Tagged: public relations

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 (and execution) is part of our contract deliverables. Don’t give it out unless you are retained. This includes giving away free ideas in RFP’s. Unfortunately, a lot of billable time is wasted with prospects that are shopping around and have no plan of actually changing agencies or ever retaining a PR firm.

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:

Is this the right fit for my company?

Can I secure great results for this client?

Does this person 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 on 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 good 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 die just to have someone with your 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 PR 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.

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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.

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)

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PR For Startups: The Power of Public Relations For Your Startup

Public Relations Expert Kris Ruby recently lead a special training for Propellant Labs: The Power of PR For Your Startup. In this interactive webinar, Ruby shared tips on how to earn media coverage for your startup.

Propellant Labs is a global launchpad for startups.  The online community of entrepreneurs and investors helps entrepreneurs build, launch and grow their ventures. Startups participate in remote demo days with Silicon Valley and Southern California investors. Ruby spoke to over 35 Founders of the incubator cohort on how to leverage media exposure to build your business.

ABOUT PR FOR STARTUPS: GUEST SPEAKER/ KRIS RUBY/ PUBLICITY STRATEGIST 

PR for Startups: Public Relations for Startups and Entrepreneurs

 

How Can Startups Get Press Coverage?

As a publicist, one of the most frequently asked questions I receive from entrepreneurs is, “How do I get PR for my startup?”

There are a few times when every business has something notable to share with media- starting your business is one of them!

One of the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make when launching a business is never actually utilizing PR when they first start their company.

Maybe they read an article that said not to use a PR firm or to try it on their own with DIY methods.

Most of the time, DIY PR efforts leave media opportunities on the table for entrepreneurs that could have been leveraged when they first launched.

I see it all the time.. people come to my agency years after starting a company and say, “We started a few years ago and we now want to do a launch.”

Unfortunately, we have to say that’s no longer newsworthy and you should have done a media launch when you first started your company.

You can’t turn back the clock.

PR For Startups-How to Get Press

Entrepreneurs– do not make the mistake of skipping out on press when you first start your business.

This is one of the few times you will get a pass from the media as having something truly newsworthy to talk about. Use it!

As an entrepreneur, your time is valuable. Why waste it pitching yourself when a PR pro could do it for you?

PR FOR STARTUPS RESOURCES

Webinar: PR For Startups: How to Earn Media Coverage for Your Startup.

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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. 

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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.

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PR Don’ts: 11 Ways to Annoy a Journalist

Publicity Strategist Kris Ruby

These common faux pas will ensure that you’ll get cut from their story

Congratulations! A reporter wants to include you in a story. Whether it’s because your site is optimized or you’re highly visible on social media, a journalist has found you and is interested in writing about your business. However, a journalist finding you is just the starting point. Every word you say to a reporter from the second they reach out to you until the story goes live matters.

Here are the 10 most common ways to annoy a journalist and risk getting cut from a story.

  1. Speaking in industry jargon. There is a reason people hire publicists: They know how to speak journalists’ language. Publicists know what journalists are looking for, when they are looking for it, and how they want to consume it. If a reporter reaches out to you, do not start speaking in industry jargon. A reporter wants the simplest version that their readers will understand. They want you to break down your story in a way that makes sense to consumers—not to other people in your industry. They are coming to you because you’re an expert. Boil down your points so they are digestible to the masses.
  2. Answering 10 hours later. Reporters are working on deadlines. Typically, a reporter is working on several different stories at once, not just the one they emailed you about. The sources that get back to them the fastest are most likely to be included in their story. If you answer them 10 hours later, they might already be working on their next story. If you see an email with “Press Request” or “Jane Doe from X News,” be sure to prioritize it.
  3. Referring them to your publicist who doesn’t answer. If you hire a PR person to handle your media, make sure they are responsible. The worst mistake you can make as a business owner is referring a journalist to your press person, only to have them answer a week later. If you notice your PR person hasn’t answered a reporter within one to two hours, it’s time to find someone new. Your PR person should be optimizing your chances for press coverage, not diminishing them.
  4. Blowing their story on social media. If a reporter invites you in to film a segment, listen very carefully to what they ask you to do. If they say, “No photos or videos from this can be leaked on social media until after the story is published,” do not post anything. Recently, I filmed a behind the scenes segment for a story I was working on and the source leaked the entire story on Instagram Live. I will not include them in any further stories. If you’re that impatient for a story to go live that you have to leak it on social media, you don’t deserve to be in the story.
  5. Asking them to pay for things. If a journalist is interested in featuring your product in a story, it’s important to pay any associated costs that go along with this. If you don’t, you make it very difficult from them to try the product and ultimately feature you. If a journalist wants to feature your product, do not ask them to pay for the product, the shipping of your product, or your travel expenses to get it in their hands. If you are lucky enough to be considered, bite the bullet and pay the associated costs.
  6. Asking multiple times when the story is coming out. Once a story is filed, a journalist has to deal with several other departments. First, the story has to pass through their editors. Then, the story may have to go through the art department. When the story comes back to you, there may be new edits you want, which starts the whole process again. A journalist does not owe you an explanation of when their story is live. If you’re concerned, set up a Google alert for the journalist’s name and outlet so that you receive a notification when it comes out. Don’t annoy a journalist by asking when an article is coming out. Most of the time, they don’t know.
  7. Promoting a story without tagging the journalist on social media. Journalists are all competing to get eyeballs on their writing. If you’re lucky enough to be included in a story, journalists want to see that you’re promoting the link on your social media accounts. Don’t make a faux pax by promoting the link without including the journalists handle on Twitter or Instagram. Journalists pay attention to which sources are social media savvy. If you push their content, it doesn’t go unnoticed.
  8. Copping an attitude. If a journalist is including you, do not harass them. A journalist is featuring your product and helping you increase sales, so if you cop an attitude with them, why would they ever want to include you? A journalist is not concerned with how prominently your product is featured; they’re concerned with the facts of the story. The more you make it about you, the less credibility you have.
  9. Sending PDF’s. If a journalist asks for your press kit, do not send them a PDF. If a journalist has to copy and paste your PDF into word, many times the characters don’t show up or there is a break in the code. You want to make their life easier, not harder. Also, be sure to include product “blurbs” or descriptions in whatever press materials you give them. If you ever wonder why certain products have longer descriptions than others, this is why. If you don’t give a journalist source material to pull from, your paragraph will be shorter.
  10. Sending broken Dropbox links. If a journalist asks for your press kit and you send them a Dropbox link, do not deactivate the link after one day. Most of the time, the journalist may not open up the Dropbox link until the night before their deadline. If you deactivated the link, how are they supposed to pull your information for the story?
  11. Asking for changes after a story is published. Finally, if a journalist includes you in a story, do not badger them about making changes after the story goes live. If you want to ask them to change the spelling of your company name, that’s fine. But do not ask them to change what they have written about your company. Also, do not ask them to change website URL’s and descriptor text because your marketing manager said it would help you rank better on Google. This is a completely inappropriate ask. You have control over your assets on your site, not over another publication’s.

When you are communicating with journalists, remember to be appreciative. Journalists work hard to put together stories. Many of the journalists today are contributing writers for publications, in addition to having full-time jobs (such as myself). Journalists are very aware of the promotion you’re getting (for free) by being included in a story. Having a basic understanding of this dichotomy will take you far. If you are lucky enough to be included in a story, follow these tips and don’t blow it! If you make these mistakes, don’t be surprised if you “die on the chopping block floor” as the old saying goes.

Kris Ruby is the CEO of Ruby Media Group, a public relations and social media agency. Ruby is a frequent on air TV commentator and speaks on social media, tech trends and crisis communications. For more information, visit rubymediagroup.com or krisruby.com

 

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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 it last year. But what I didn’t delve into is all of the reasons why not to hire a PR firm. Having run a PR company 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.

If you fit one of the 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 press placements anymore; they want digital placements. To do this, a solid 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 ghost 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 PR person 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 PR person is not your Director of Sales. This is the number one reason most agencies get fired: clients are unhappy that the 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 placement. If a publicist is getting you consistent 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, 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. 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 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 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. They see someone else doing it, and therefore, they think they should be doing it. 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 for the day, close up shop, and run down to the city to do the hit. If you say no, the chances of the opportunity coming up 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, some of the placements may not even come out until after your relationship ends. The first one to three months of any new engagement requires a lot of upfront prep work, the next three months require heavy pitching. 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 6 years. They understand the business and are in it for the long haul.

You aren’t willing to drop everything for a press hit. 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. There is no worse feeling than getting a client a hit and not being able to do it. In the PR world, there is nothing more important than getting back to a reporter or producer. If you aren’t ready to drop everything to speak to the media, then PR may not be right for you.

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

 

 

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How to Get Your Business Featured in Westchester Magazines

PR Tips to Gain Exposure in Print

Westchester PR firm shares how to get published in westchester magazines

Wondering how to get published in print publications, but not sure how to go about it without insider advice and connections? Then be sure to follow RMG’s top 12 tips on how to create media magic inside the pages of your favorite print publications.

As experts in public relations, we have secured numerous editorial placements for clients. Below, we boiled down years of pitching and securing print placements to give you our top advice on how to get your story told and featured in the print magazines you love most.

12 Tips on How to Get Published in Print

1. Create a spectacular image-driven website. Lifestyle journalists and editors will go to your website first when considering covering your business in the pages of their glossy magazine. Not only are they looking to vet you as a credible business, but they are also looking with an art director’s eye at your corporate imagery. Does your company have at least a handful of drop dead gorgeous high-res images ready to go that are fresh and on trend? Be certain you use the “show, don’t tell” motto when it comes to brand imagery. Luckily, there are simple programs available to you today, so you don’t need to understand code to design an attractive site.

2. Produce your own media. A common mistake that entrepreneurs make is forgetting to create their own media before, during and after a client engagement. Capturing multimedia (images, videos, memes and even livestreams) is more important than ever when it comes to digital marketing. All of these assets can provide valuable social proof to an editor from a third party perspective on why you are the best at what you do. So, make certain to discuss the possibility of “capturing media” with your clients before you start your next project so you can leverage it in the pitching process.

3. Hire a photographer. Want to woo a magazine editor with your images? Look inside the publication you most covet and check out the photo credits. Is there an award-winning photographer the magazine uses over and over? Hire the photographer for your next post-project photo shoot. Then, leverage the images and share them with the media the next time they are considering covering you.

4. Send images in the correct format: Jpeg? Tiff file? High res? Low res? No, this isn’t a foreign language; just standard formats for sending images. High-resolution images are required for print publication, but the huge files can clog—or crash—an editor’s inbox, so consider sending images via Dropbox or other cloud sharing sites.

5. Do your media research and pitch accordingly. Targeting media correctly is an art. And it takes a lot of time and pinpointed research. Conduct detailed background research of other local, regional and blog outlets that you want your business to appear in. Remember to focus on your niche market and find the publication that best covers your areas of expertise.

6. Determine the correct editor and use email. Score! You have the list of publications you want to appear in ready to go. Next, it is time to determine which writers and editors at each magazine would cover your story. The goal is to find the golden egg: their email address. While this may sound easy, editors are especially adept at keeping their email addresses private. This is why PR firms pay big bucks to have instant access to media research and aggregation services (such as Cision). Plus, editors are notoriously busy and don’t have time to read every press release and pitch that comes their way. Publicists are great at crafting detailed, yet short email subject lines that get the attention of the top editors.

7. What about exclusivity? It’s an unwritten media ‘no-no’ to pitch the same story to multiple outlets. Two competing magazines don’t want to showcase your business using the same story angle. So, offer your story idea and accompanying media gallery as an exclusive first. If you get a polite ‘no thank you,’ then move onto the next publication’s editorial team while continuing to refine your pitch each time.

8. Don’t skip entering contests. While entering a professional contest may seem time- consuming and trivial, don’t pass on the opportunity. Design awards and professional award opportunities come with the bonus of free publicity if you win. And, even if you don’t win the award, editors keep a list of up-and-coming professionals on their minds for future story considerations.

9. Separation of church and state. Don’t confuse advertising with editorial. Most of the time (except when it comes to advertorial), advertising and editorial are complexly different departments within each publication.

10. Social media and content integration. Use the multimedia you create with your projects for a consistent pipeline of brand messaging and consumer engagement via your social media channels, blogs and web site. Regional editors are constantly viewing what’s happening on social media, so be certain to always include locally-used hashtags and engage in online conversations with other local business people, influencers and media outlets.

11. What about Westchester? Remember, editors cover “beats” or locations. If your business is outside the greater Westchester region, then you may be wasting the editor’s time if you pitch them a story that is way outside of their coverage area. Be certain the editor immediately knows that your business is located within the publication’s editorial “map.” You can get a better idea of a publication’s coverage area by requesting a “media kit” from their advertising department. Usually found buried inside a publication’s website (and downloadable as a PDF), a magazine’s media kit includes eye-opening information on readership demographics, advertising space details and the all-important editorial calendar.

12. Ask for the publication’s editorial calendar. Every year, magazines release a new upcoming editorial calendar, which highlights the specific features they will be covering in editorial as well as specific advertising features. Be sure to time your pitch to something they are already covering if you want an editor to feature your business. This calendar describes the theme of each issue and is a good way to strategize your brand campaigns and pitches.

For more advice on PR, contact kruby@rubymediagroup.com to secure a copy of our new e-book How to Strategically Increase Media Exposure.

Follow us on Twitter @rubymediagroup and @sparklingruby

©Ruby Media Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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How to Score Local Publicity in Westchester County

westchester PR firm owner shares publicity tips for your small business

Photo credit: Lauren Kallen

When it comes to maximizing your publicity efforts, scoring a national media hit is usually a major goal, but if you are a small business, you may only need hyper-local publicity placements. For example, you’re a Westchester County doctor or owner of a small coffee shop and only want to establish a strong presence in your local community.

Here are ideas on how to get your business in the newspaper:

  1. Pitch trends: Are there new trends in the area or is the community undergoing a revitalization? Pitch a local business editor an article or segment about the revival. Ask other local businesses to participate and provide sources to interview.
  2. Give back: The media loves feel good stories. Raise funds for a local non-profit. At the event, take photos of the actual donation and invite the media to cover the event.
  3. Show me the money: Speaking of money, has your company saved by converting to energy-efficient light bulbs or using a technique that is environmentally friendly? The money or environmental editor of the might be interested in an article or segment.
  4. Cook it up: At holiday time, pitch recipes, ideas and cooking tips or tricks. For example, if you own a small coffee shop, pair the best foods and wine or share ideas on specialized coffees that you can give.
  5. Look around: What are other local businesses doing? For example, The Cecil in Harlem recently had an event with Esquire Magazine where they hosted a large party with top editors, who were able to taste their food and get to know and understand the restaurant’s concept. It was followed by a brunch with a DJ. Guests took photos and posted them to Instagram with specific hashtags.
  6. Pitch an employee: Maybe an employee has achieved something spectacular, so pitch them to the features section for a profile. You could also pitch them for relevant award nominations and submissions.

Here are ideas on how to get your business in regional broadcast media:

  1. Visualize the story. Pitching Westchester broadcast media is very different than pitching traditional Westchester print media. What will make your story stand out are your visuals. Think about how you can visually bring the story to life for television. Go out of your way to make your story aesthetically appealing to a producer. You can even add some props, such as a stunning table display, if you think it will add to the story.
  2. Tie it in. Give the producer a compelling reason to run the story now. For example, your pitch has a strong tie-in to a Westchester calendar event. For example, Ruby Media Group, a leading public relations and social media agency in Westchester, NY and the New York metropolitan area pitched and secured a story on The Cooking Realtors’ Tomato Sauce. It was the featured package on News 12 Westchester on Saturday at 5 pm. The larger trend was that this was a behind-the-scenes peek into one Westchester resident’s annual tradition that hundreds of Westchester residents participate in all weekend. By mentioning the fact that hundreds of county residents also do this, the appeal of the segment suddenly became a lot larger.
  3. Walk the producers through the process. After you’ve secured a segment, walk the producers through it. For example, we stirred the tomatoes and let the producer taste the sauce. We also had b-roll opportunities available to show the entire process from beginning to end to visually walk the viewer through it.
  4. Provide sources. Producers like when you have additional sources available. If you are hosting an event, have other attendees or sources available to talk to the press.
  5. Don’t forget the 5 Ws. This goes without saying, but if you want Westchester media to show up, be sure to provide them all of the relevant details in one condensed email: who, what, where, when and why. Also, provide correct spellings up front for all town names, resident IDs and interview names. The address of the location shoot and a phone number of a point of contact are also critical.
  6. Graphics. Be sure to capture tons of graphics before, during, and after the event. Many of these graphics can be used to promote the segment on social media (a must!) and to include in a post-event release for extended coverage. If you want to re-pitch the same segment when the event takes place next year, it is good to have accompanied graphics to help show what the finished product will look like. Get super creative with your graphics by combining screenshots of the press coverage with photos of the displays you created. We recommend using some of our favorite apps to create these pieces: PIP Camera, Photo Mirror, FotoFus, InstaMag.

Most importantly, get to know your local reporters and what beat they cover. By building a relationship, you will score more media hits because the journalists will remember who you are and include you in their next article or segment.

Like this post and follow me to read more posts like this one.

For more information, visit www.rubymediagroup.com or www.krisruby.com and follow me on Twitter: @sparklingruby and @rubymediagroup 

©2016 Ruby Media Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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