Tagged: pr

B2B Marketing Podcast: How to Develop a PR Plan

b2b marketing podcast Kris Ruby

 

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

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

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

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

Listen to the podcast to learn:

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

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

Listen to the full episode here:

B2B MARKETING STRATEGIES

What is B2B PR?

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

B2B PR is ideal for:

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

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

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

BEST PRACTICES IN B2B PUBLIC RELATIONS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MODERN PR: THE FUTURE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS

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

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

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

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

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

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

personal branding pr quote

 

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

What are our high-level public relations goals?

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

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

Examples of B2B PR goals include:

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

PR FOR STARTUPS: WHY DO STARTUPS NEED PR?

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

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

PR PITCHING: HOW DO YOU PITCH THE MEDIA?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can also look at:

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

Some measurement questions to consider:

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

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

MAXIMIZING PRESS COVERAGE: HOW TO AMPLIFY & LEVERAGE EARNED MEDIA  

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

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

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

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

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

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

BRAND POSITIONING & PR

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PR CLIENT ONBOARDING: WHY THE DISCOVERY PROCESS IS CRITICAL

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

b2b marketing pr plan kris ruby podcast

HARO: WHAT IS HARO? HOW TO GENERATE FREE PUBLICITY 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PERSONAL BRANDING VS. PUBLIC RELATIONS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vinay Koshy: So play to your strengths.

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

B2B MARKETING SUCCESS

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

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

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

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR/ B2B PR PODCAST GUEST

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

ABOUT THE PREDICTABLE B2B SUCCESS PODCAST

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

 

B2B PR AGENCY SERVICES

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

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

 

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


Women in PR “Publicist Of The Week”

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

PUBLICIST CAREER ADVICE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

WOMEN IN PR RESOURCES

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

PR girl boss Monday

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


Corporate Social Responsibility, PR and the Rise of CEO Activism

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

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

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

CEO Activism: Brands and Political Activism

Is taking a political stand a mistake for brands?

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

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

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

The social media microphone of corporate executives

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CEO Activism: the pros and cons  

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

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

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

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

CEO Activism and workforce politics

Everyone has a right to free speech, even CEOs.

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

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

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

But what happens to the other side?

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

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

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

Let’s dissect this for a minute.

This statement is inherently flawed for a number of reasons.

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

Should brands take a political stand?

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

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

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

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

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

Should consumers rely on brands and corporations for political activism?

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

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

BONUS:

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

CEO Activism podcast kris ruby

Brand Activism Resources

Most consumers want CEOs to take a political stance

What CEOs Should Know About Speaking Up on Political Issues

The right and wrong way to do CEO activism

Should CEOs be activists?

When should CEOs take a political stand?

The cost of CEO activism

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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

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 article was last updated on January 15 2020. 


5 Misconceptions About Publicists & Public Relations

What does a PR firm do?

A publicist is responsible for generating exposure for your company and brand. Publicists help define your corporate public “persona” by crafting story angles, pitching stories to the media, coordinating interviews with journalists, writing fact sheets and electronic press kits, keeping updated media lists and monitoring your public image. Additionally, publicists help to craft that image and pitch strategic messages and storylines on behalf of you and your company to the media.

However, there are many misconceptions about what publicists do and how they do it.  Plus, there are misconceptions floating around about why you should hire a PR firm in the first place. My favorite one is, “You only need to hire a PR firm during a crisis.” That couldn’t be further from the truth!

PUBLIC RELATIONS MISCONCEPTIONS

Here are the top 5 misconceptions you need to understand about PR professionals:

PR MISCONCEPTION  # 1

Publicists have a….

MAGIC ROLODEX.  Clients believe that their publicists have a magic rolodex that they scroll through. While the traditional rolodex has been replaced with email lists and texting, the theory still remains the same. Publicists cannot email, call or text an editor and automatically get a story placed. That isn’t how real PR or journalism work. The publicist may have a very close relationship with a journalist, but if the story has no legs, there is breaking news, or the journalist simply doesn’t like the story idea, it’s not getting placed, and it doesn’t matter if you hired a Park Avenue PR firm or if you pitched the story on your own. The newsworthiness value of the story is all that matters. Breaking news dictates the storylines, and publicists pitch stories that tie into the news cycle. It is not the other way around. The media dictates what is covered- publicists do not.

PR MISCONCEPTION # 2

Publicists live a….

‘SEX & THE CITY’ LIFESTYLE. Another misconception is that publicists go out every night to events and are surrounded by glitterati and a Sex and the City lifestyle. As a publicist, I spend the majority of time in front of my computer writing, editing, pitching and communicating with clients and the media. Every time I am at a networking event, I could be missing an important email from a journalist who may be requesting an interview with my client or needs answers to their questions within the hour. This public perception of publicists going to glamorous events every night is outdated and unrealistic. Perhaps it is true in entertainment PR where red carpet events still reign supreme. But corporate and healthcare PR? Not so much.

PR MISCONCEPTION #3

Publicists… 

CONTROL THE STORY.  After you are interviewed by a journalist from a print outlet, the interview is done. Sometimes the media will have follow up questions and you can go back and forth several times. However, you cannot take back what you said, so be sure to think carefully before you shoot off a quick email or provide a sound bite.  As a general media relations rule of thumb to live by, when in doubt, keep it out!  Publicists can’t take your quotes off the record.   If you say something to a reporter that should have been off the record (or not said at all), we can’t fix it unless we are close with a reporter and even then there’s no guarantee. If you don’t want something in print — don’t say it. This is why media training is so important. Additionally, please don’t ask your publicist to ask the reporter to see a copy of your quote before it runs. This is not standard practice and the answer is most likely a resounding no. Earned media is not the same as paid media. You have to earn it for a reason.  When you pay for media, you control the narrative. When you earn media, you do not control the narrative, and neither does your publicist. They can certainly pitch an angle, but after you speak to a reporter, it is up to the journalists discretion on what the story is. Remember, it is their story, not yours! You are a source that adds subject matter expertise to something they are reporting on.

PR MISCONCEPTION #4

Publicists can…

FIX  REPORTING ERRORS. Occasionally, articles are published with a source’s name spelled wrong or some other minor error. You may think, “If my publicist was any good, they could get the reporter to fix the spelling of my name!” That’s not always the case. Sometimes yes, sometimes no.  If the print edition has already gone to press, nothing can be done except for a correction that will run in a future issue. Any time I have asked a reporter to fix the spelling of a client’s name in a digital article, the request ends up annoying the reporter. In the old days of journalism, everything was fact-checked several times before it was published. Today that is unfortunately no longer the case with the rapid pace of digital journalism and the increased demand for content. So yes, while some publicists may be able to get the spelling of your name corrected, it is not guaranteed. It depends on the outlet and their editorial policy with corrections, not on your publicist’s ability.

PR MISCONCEPTION #5

Publicists can…

CONTROL GOOGLE SEARCH RESULTS. People often ask if we can change Google search results for their company or personal brand. Perhaps one bad story or review tanked their corporate reputation, and they now want a publicist to fix it. A public relations program that incorporates organic earned media coverage does have the ability to alter search results. However, this is a long-term effort, and it is never guaranteed because it depends on so many outside factors including the domain authority of the sites that new coverage is secured on, and most importantly, the domain authority of the sites that the bad press is written on. Often, if those sites are ranked high, it becomes very difficult to lower the results, regardless of how many earned media placements you secure. Additionally, a digital advertising campaign and paid media would have to complement the PR efforts as part of the long term reputation management campaign to alter search results. Publicists can make a valiant effort at getting more positive coverage for you, but the one surefire way to change search results is through Google directly (or with the help of a good attorney that specializes in defamation).

Why is the practice of Public Relations misunderstood by the public?

Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation put out there by PR firms trying to close new clients on the power of PR. Yes, PR *is* powerful and can do wonders for your brand, but you need to understand what is in a publicist’s control, and what is far out of their control. It does everyone a great disservice to make claims that cannot be supported. Some of these claims include PR firms who are promising to guarantee press coverage.

If a PR firm guarantees a set amount of press placements per month, run! That is not how real journalism or PR works!

So the real answer to this question is that the practice of PR is understood by the public because the media shows an overly glamorized portrayal of what we do and because publicists guarantee all sorts of things they shouldn’t and are not held to a standard of ethics that virtually every other field is held to.

Can you imagine going to a doctor that promised to cure cancer?

Or a lawyer that promised to win your case?

So why would you ever believe a PR firm who promised to get you a set amount of placements or bookings per month?

You pay a publicist for their time, strategic insights and work deployed on your behalf.

Results are an outcome of that time, but PR firms cannot guarantee those results simply because the stories they pitch are in the hands of editors/ producers. The only person can control results when it comes to PR output is the media, NOT a PR firm! If you understand this, your expectations will be more realistic and you will be happier with the results of your campaign.

PUBLIC RELATIONS MYTHS

Myth #1: PR is no longer relevant to my business because traditional media is dead.

Fact: Traditional media is still relevant, and digital PR is a burgeoning area that not only helps your business and credibility, but is also a critical ranking factor for Google’s EAT quality guidelines for building authority.

Myth #2: PR firms are too expensive. We can do it ourselves.

Fact: You know what is even more expensive? Trying to do PR yourself and getting sued. Plus, your time is limited. Why waste it pitching yourself when a PR pro could do it for you?

Myth #3: My last PR firm was terrible so all PR is worthless. 

Fact: Maybe your last PR firm actually was terrible. But does that mean every other PR firm in perpetuity will also be terrible? No. Stop judging an entire industry because you had a bad experience.

Myth #4: We don’t have a good PR story to tell, so our results will be terrible if we hire a PR firm.

Fact: Leave that up to the magicians to determine to see if you have a good story to tell before you take yourself out of the race entirely. Your story may be better than you think if someone could properly package, pitch and promote it for you! Hint, that is what we specialize in!

Myth #5: PR will drive thousands of sales, clicks and leads overnight. PR will make me rich overnight!

Fact: PR is better for brand awareness.  In certain circumstances, direct marketing may be better for driving new leads than PR is. Yes, I said that as a PR firm agency owner. Why? Because I want you to be an informed consumer before purchasing PR services. Also, PR will not make you rich overnight.

Myth #6: The media will accommodate my schedule. I am giving them great content. They are lucky to talk to me!

Fact: The media doesn’t work around your schedule. You will always have to move your schedule around to accommodate the press, not the other way around. The media has 100 other people who are all dying to talk to them and would love the digital ink space you are trying to get.

Myth #7: I should be paid for my time to speak with the media if I give them a quote for a story or appear in a segment.

Fact: Some people believe that they should be paid for their time to speak with the media. This is not how the media works!  Any time money is exchanged, that is called paid advertising, not public relations. No one is going to pay you to answer questions or speak with reporters unless it is part of a larger agreement with a network and there is an agreement in writing.

press worthy AF

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PR Key Takeaways:

PR is ideal for keeping your brand top of mind with peers and prospective clients. However, if a business relies solely on PR and media relations to generate sales, they are setting themselves up for failure.

PR is not about hiring a firm and handing them a pile of cash to push a narrative you want told to the media. It is about hiring a practitioner who you trust to tell the narrative that they believe will get the best traction in the media.

The Truth About Public Relations

20 things I want you to know about how public relations really works.

I have secured hundreds of thousands of media impressions for clients in local media, national media, broadcast media and trade publications. After 12 years in the PR industry and hundreds of emails with reporters, and handling PR for clients in a number of different verticals, here is what I want you to know.

  1. Publicists act as the buffer between the media and clients. This is for good reason.
  2. We know how to deal with reporters. You don’t.
  3. Yes, we got a client on Rock Center with Ann Curry once. Just because that happened, doesn’t mean we can get you the exact same thing. Ann Curry no longer even works at NBC. Comparing press coverage between clients is comparing apples to oranges. No two press placements are the same.
  4. Stop demanding the press coverage you think you deserve. The media and market dictate what coverage you deserve. You don’t. And your PR firm doesn’t either. We can get your story to the media, but we don’t control what the media finds interesting or newsworthy.
  5. If you genuinely want to get more media coverage, that starts with you. Most PR firms will kill me for saying this, but the onus is on you to be more interesting. Are you publishing research studies with data the media would want to use? Do you have a robust content marketing program? Are you putting out rich content the media would want to use? Instead of asking your PR firm, “Why is the media not covering me?” Ask yourself, “How can I be more interesting to the media by being a more interesting human being and doing more in my field?”
  6. Have confidence in the firm you hired. If you don’t trust them to do the job, don’t work with them.
  7. Tell your PR firm what you want. Adequately set expectations from the get-go instead of being disappointed you didn’t get what you want. No one knows what you want unless you vocalize it at the start of the engagement, not at the end, after you fire your PR firm!
  8. Start local and build to national. Not the other way around.
  9. Provide access to your top executives. What is the point of hiring a PR firm if everything you say “that is off the record,” or if your CEO refuses to speak to reporters? Don’t ask to be on INC. 5000 but then not publicly disclose your earnings report. We must have access to key leadership to do our jobs properly. That includes you giving us all pertinent details, not only the glowing details that make you look good, or that you want to share. If you want to be in the media, you lose the choice of what gets disclosed.
  10. Your marketing timeline has nothing to do with your PR timeline. Stop trying to make it happen. Reporters work on their own time table. Not on your CMO’s timeline around your product launch.
  11. Stop with your pretend deadlines. Just because you want the story to run before you leave for Mar-A-Lago, doesn’t mean it actually will!
  12. Do not ask us when the story is coming out.
  13. Public relations takes time. If you want results in 30 days, consider paid advertising or direct marketing instead.

Publicist of the week Kris RubyLooking for a publicist who understands how the industry really works? Skip the line or trial and error by working with a publicist who has 12+ years of securing earned media impressions and major PR wins for clients. Plus, Ruby Media Group’s CEO was recently named “Publicist of The Week” by Women in PR. We know how to place major media impressions that convert to real results for your business. Contact us to today to turn your PR dreams into reality. 

 

 

 

PR FIRM MISCONCEPTION RESOURCES

How to spot a Fake PR Firm (VIDEO)



How To Pitch The Media Taught by Kris Ruby

Ruby Media Group Founder Kris Ruby recently taught the CSU Long Beach Department of Public Relations & Journalism students Media Relations Fundamentals. During the interactive Facebook Live teaching, students learned how to create a newsworthy pitch, how to secure press coverage and how to break into the Public Relations industry. Click here to watch the full media relations training. 


10 Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Chance Of Media Coverage

PR pitching mistakes

How to Get Media Coverage For Your Business

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.

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

10 PR & Media Pitching Mistakes 

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 which hurt their media relations efforts and can kill a story. But luckily for you, you can learn from their mistakes and from my industry knowledge to get more traction for your PR campaign.

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 photo shoot.

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.

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 organizations brand identity, and then creates a digital footprint and comprehensive strategy to execute against. Specialties include content creation, strategic planning, social media management, and digital public relations. RMG helps clients shine in the digital space by extracting their strengths, developing story ideas, and crafting compelling news angles to ensure journalists go to their clients first as story sources and thought leaders. Ruby Media Group creates strategic, creative, measurable targeted campaigns to achieve your organizations strategic business growth objectives.


10 Workplace Etiquette Mistakes You’re Making on Social Media

Social Media Work Place Etiquette

Social Media Workplace Etiquette Tips

You walked into work this morning and headed to your cubicle as usual, but you couldn’t shake the feeling that something was wrong. When you went to get your coffee in the break room, several of your co-workers looked at you and whispered. When you passed your boss in the hall, she made an excuse not to talk to you. You can’t help but wonder: Was it that political post you made on Facebook last night? Was it your weekend party photo on Instagram? Was it that late night drunken tweet?

Most importantly, is it going to cost you your job?

Workplace etiquette has always been a nebulous, confusing social territory even before the days of social media. Professional boundaries and personal boundaries of behavior are very different. Social media further blurs the line between the two, making it harder than ever to know the appropriate social cues and responses.

If you worry that you’re making gaffes with social media that could cost you your job, you could be right.

Here are 10 workplace etiquette social media blunders to avoid:

1. Posting photos during business hours

There is nothing wrong with posting endless photos of your baby or your dog in private, but steer clear of posting all of this during business hours. After you have posted the 500th photo of your baby, your employer may begin to question what your top priority is. Of course, not every post should be about work; balance is essential.

2. Friending co-workers you don’t know

If you know your colleagues well and you chat a lot at the office, it might make sense to add them on social media. But if you don’t have a close relationship with a colleague, adding them on Facebook or Snapchat might just be awkward. After all, you avoid talking in the break room, so why would you want to connect online?

The basic rule is this: online boundaries should be a reflection of offline boundaries. If you try to cross one of those lines on the web, it could potentially lead to an uncomfortable situation.

3. Not understanding how each social media network works

LinkedIn is the best social media platform for connecting with colleagues and staying in touch. However, it should not be used the same way Facebook or Twitter is used. Your LinkedIn connections want to see work anniversaries, business blogs and press mentions. They don’t want to see party photos or personal content. If you’re going to be on the social media sites, follow the rules for what is socially (and professionally) acceptable to post on each one.

4. Being overly personal on social media

This is perhaps the biggest workplace blunder I hear people complain about behind co-workers backs. The people who work with you do not want to hear an endless saga from you about your failed marriage or your financial woes. It makes them see you in a different light. Eventually, they will unfollow you on Facebook because it’s nicer than unfriending you altogether. Therapists are for venting, not Facebook.

5. Not being discreet about your Facebook groups

Joining groups on Facebook is one of the primary reasons people like to use it. However, most people don’t realize that your groups can often be visible to your Facebook friends. If you don’t want your co-workers to see that you’re part of the Overeaters Anonymous Facebook group, you may want to consider joining other groups. Even if you’re able to successfully hide your groups, when someone goes to join a group, it will still tell them which of their friends are in that group. Additionally, anyone in the group can screenshot your private posts in the group, which can leak out beyond social media.

6. Mis-using live stories

This pertains to Facebook Live, Snapchat, and Instagram Live. All are these are great if you want to embrace live sharing. However, if you start watching a previous co-workers Instagram Live story, remember that they can see who is watching them. At some point, it begins to look stalker-ish if you watch peoples stories that you had a bad relationship with. The same is true for any of the live sharing social media sites. When you look at an Instagram photo, no one can tell unless you like it. When you look at an Instagram story, the poster knows who is watching.

7. Breaking dinner table rules

Just like your mother said, you should never discuss politics, sex, or religion at the dinner table. These rules apply to the office, and, if your boss or co-workers can see your posts, that means they also apply on social media. We don’t always think about what we are doing when we comment on someone else’s political post online. But if those posts are in public, you could end up regretting it the next day when someone screenshots it and uses it against you. In today’s divisive political climate, the wrong political remark could cost you your job.

8. Not filtering your posts 

On Facebook, you can filter your posts, and on Google Plus, you can add people to different Circles. These systems allow you to only share content with certain people in your life. Filters allow you to share things with family or friends that you aren’t comfortable sharing with your co-workers. If you aren’t using filters, groups, and circles, you are publicly posting everything.

9. Sharing without reading

How often do you re-share a video or an article without actually watching or reading the entire thing? Our online profiles are curated reflections of our personalities. But while we are busy skimming content and re-sharing what we think reflects our views, we can sometimes miss key details. For example, you might share an article because you like the headline—but later you find out the headline is misleading and the content does not represent your feelings at all. Always read or watch content in full before you share it so that you are clear on what you are endorsing.

10. Not checking up on what your friends and family are posting

Finally, you aren’t the only one who can destroy your professional reputation; friends and family can too if they are indiscreet with their tagging. Adjust your settings so that people need to ask your permission before they tag you. Your boss may have very different political views than your mom does, so keep them separate to be safe.

Social media should tell a story about you that you would be comfortable sharing with your boss. Regularly post updates that help to cultivate a story of professional dedication and success, and avoid sharing content that tells a story you don’t want bosses, co-workers or headhunters to hear.

Kris Ruby is the CEO of Ruby Media Group, a Public Relations and Social Media Agency. Kris Ruby is a frequent on air TV contributor and speaks on social media, tech trends and crisis communications. For more information, visit rubymediagroup.com or www.krisruby.com

Follow Kris Ruby on Twitter @rubymediagroup and @sparklingruby

 


Top 10 Signs You Shouldn’t Hire a Publicist

PR requires patience, dedication, and practice

 

There are a ton of articles floating around about why you should hire a PR firm. I wrote an article on the top reasons why you should hire a public relations firm last year. But what I didn’t delve into is all of the reasons why not to hire a PR firm. Having run a healthcare PR firm for almost a decade now, I can quickly assess who is going to be a good client fit. If I sense certain red flags, nine times out of 10, I will walk away from the business prior to the start of a new client relationship.

Here’s why: PR is not for everyone. PR is expensive, time consuming, and it requires a lot of work from the client as well as the agency.  Additionally, there are many misconceptions about public relations which can hurt your campaign efforts from getting off the ground. Not only is it important to understand what a PR firm can do for your business, it is also important to evaluate if you have the necessary time to truly work with an agency.

If you fit any of the criteria  below, I recommend not hiring a publicist.

You want instant, overnight results. If you are someone who likes instant gratification, you will be unhappy with any publicist you hire, unless their rolodex is made of gold. As a PR practitioner, I rarely meet other publicists who pick up the phone, dial an editor at Vogue, and instantly get their clients written about. That kind of myth is a remnant that still exists from the old days of PR. Publicity takes work. No matter how strong the publicist’s relationship with an outlet is, if the story isn’t strong enough, then the reporter isn’t going to cover it.

You don’t want to do any work. This is the biggest issue that I encounter in the PR industry today. People hire a publicist the way they hire an accountant. They think that they can hire a vendor, speak to them a few times a year, and that publicity will magically happen. In reality, PR requires daily engagement from the client side. The clients who are happiest with PR results put the most amount of time into driving the client-agency relationship. They read the news, send stories to their publicists to pitch, and write back to their publicists with thoughtful responses to HARO queries. In short, they put in the time. PR is like a sport. It requires patience, dedication, and practice.

You don’t have the time to provide the necessary thought leadership content. As an industry, PR has shifted. Most clients don’t want traditional press placements anymore; they want digital placements. To achieve digital PR results, a substantial amount of time is required from the client side to provide thought leadership tips for content creation. For example, if you are a neurosurgeon and you hire a publicist, it is not their job to ghostwrite tips for you. They simply can’t because they don’t have your knowledge base. Unless you’re looking for low quality work from a content farm, you need to send your public relations specialist what they are asking for. They can’t promote your greatness without the core knowledge that only you possess.

You expect PR to translate into sales. Your publicist is not your Director of Sales. This is the number one reason most agencies get fired: clients are unhappy that the press placements didn’t generate a massive uptick in sales. The role of a publicist is to formulate stories that get the media’s attention and result in a media placement. If a publicist is getting you consistent national media placements, then they are doing what you hired them to do. The problem is when clients start complaining, “I know you got me a three-page spread in glossy magazine, but it didn’t translate into new business.” That is the equivalent of saying to your dentist, “I know you filled my cavity, but you didn’t fix the pain in my jaw. The pain in your jaw should be seen by a doctor, not your dentist, and it’s not the dentist’s responsibility. The same goes for sales and PR.

You want to be “famous.” If you want to hire a publicist because you aspire to be famous, please don’t. Clients who hire publicists because they want to be famous are the worst clients. Saying you want to be famous is like saying you want to be President some day in the future. What qualifies you to be famous? What is interesting about you? What star worthy quality do you have that makes you press worthy? Ego driven PR is not a strategy; it’s a waste of everyone’s time and money. Fame is the end product of many years of work in a specific industry. The publicist’s job is to bring attention to what you makes you special, not to make you special. 

You have nothing newsworthy to promote. I get that you have a new business. So does everyone. What makes it different? Why should the media write about it? If you haven’t thought these answers through, you need to. Unless you are looking for a one hit wonder PR campaign, you will be unhappy. Granted, it’s the publicist’s job to come up with these press angles, but if you don’t have newsworthy content, the media won’t write about you. If you hire a PR firm and have convinced yourself how newsworthy your story truly is, please don’t blame a publicist if they can’t get it placed. Your Mom thinking something is great is not the same thing as a reporter at Forbes thinking something is great.

You think PR will solve inherent business issues. A lot of people hire publicists thinking it will fix a core issue in their business. PR can’t solve these issues. If anything, it can make them worse. For example, if you are a Fortune 500 company and have constant turnover, chances are greater something pertaining to this story will come out while working with a PR person. The reason being that if a publicist secures a story on your company, any journalist worth his or her salt will start digging around and notice certain discrepancies. It’s best to have everything buttoned up before hiring a New York PR firm.

You saw a competitor on TV and now you want to be on TV. Believe it or not, this is one of the most commonly listed reasons that prospects come to me for PR services. They see someone else doing it, and therefore, they think they should be doing it too. If you hire a publicist to get you on TV and they get you a media hit, you are expected to drop everything you have scheduled for the day, close up shop, and run down to Manhattan to do national TV appearance. If you say no, the chances of the opportunity coming around again are slim to none. Are you really prepared to close your business for the day just because you saw someone else on TV?

You aren’t good with long-term commitments. When you hire a New York PR firm, you have to be in it for the long haul. The average agency retention rate is incredibly low; at the typical agency, every six months clients seek new agency representation. Clients run from agency to agency, thinking the problem was with the publicist. The truth is that you will be happier with your results if you stick with one firm for long enough. Most publicists won’t work on engagements for less than 6 months. If they are pitching long lead editorials in print publications, some of the placements may not even come out until after your relationship ends. The first one to three months of any new public relations engagement requires a lot of upfront prep work and the next three months requires heavy pitching to journalists and producers. I rarely encounter a new client who is ready to go to media from day one. The best PR client I have has stayed with me for 9 years. They understand the business and are in it for the long haul.

You aren’t willing to drop everything for a press request. When a reporter does answer; they want to speak to a client immediately. If you work in an industry where this just isn’t an option, then PR may not be the best approach for you. There is no worse feeling than getting a client an interview and not being able to do it because they are unavailable or turned it down. In the PR industry, there is nothing more important than getting back to a reporter or producer ASAP. If you aren’t ready to drop everything to speak to the media, then PR may not be right for you.

Remember, the tough part of working with a PR firm is not only evaluating whether they can get you results. If you are working with a reputable PR agency, I’d like to imagine they can secure results for your business.

The more challenging question is: are you willing to do the work on your end after they get you the segments and interviews? Or are you going to turn down every interview request and try to have the media work around your schedule? Hint: that will never happen.

NY PR FIRM RESOURCES: ADDED BONUS!

1 HOUR PODCAST EPISODE ON HOW PUBLIC RELATIONS WORKS

As a result of this article, NY Public Relations Strategist Kris Ruby was invited to be a guest on “Focus is Your Friend: Double Down on Marketing that Matters.” Click the link below to listen to the full podcast interview.

Episode 37: How to Know When You Shouldn’t Hire a New York PR Firm, with Kristen Ruby

What you’ll learn from this episode:

  • Kristen’s article “Top 10 Signs You Shouldn’t Hire a Publicist”
  • Why a NY publicist cannot get you instant, overnight results
  • Why you shouldn’t hire a NY publicist if you don’t want to do any work
  • Why you need to dedicate the time to do the thinking required for thought-leadership Public Relations
  • The unrealistic expectations placed on outsourced NY PR firms that isn’t placed on in-house PR
  • Why you shouldn’t do a PR campaign because you want to be famous
  • Why a good NY publicist cannot accept money for a story they know won’t get placed
  • The purpose of Public Relations
  • What Public Relations is and why it is so important for your business
  • Why PR cannot solve inherent business issues
  • Why you have to be willing to drop everything when a journalist calls
  • The top 5 reasons to hire a NY PR firm
When to Hire a NY PR Firm

 

 


BU COM Alumni Kris Ruby Leads Personal Branding Workshop for Executives

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

Personal Branding For Doctors

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

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

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

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

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

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