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:
- Is this the right fit for my PR agency?
- Can I secure stellar earned media results for this client?
- 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.
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.