the following:

  • Is your brand ready for PR?
  • What is the budget you have allocated for PR services?
  • Do you want to work with a smaller firm or do you like the appeal saying you work with a large agency?

The scope of services, the type of media coverage that you’re looking for and the size of the PR firm will dictate the answer to the cost of PR services.

Typically, I would say a reasonable range that PR services start at could be anywhere from $5,000 a month and then up from there. For some of the larger NY PR firms, they could be charging $35,000 or $40,000 a month. It depends on the size of the public relations firm and the other ancillary services that the public relations firm is offering.

How much do PR packages cost?

Let’s say the cost of PR services you signed up for is $10,000 per month. It is important to keep in mind that there are outside costs as well that may not be covered in your monthly retainer. This is where understanding a la carte PR pricing is important, plus the outside costs section of the contract you sign with a PR firm.

For example, do you need media training? That’s going to be a separate cost. If you need an electronic press kit (EPK) created for your business, that’s also going to be an outside cost. If you need a personal branding website, that’s going to be another cost.

If you need photography and new headshots, another cost. So, a lot of times those costs are not built into the ongoing retainer for a PR campaign.

Managing scope creep is also very important in PR to understand what the role of a publicist is and what areas are considered a separate wheelhouse.

Can I afford a public relations campaign?

$6,000 monthly may seem like a lot to a small business for PR services, but this fee pales in comparison to the cost of a full-time in-house communications director or chief marketing officer. The question isn’t, can I afford to hire a public relations campaign for my business?

The real question is: can I afford NOT to hire a public relations director for my business?

Interested in PR? Contact us today to learn more about our Public relations packages.

MEDIA TRAINING

What is media training?

Kathleen: Let’s talk about media training for a minute because this actually came up in a conversation that I recently had. Can you explain what happens in a media training session and what are you being trained on?

Kristen: Media training prepares you for live on-camera television interviews in a breaking news environment. How can you answer tough questions from news anchors? How can you learn to not say things like ‘um’ while you’re doing interviews? When I conduct media training with corporate executives, I will record them and we’ll go playback what they sound like. If they do a TV segment, we will rigorously critique that segment, and say, “This is great, but here are all the things you need to do to improve.”

For example, can they maintain eye contact? That’s what we look for or are they looking all over the place? Are they using a lot of transition words? Can they cut back on that? Are they using modifiers like “in my opinion” that can be cut and that do not add value to the interview? Are they talking for way too long? Have they been trained in how to speak in sound bites for media interviews? All of those areas are critical components of media training.

Kathleen: It’s so funny because listening to you describe it, it makes me think of podcasting because I’ve been doing this now… I’m on episode 110, and when I podcast, I always send my audio off to be transcribed and then I have to edit the transcription for the show notes. Reading the written version of what I say is the most horrifying thing in the world.

I have discovered that I start just about every sentence with yeah. My guest says something and I’m like, “Yeah, let’s talk about that,” or, “Yeah, and I have a question.” It’s just so funny and I imagine it’s the same thing with media training when you playback a recording. All of a sudden you’re like, “Wait, I say that, that much? I had no idea.”

Kristen: Yes, exactly. That’s why it can be scary and also why it is so important. For example, in addition to running a PR firm, I’m also a television commentator. I’ve personally been on TV more than a hundred times on Fox News or other outlets, and even if it’s segment 101, I’m still rigorously assessing what I sound like because if I’m not doing that I’m not learning and I’m not getting better. I think that people don’t realize that people that are on-air all the time are doing this very same thing. It’s not just something that you start when you hire a PR firm. You have to keep doing it.

How do I prepare for a media interview? How to handle the tough questions.

Kathleen: How do you advise people to handle it when they don’t want to answer a question from a reporter? Is it, “I don’t comment on that?” Is there a certain way to gracefully avoid answering the question?

Media Training Tips and Techniques

Kristen: There are two media techniques we use for conducting media training that can be helpful with that question. One, I’d call bridging. So, if you don’t necessarily want to answer something or if you’re not sure how, I would bridge it and transition it into something else. You can say, “This is a really interesting question; however, I think this is the larger question.” So that would be bridging. That’s one option.

The second approach is to always be honest. If someone asks you a question and you are not qualified to speak on it, just tell someone that. Say, “That’s a really interesting question, however, I’m not sure I’m the best one to answer this, but if I had to take a stab, here’s what I would say.” You can say something like that as a modifier or you can say, “I’ll get back to you on that one.” You could do what Mark Zuckerberg did at the congressional hearing, where every single question he said, “I’ll have my team get back to you on that.” That’s a perfect way of answering (or dodging) the question.

How does PR work? Which PR opportunities are worth responding to?

Kathleen:  Circling back to PR for SEO and in tandem for inbound marketing backlinks. When you’re pitching and you mentioned that you do reactive PR, how do you screen through which PR opportunities are worth responding to and which ones are not?

Kristen:  The first thing I do is look at the media outlet. Is it a well-known media outlet, or is it a random blog? The back-linking part I don’t look at until the very end when a story is live because you don’t know if they’re going to include a link or not. For me, if I’m going to send something to a client, I’m looking at it to think, is this an anonymous query? If it is, we’re not replying. Is it a large national media outlet that we’ve heard of, which would be great to get a mention in regardless of the backlink? Then yes, I’ll send it to them. Is it worth their time to answer this?

How many questions are on there that they want answered, and do I realistically think the client can answer it by the deadline? All of those things factor into whether or not I think that they should look at that. Again, I look at backlinks as an added bonus of doing PR, but if people come to me and say, “You need to guarantee backlinks,” I tell them, “There’s no way any public relations professional can guarantee backlinks.  Reporters don’t even know if a link is included.”

So, there’s a lot of scams out there right now where people will send you this nice long sheet and go, “Oh for X thousand dollars, for this one-off I’ll get you quoted for this mention.” Well, Google’s changing the game right now, rather, with how all of that’s handled and if you look at the quality rater’s guidelines, they also clearly mention that they can tell and that they’re very aware of those links and that they don’t count for much.

That’s a waste of time and a waste of money. Spend your time and resources doing PR the right way, and if you get links out of it then that’s an added bonus.

Kathleen: You mentioned anonymous queries, and this is something that I’ve always wondered about. I look at HARO all the time and as you said, some of the calls for sources say, “I’m with this particular news outlet,” and then others are anonymous. I’ve always wondered about that because sometimes I think, “Oh, well if they’re anonymous they’re some podunk place.” But then other times I think, “If they’re anonymous maybe they’re someplace big, but they don’t want to let people know that.” I don’t know. What has your experience been with anonymous queries on Haro?

Kristen: It’s a gamble. It’s 50-50. It can go either way. So sometimes it could be a major media outlet, but they have an internal editorial policy, which may state they don’t want someone else scooping up the story or that the reporters can’t use HARO. So that reporter may put it in as anonymous. So technically they’re not using HARO. That’s one option. Another thing is that it really is a much smaller site and they know that no one is going to answer their query if they say, “This is for my hole in the wall blog that no one has ever heard of.” So, it can go either way.

HOW TO FIND PR OPPORTUNITIES FOR YOUR BUSINESS

How to identify PR opportunities with free tools

Kathleen: For somebody who’s listening and thinking, “I’m not ready to hire a PR firm yet, but I might want to dabble in trying this out for myself.” There’s HARO (Help A Reporter Out), which is a free source that you can read and respond to. Are there any other helpful places that somebody can visit to see what kinds of stories reporters are working on and potentially respond?

HOW TO GET MORE PR: FREE PR IDEAS

Kristen: The best thing that they can do is to read the news. I know that sounds so simple. Yet, so many people don’t do it. Everyone is looking for this cheap quick fix on how they can do something, which is why I’m not really a fan of do-it-yourself PR for a number of reasons, but the main one is that Do-it-yourself PR can actually be quite dangerous. I’ve seen people make major mistakes because they’re not media trained.

They say all sorts of things. They don’t really know what on the record versus off the record even means, and then they want someone else to fix it. And they can’t. Because they read some advice somewhere and told them to try it and then it hurt them, and then their CEO is not happy. You have to be careful.

However, if you’re interested in figuring out, “What is the media really writing about?” So maybe you’re a digital marketer and you want to get quoted in the news. Go into Google and then click news. Then put in digital marketing. That’s the first step I would take.

HOW TO GENERATE PR FOR YOUR BUSINESS

If you don’t want to hire a PR firm, I would set up Google Alerts for the key industry terms and for your name. I would use a site like Mention because a lot of times Google Alerts doesn’t pick up everything it needs to. Then I would start seeing… For example, let’s say I comment on Instagram. I have Google Alerts set up for Instagram.

Or for Trump’s tweets or anything relevant to what I talked about, and then I get… that just becomes part of my day. So maybe you’re a cardiologist and you’re speaking on artificial intelligence and cardiology. I’d set up a Google alert for “AI Cardiology.” That’s more of an inbound approach to PR really because it all comes to you.

Then you start formulating an opinion on that. I would then take that opinion, write content around it, put it on your own site, and then I think what you’re going to start to see is that if its good content and you optimize that content, you can be found for that content by a member of the media.

I will say this, people always say, “How did you get started in television?” I got started in television because of content. I wrote a really cool article on how social media was impacting the world of dating and it was for Jdate.com, and this was like 10 years ago.

I tweeted that article. I did not have a PR firm at that time and I was still more so in social media. A TV producer found my article on Twitter. They found the content, they liked the content, and they said, “This would make for an interesting segment, would you like to come on the show?” That’s literally how I got started in my career in TV—all because of content.

I would urge your listeners to consider that strategy when you’re thinking about how to get there. That’s a do-it-yourself PR approach, but it’s not dangerous because you’re not necessarily reaching out to the media directly. It’s a content-first approach.

Why Twitter is key for your PR strategy

Kathleen: Now do you find that there are certain channels where you can publish your content that make it more likely that you will be found by a reporter?

Kristen: Twitter and LinkedIn. Journalists are the biggest users of Twitter by far. We have clients that say to us, “I don’t want to be on Twitter,” and I say, “You don’t have a choice. You have to be on Twitter because if I’m getting you hits, I need to tweet those hits because reporters want traffic to their articles.” This old school notion that PR is just take, take, take and not give is so antiquated. You can’t expect that someone’s going to write about you and then you’re not going to help push traffic to those articles. Which is why whether it’s a podcast, or it’s a reporter at a different outlet, they want to see that you’re pushing it out too. Social media is an integral part to that process.

Kathleen: Twitter is so incredibly misunderstood. I find that with every client I’ve ever worked with… I was in the agency world for 13 years and almost everyone, including the heads of many agencies would say, “Twitter is a waste of time.  I don’t want to be on Twitter.” It always blew my mind because not only is that where all the reporters are, but it’s the only platform where you can directly reach out to anybody regardless of where you’re connected with them. So, the access on Twitter is unbelievable.

Kristen: If you want to get on the radar of journalists, they are on Twitter. The other thing you can do is create a favorite list and look up some reporters and then add them to a favorite list and start to favorite them for what they’re doing, or replying to them and get on their radar in that way. It’s a great way to use Twitter and strategically hashtag. If you really want to learn how to use PR, go on Twitter and type in #PRfail.

They will actually blast different publicists or do-it-yourself PR practitioners, and you can learn from that. It’s just amazing. They’ll post bad pictures on there. I think there used to be a blog called Bad Pitch Blog. I don’t know if it’s still around, but you learn how to do PR the right way by looking at it the wrong way.

Kathleen: Yeah. See I still say yeah. Even though I try to get myself not to. Now I’ve also heard that YouTube is valuable. Especially for getting picked up for television because that allows people to see your on-camera persona. Have you found that?

Kristen: I think that definitely makes sense more so in the entertainment field. It adds credibility and anytime you do a TV segment you should post it to your YouTube channel. Do I think that I would have gotten discovered from YouTube if I was just doing something on my own? I don’t necessarily think so, no. But entertainment, yes. If you’re a singer, sure! That’s just a whole other area of PR.

LinkedIn for PR: how do I promote my business on LinkedIn?

Kathleen: Interesting. You mentioned LinkedIn. How do you see LinkedIn playing into developing a PR strategy?

How to use LinkedIn for your PR campaign

Kristen Ruby: Publishing articles on LinkedIn is valuable to your PR strategy and using hashtags on LinkedIn can also be very helpful to getting your content found by a larger audience. LinkedIn is at this amazing point right now where they are really almost giving away views in organic traffic, more so than Facebook is at because they want to become more of a social network. So, there’s this massive opportunity, especially with video on LinkedIn right now, if you want people to find what you’re doing. From what we’ve learned with PR clients, video performs the best.

You could put the same video on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, and you’re going to see the organic view count is significantly higher on LinkedIn.

Kathleen: Absolutely. I have been testing out LinkedIn video now for several months, and I did a LinkedIn video recently about it because I looked back at all of my posts and the posts that had video in them, almost in every single case got 10x the number of comments and views as a post without video. It was so starkly obvious what a difference it made. I completely agree with you on that.

Kristen Ruby: They want to incentivize users to be doing more videos. So that’s why you can see it. If you look at the analytics, you’ll see that that’s what they’re trying to do.

Kathleen: And it won’t last forever, I’m sure but right now it’s a great opportunity. I want to talk about results. Obviously, you can’t divulge client names, but can you just, in an anonymized sense, give me a sense of what kind of results companies that you’ve worked with have seen from PR?

Kristen Ruby: Sure. For example, one client that we worked with has received over 35,000 visitors in organic search traffic alone over the past year. Again, we’re not doing any paid marketing or any paid advertising. That’s just because of content marketing and PR. That’s all inbound PR referral traffic. Another company is actually ranking in search engine results on page one for specific questions in the snippets, which everyone is trying to rank for right now. This is from content that we created for them years ago that’s ranking in the Snippets now.

That content hasn’t even been historically optimized yet, and it’s still ranking. Why? Because we answered questions. That has to do with our approach that we started on Facebook where we grew that audience from zero to over five thousand engaged fans and used their business fan page as a community and group page. Because of that and because we took the time to answer their questions with an ‘ask the expert’ format, that skyrocketed their search engine results.

That’s something people should be doing. Answering questions is so underrated. People spend so much time on SEO but don’t actually answer questions. If you want to appear in snippets you have to do that. I would also say podcasting has been, for that client, a big part of their PR growth strategy, in terms of being a frequent podcast guest on relevant health shows.

They’ve probably recorded over 900 minutes of time on podcasts and I can see the analytics and conversion rates. I see people’s comments when they say, “I heard you on this podcast. I’m interested in coming to you now.” I see on their social media page where they say, “I read about you in this article.” Well, I know what those articles were because I placed them. So that’s PR. Or, “I read about you. Are you taking on new clients or new patients?”

I can track it from the PR hit to them then going to the social media pages to saying, “Are you taking on new patients?” Or direct messaging that, and then to a new lead going through the contact form, and becoming a patient or a client. So, I would say, again, that’s not any sort of… that’s happened across the board for several clients as a result of our PR work.

Kathleen: It is interesting how it snowballs too, right? You get your name out there and that is almost a self-fulfilling prophecy because you’re building that Domain Authority, which helps you get found more. As you said, the content that you create that lives in the snippets can live forever.

PR IS AN INVESTMENT 

How do you quantify the ROI of PR?

Kathleen: So, it is sort of an investment as opposed to, you think about paid advertising and it’s like a drug. You can’t ever stop. But this is more like an investment.

Kristen Ruby:  Media snowballs into other media. That’s what people have to understand, and I think people that have a short-term approach to PR, then they shouldn’t hire a PR firm. If you’re going to hire a PR firm and you’re thinking, “You know what, I need you to do X, Y, Z by this date, and I need it now to do X.” It’s just not going to happen, and even if it doesn’t happen, it’s the wrong approach because you’re not building a community.

You’re not building anything that has intrinsic value to others. So, you just getting hits is good for you, but how is that good for others. So the clients that I’ve had great success with are… The one thing that they all have in common is they are other-centric, they’re not me-centric. So when you’re other-centric it allows us to do the best job we can for them because they’re building out something larger than themselves and all of it is around education. I always say, “Ego-driven PR is not a sustainable PR strategy.”

It’s important for people to understand that. The PR strategies that we deploy are education-focused, and I think clients get the best results, and again, even if it’s education-focused, that sounds very similar to inbound marketing.

Kathleen: I was just going to say, that’s basically the premise of inbound marketing. It’s a give before you get kind of mentality.

Kristen Ruby: Exactly. What’s so funny is that these people that work with me and hire me, they just really wanted to get great educational content out there into the world and build up their brand. When they’re working with me they’re not necessarily saying, “I need more clients or patients or people in the door,” because they’ve achieved a certain level of success and they want to do other things. The most amazing thing that happens is all of this happens as a result of it. But it’s not because they were even trying to achieve that goal. It’s because they put their users and their audience first, in terms of just giving, and giving, and giving great advice and content.

Kathleen: Right, well that’s so interesting and thank you for explaining all of that. When it comes to inbound marketing, is there a particular company or individual that you think is really killing it and doing it well?

Kristen Ruby: It’s hard for me to say that any one person is doing inbound marketing well because the way I look at this is I look at different attributes of how someone is doing something well. So, I can’t necessarily point to one person.

I can give you all the answers that I think everyone else points to all the time. I could say Gary V, and Gary’s great, right? Of course, Gary Vaynerchuk is doing it. I’m sure every single guest in your show says that, so I want to give you a more unique answer.

Doctors that are taking the time to answer patient’s questions are doing it well. Again, I don’t want to name any specific ones, but I think that in general if you take the approach where you look at the most frequently asked questions that you’re asked all the time and you write them down, and you write content around it, I think it helps you and it helps your patients and it helps your clients.  Anyone that’s doing that gets a gold star in my book.

Kathleen: I’ve always really admired Mayo Clinic for that. They are like the Wikipedia of medicine. It almost doesn’t matter what you Google, they pop up with an educational article on that thing. Causes, symptoms, treatments, etc. Though we cannot name specific doctors, I would say the Mayo Clinic, in general, is an institution has really done a great job and committed heavily to inbound marketing.

Kristen Ruby: I think if people wanted… just a tip for inbound PR is to use the notepad in your phone, and when people ask you questions or if a prospect emails you a question, save that question. That can be a foundation of your content marketing strategy. People spend so much time trying to figure out, what do I write about? Well, just write about what you’re already answering!

Kathleen: Yes. It’s staring all of us in the face, right?

Kristen: Exactly. Also, when you write that, write about how people are… The language that they are using to type into Google when they ask you those questions. But I think something that most people are not doing today is that they’re just missing the boat on optimizing their content for questions. I think that’s something that… The term is called historical optimization, which I think is critical of any PR SEO campaign right now where everyone has to do it.

Refresh older content that you’ve written with historical optimization and use PR to amplify the content. So, if you’ve written a great blog post and maybe you’ve done a podcast, you should include that podcast link into whatever relevant content that you’ve already written around that. So, you’re constantly just adding value to your audience.

Kathleen: Yes. It’s so funny because I 100% agree with everything you just said, and it’s so interesting to me that somebody from the PR world who so intuitively gets what it is to do inbound marketing correctly because that’s really what it is all about.

Kristen Ruby:  I don’t understand how people can practice PR today and not have an understanding of inbound marketing because if you don’t, you’re not helping your clients at maximum capacity. Those clients are setting their money on fire. You cannot be doing all of these marketing/ PR activities and have SEO in a different area and content marketing and inbound marketing in a different area. It doesn’t work. It doesn’t help your business if everything is disjointed.

So, when you’re interviewing a PR firm, you need to make sure that they understand this because what I see is, you could hire a firm and they could get you all these hits, but if you do nothing with the hits then it’s a waste. It’s not just about getting press coverage. It’s about what you do with the press coverage afterward that truly matters.

If you record a podcast and no one hears the podcast, was there any point in doing the podcast? No, there was not. You have to market the press coverage that you get.

Kathleen: Yes. Totally agree. Second question because you are a PR person who clearly understands marketing. The world of digital marketing is changing so quickly. You talked about Google updating its quality rater guidelines. How do you personally stay up to date and current on all of these things?

Kristen Ruby:  I read a lot of different search engine marketing blogs. One is Search Engine Land. I get so many of these different newsletters.

I go to Google News and I look for the terms. I will click Google, I will click news, and then I’ll put in SEO or I’ll put in Google or I’ll put in rankings. I mean, that’s my own approach because I want to see things that are happening by the hour and not everyone is necessarily searching that way. For me, I think it’s important.

The reason I developed that habit is from doing news segments as a national television commentator on social media and tech trends. I could literally be booked to talk about something and then two hours later that story has changed.

It’s one thing to sign up for newsletters, but it’s another when you’re in a breaking news environment and the story has changed.

Kathleen: That’s a really good point for anybody who’s preparing to be interviewed to just do a quick Google news search right before your interview to make sure that nothing has changed.

Kristen Ruby: Yes. Because a lot of the time everything changes. And then you could be watching a teaser and they go, “Coming up, so and so is talking about this.” And you don’t want to be caught off guard by saying, “Who is so and so”?” and they go, “That’s you, and you’re live in two seconds.”  You want to avoid that from happening, which again, goes back to the importance of media training and being prepared. I’d also say don’t check your email right before you go on air because that can really throw you off your game. A very important media training tip!

Kathleen: That’s a great piece of advice. Well, so many good nuggets here Kristen. I really appreciate you sharing this with all of us.

public relations strategy

 



10 Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Chance Of Media Coverage

PR pitching mistakes

How to Get Media Coverage For Your Business

As a seasoned Public Relations specialist for over a decade, I have seen Executives sabotage themselves when they try to pitch the media. They routinely make the same mistakes that hurt their media relations efforts and can kill a story from ever seeing the light of day. But luckily for you, you can learn from their mistakes and from my industry insider PR knowledge to get more traction for your PR campaign.

Why is media coverage important?

Anyone can buy media coverage, but not anyone can earn media coverage. Media coverage is important because it builds trust with third party media outlet names that your consumers, clients, and patients know and trust.  Consumers know the difference between paid media and earned media. They can tell when you have purchased ad space vs. when a media outlet organically mentions you as a trusted expert. When you do a quick Google search, are you more likely to trust the paid ads or the organic brand mentions? Media coverage will propel your business and medical practice forward. Earned media is infinitely more effective than paid media in building trust with key constituencies.

Securing press coverage for your business is a continual process.  Pitching the media can take months before a journalist is interested in picking up your story or writing about your business.

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

But that is only half of the equation!

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

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

In this article, you will learn:

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

If you want to get media coverage for your business, you must take the time to create the foundations of your brand prior to pitching the media. The truth is, if you pitch the media without having these assets, you are just wasting your time. Even if a reporter loves your story, if you don’t have high-resolution photos or video clips of you previously on air, your pitching success will never make it beyond 50%. This article is about taking you to the PR finish line. You learn how to do PR the right way by understanding how to do it the wrong way. If you are serious about generating media coverage for your business or medical practice, avoid these PR mistakes and invest in the proper resources to propel your brand forward.

10 PR & Media Pitching Mistakes 

Avoid these PR mistakes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How do I get the media’s attention?

Start by following this list!

Media Pitching 101 Checklist:

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

How do you approach a journalist?

Give journalists what they want, how they want it, when they want it and in the preferred format they want it in.

How to get major media coverage for your business 

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

Need help avoiding these media mistakes? Our full-service media relations agency can assist you.

Ruby Media Group can:

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

 

NY Media Relations Agency 

Get more media attention with the publicity you need and deserve. Ruby Media Group is a leading New York based Media Relations Agency. Contact us today for a free consultation to learn more about our media and public relations services including media training, crisis communications consulting, creating a media coverage plan for your business or medical practice and monthly PR services.

Media Interview Preparation Resources

Media Interview Checklist

Media Training Guide

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kris Ruby has over 12 years of experience pitching the media. As a seasoned public relations specialist, Kris Ruby has secured thousands of media impressions and press placements for clients in national publications. Ruby Media Group is an award-winning NY Public Relations Firm and NYC Social Media Marketing Agency.  The New York PR Firm specializes in healthcare marketing, healthcare PR and medical practice marketing.  Ruby Media Group helps companies increase their exposure through leveraging social media and digital PR. RMG conducts a thorough deep dive into an organization’s brand identity, and then creates a digital footprint and comprehensive strategy to execute against. Specialties include content creation, strategic planning, social media management, and digital public relations. RMG helps clients shine in the digital space by extracting their strengths, developing story ideas, and crafting compelling news angles to ensure journalists go to their clients first as story sources and thought leaders. Ruby Media Group creates strategic, creative, measurable targeted campaigns to achieve your organization’s strategic business growth objectives.



Kris Ruby in NY Post Discussing Instagram Meme Purge

NYC Social Media Strategist Kris Ruby, President of Ruby Media Group, was recently quoted in a NY Post article on the Instagram meme purge. Click here to read the full article “Instagram’s purge of accounts cost this teen $4,000 per month.”

Instagram Meme Purge

During the recent meme purge, many of the Instagram meme accounts were suspended without warning. This move left many Instagrammers wondering what policy they violated. Users had no idea why they were suspended. Why does this matter? For two reasons:

1) Vague content policies leave users wondering where they went wrong and what TOS they violated.

2) It is becoming increasingly challenging for content creators to build a business where their sole revenue comes in from third-party social media platforms.

The recent Instagram meme purge is a great example of why. You are essentially dependent on a third-party platform to host all of your business content. If that third-party decides to remove you from the platform (for whatever reason they deem fit) your business is essentially demolished overnight and you lose that income stream.

Social media platforms are rented virtual property. You must diversify your assets – just as you would in real estate. The same applies to social media.

Do not put all of your social media marketing eggs in one basket. You can not trust that these platforms have your best interest in mind.

Focus on creating owned media and always back up your content.

This article originally appeared in MarketWatch.

 


NYC Social Media Strategist Kris Ruby on Fox News Discussing New Inclusive Language Guide

Social Media Strategist Kris Ruby of Ruby Media Group was recently on Fox News “Fox & Friends” Discussing Colorado State University’s new all inclusive language guide. To watch the full segment, click here. 

 

Should Marketers Adopt Gender-Neutral pronouns?

The Rise of Gender-Neutral Marketing Pronouns 

As marketers and copywriters, we take for granted using basic pronouns.

Of all of the copy changes we make on any given social media post, blog or ad, pronouns are typically not the first thing we think of.

All of that will soon change.

Think about every famous ad that includes pronouns that are now considered offensive. Take Maybelline for example. “Maybe she’s born with it. Maybe it’s Maybelline.”

In today’s political climate where PC language reigns supreme for brands, this ad would be considered offensive.

How would you rewrite that ad in a way that is no longer offensive?

And if you do rewrite it, does it still carry the same appeal?

The war on language will be the biggest thing to disrupt marketing.

The pronouns we take for granted will soon become obsolete in a world that is banning words and rewriting the language.

What do you think, marketers? Is this something you have been thinking proactively about with new ad copy?

Is this a good thing or a bad thing for marketing?


NY Social Media Strategist Kris Ruby Discusses FaceApp Privacy Concerns

Ruby Media Group CEO Kris Ruby was recently on i24News discussing the privacy concerns surrounding FaceApp. Click here to watch the full segment. Should you be concerned about FaceApp? Will your data be compromised?

If you are so worried about the Russians access to your data, why are you not worried about access to your data that big tech companies hold here in the US? The hypocrisy in all of this is the real issue.

Everyone is so focused on this “FaceApp” they forget that the big tech companies here have massive access to your data.. and who really knows what they do with it.. Kris Ruby’s take on FaceApp below and why this is only the tip of the iceberg in the larger privacy debate with big tech.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sucyDt5Zkm0
FaceApp Privacy Concerns