- How modern PR grapples with present-day realities
- 1. How to set up your public relations campaign steps to drive marketing results
- Where does a PR plan fit into your broader B2B marketing strategy?
- 2. How to make sure your public relations campaign steps set you up for success
- 3. Five ways to ensure your PR plan enhances your brand positioning
- 4. Choose wisely – media coverage impact can vary significantly
- 5. What to understand about working with a PR agency before you create your public relations campaign
- 6. How to use PR to reach your target audience on digital platforms
- 7. How to coordinate with a PR professional who is external to your organization
- 8. How to maximize SEO value from PR-related content and placements
- 9. How to distribute your content and press placements after you’ve been covered
- Why personal branding is key to getting your audience and future partners to pay attention to your business
- The best way to use video in your public relations campaign steps
- Crafting your powerful public relations campaign steps
- Listen to the episode
- Some topics we discussed
- Connect with Kris
- Links and Resources mentioned
How modern PR grapples with present-day realities
Media and communications have always been industries that move quickly, and advances in technology and social media have escalated those moves. According to a podcast episode with Public Relations expert Kris Ruby of Ruby Media Group, today, many traditional media publications are being rolled up or acquired. Add to that audiences’ increased expectations of trust and authenticity, and the rise of practices like content marketing, and it’s clear that your PR plan and public relations campaign steps have to evolve to keep up with the trends.
In this interview, Kris Ruby, CEO, and founder of Ruby Media Group shares how you can drive your marketing results with a powerful PR plan that covers 9 powerful public relations campaign steps.
Here are the steps Kris Ruby says you need to take.
1. How to set up your public relations campaign steps to drive marketing results
Kris says that the best way to approach setting up your public relations campaign steps is with a PR plan that drives marketing results is to actually draft a PR plan before you start to work with any firm or execute in house.
Kris says when she works with new clients the first two months, they craft a PR plan which includes:
- Understanding the client’s audience and business
- Creating a fact sheet and
- Brand story
- Creating a new “about us” section on their website
- Developing new boilerplate for press releases, including lifestyle photography, executive bios, etc.
Then as part of the plan, Ruby Media Group looks at their high-level PR goals. This would determine whether the focus should be on trade publications, regional press, or national press.
Kris Ruby PR Tip: Trade publications are a great resource for people because they’re more likely to write a full profile on you than a consumer-facing outlet that’s in the national media.
Where does a PR plan fit into your broader B2B marketing strategy?
The short answer is: It depends on your B2B marketing strategy.
According to Kris the PR plan has to revolve around your brand story.
“People often miss the different layers of who that story can be of interest to. For example, your story could be of interest to a reporter, but it may not be of interest to that reporter’s editor or to the audience of that publication.”says Kris Ruby.
A better approach would be to think, who will be interested in this?
Kris says “There will always be several audiences and layers when you are pitching a story to the media.
Also, Kris says the odds are stacked against you because there are six times as many public relations professionals as journalists. This makes it harder to get your story picked up in the media. The challenge in pitching your story becomes one of differentiation. This stat is referenced in her helpful Media Relations Guide to pitching the media.
Kris cautions against the use of DIY PR courses to build out your public relations campaign steps. She says that there are several DIY PR courses that have given rise to issues surrounding PR negligence.
Why? Because she says that self-taught PR can cause collateral damage.
What sort of damage could a poor PR plan cause?
Kris thinks that people who try to build their public relations campaign steps without formal media training may not fully understand how the media works.
These may be people who have read a free ebook or paid $99 for a course online. Then they speak to the media and say, “This may or may not be off the record.” They are floundering. Then a story comes out that they don’t want to be published, and they want it fixed.
The problem is that many people don’t understand the difference between public relations and advertising. PR is a storyline that you put out there and that you give up control once it is released. This is different from advertising, which is something you pay for and can control. It is a story with graphics and creative content, but you can control when, where and how it goes out.– Kris Ruby
Is it feasible for startups to leverage PR?
Startups can leverage PR—if they have the funding.
But they have only one opportunity to get it right. The opportunity won’t come back around again.– Kris Ruby
2. How to make sure your public relations campaign steps set you up for success
PR for the sake of PR without a strategy around it is not maximizing the investment you made to its full potential.
Let’s take an example where you get a lot of attention from a piece in a national paper. But if that piece covers you talking about something that has nothing to do with your business objectives, then was it still valuable? What is the ROI of that?
The ROI of that may not be what you’d expect if it has nothing to do with your business.– Kris Ruby
It’s not about the ROI of any one individual press hit. It’s about the ROI of all those hits together over many years.
There are many ways to evaluate this and to measure it.
Kris Ruby provides these two PR and SEO tips:
- Look at Google Search Console and then Google Analytics on the back end to determine what traffic the article or press drove. What is the conversion rate that came from it?
- Don’t just record content like podcast interviews. Use the content. Place it on your site and repurpose it.
Kris Ruby PR Tip: Keep a list or a log of all the press that you’ve done. That can be impressive to a producer, journalist, podcaster, or reporter. You want to organize that content for people, and the onus is on you, the client, to do that—not your PR firm.
If you want to take your PR campaign to the next level and build a brand. It’s all about packaging that content together—soon.– Kris Ruby
3. Five ways to ensure your PR plan enhances your brand positioning
Kris says there are 5 W’s that can guide your brand positioning in relation to your PR plan. Here are the 5 W’s she mentioned in our podcast interview.
- Who are you trying to reach?
- What is the purpose of your content?
- Where is it being sourced from?
- Why should someone follow through?
- When will you be publishing it?
For example, saying you are a cardiologist doesn’t mean you have a brand. There are lots of cardiologists. You need to think about what you want to be known for and what your specialization is.
Having a personal brand helps people seeking you out for your expertise. For example, a reporter can go to you knowing that you are the subject matter expert in that specific vertical. That doesn’t happen only because you hired a PR firm. The onus is on you to do the work and to make that happen.
Most businesses make the mistake of hiring a PR firm thinking that the firm will do that hard work. But they can’t. The people in your business are subject matter experts and key opinion leaders in their field. The problem for most businesses is that they don’t know how to convey that subject matter expertise on digital platforms.– Kris Ruby
And that’s where PR specialists like Kris come in.
They take the articles that you have published in trade journals, the articles you write on your blog, the associations you are a part of, the speeches you have given, etc. and package that to drive your business objectives.
In other words, you need to give PR experts content to work with.
4. Choose wisely – media coverage impact can vary significantly
Getting featured in major media outlets or publications may not provide the kind of outcomes or get you in front of your target audience as effectively as a smaller niche publication could.
Kris says documenting and evaluating your options as you build out your public relations campaign steps is vital. Here is why:
5. What to understand about working with a PR agency before you create your public relations campaign
According to Ruby Media Group CEO Kris Ruby, the key issue for first-time PR clients wanting to build out their public relations campaign steps is that the learning curve is steep.
Kris mentions two instances below to illustrate the effort and commitment you need to make in order to ensure your time with a PR agency is fruitful in the long run.
1. If you give an interview, your answers might not be used. People who are new to PR journalism don’t understand that, so they wonder why their answers weren’t used.
2. Remember that six-to-one ratio we talked about earlier. Because anytime you’re pitching, someone’s getting hundreds of other answers too.
So, PR professionals have a lot of educating to do, including coaching people how to write better interview answers. There are many nuances and layers to PR that people new to the field must get acquainted with.– Kris Ruby
6. How to use PR to reach your target audience on digital platforms
Every business has an idea of who their target audience is and how they want to reach them.
You can develop a history of publications where you have advertised. That history might not actually indicate where you should be going, but at least it helps you understand where you’ve been.
A good place to start when attempting to reach your target audience is to understand, Why are you doing this? Again, the answer is not because it is newsworthy.– Kris Ruby
7. How to coordinate with a PR professional who is external to your organization
Planning out your public relations campaign steps needs to be done in conjunction with your PR agency. The PR plan and each content piece, especially in larger organizations or agencies needs to be carefully planned and crafted.
Kris speaks from her experience and says that with clients who answer interview questions, her firm keeps track of those answers. If a placement doesn’t run with those answers, they look for other opportunities. Or if the answer is really good, they post it on the client’s site.
They use the answers to form the skeleton of a possible new post and work with the client’s SEO or content director to optimize it.
She recommends having the client provide the content (not using a ghostwriter who would not be a subject matter expert). Then invest in editing and optimizing the content.
8. How to maximize SEO value from PR-related content and placements
Something that Kris does in her NY PR firm is keeping track of all client answers during interviews. If an answer is not used, she uses it for other related content.
That content can be used as a new post and worked into the overall SEO strategy, so the site can optimize it.
When writing content, it should come from the business as opposed to a ghostwriter or writing on behalf of a client. But a business should invest in an editing process. Why? Because other writers or outsourced services cannot produce content that reveals your subject matter expertise even if they have a general understanding of the industry.
If you are not coming across as a subject matter expert, then your brand will not be the go-to authority in the industry. Once you have put the content in a format that can be edited, others can edit it and optimize it.– Kris Ruby
The SEO problem with guest posting in major publications
People can focus on the PR benefits of being featured on major publications and having things like “as seen on Forbes” on their site. But according to Kris Ruby what they don’t understand is a lot of these links are “no-follow” links.
“The point is that some of this will turn into duplicate content if you take it and put it directly onto your site,” says Kris
Kris thinks you should keep your best writing for your web site to build domain authority. However, it may make sense to publish on other sites in order to develop a following and do-follow links depending on your SEO and content marketing goals.
In her opinion, most PR firms do not have this conversation with their clients, and that can be detrimental to the client. According to Kris, putting your best content on a no-follow link is a poor tradeoff from a PR standpoint.
9. How to distribute your content and press placements after you’ve been covered
In our podcast interview, Kris mentions that there are two types of PR approaches: proactive and reactive.
Proactive PR is about coming up with a plan for, “I want to reach out to these people and then pitch them.” says Kris
Reactive PR happens when journalists are already working on a story and say, “I need a subject matter expert.” says Kris
Kris finds that the success rate is significantly higher with a reactive PR approach, because –
You’re giving someone what they already need just when they’re working on it. In other words, a reactive PR approach is dictated by what a person is writing about at that moment versus who you want to be pitching. You’re not just shooting in the dark and hoping that maybe, someday, they’re going to write something.
This creates an interesting situation in that you may want to have a library of perspectives to draw from. But the problem in most cases is that there is no library because the questions are new and different each time. The library exists in the subject matter expert’s head. So, with reactive PR you need to understand the breaking news in your industry if you want to be able to meet the needs of journalists.
They’re going to ask you to comment on breaking news. If you don’t know what they’re talking about, then you’re going to lose out on reactive PR opportunities.
So, the best thing you could do is to follow the news in your industry every day. Dedicate at least an hour each day to reading the news so that you are ahead of the curve when they talk about a news item or the features of a product.– Kris Ruby
Kris Ruby PR Tip: If you are already following the breaking news in your industry, you will know what people are talking about and be able to provide an answer in two seconds.
You could use tools like HARO (Help A Reporter Out) in your arsenal.
There are other tools, and there’s new technology evolving around this all the time that will bridge the gap with social media and what reporters are working on.
There are also podcast aggregation sites like Spotaguest where you can find different podcasts and guest opportunities.
Why personal branding is key to getting your audience and future partners to pay attention to your business
A large part of building out your stand out public relations campaign steps lies in creating a personal branding package where you put together a list of other links and places where you’ve been featured—maybe add your own writing and your blog—where they can see who you are.– Kris Ruby
That said, Kris says you need to exercise caution. Why?
The problem is that you lose a little bit of SEO value when you give away your best content to other sites. Every site needs content. This includes your site if you want visibility on the search engines.– Kris Ruby
There is another reason you want to invest in personal branding.
Let’s say you were to achieve critical mass in a very short time. Your content has to back up your public relations campaign steps. If you’re not publishing content to support the subject matter expertise behind your PR gains, it looks like just a PR exercise and nothing else.
This is not strategic PR, and it can damage your credibility.
Let’s say you’ve suddenly come out of the woodwork. The question that most people will have is, Where’d this person come from? You can’t answer that effectively if you’re not putting out content to back that up.
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—you don’t necessarily have to be on traditional TV broadcast channels. There are other great opportunities if you can get great links from them.– Kris Ruby
The best way to use video in your public relations campaign steps
According to Kris, creating video content is very important right now on LinkedIn. Why?
Because they’re practically giving away organic views.
The views on LinkedIn are off the charts compared to Facebook. It’s what Facebook was many years ago in terms of organic reach.
Where should those who are uncomfortable being on camera start?
Everyone is good 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, even if the market says you have to do video right now.
In such cases, you may be more comfortable doing something where you have a better chance to shine, like a podcast. You shouldn’t do everything just because everyone says you have to be everywhere.
For example, some people are conference speakers. They are on the circuit because that’s what they do well. Those same people might not shine on live video. Someone who’s comfortable on video might not shine at a conference being around a lot of people because they’re more introverted.
You must know your strengths, your levels of comfort, and then 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. Why?
According to Kris – “Because your content is going to be better.”
Crafting your powerful public relations campaign steps
Modern PR has come a long way from press release pitching. Today, PR uses a range of strategically designed activities to build relationships with media outlets and earn promotional opportunities organically.
Kris walked us through the key elements and issues we should consider in crafting a cutting-edge PR plan—one that works well with your B2B marketing strategy.
Have you considered any of these tactics already? What are you doing to combine marketing and PR that is driving results for you?
Listen to the episode
Subscribe to the Predictable B2B Success Podcast
Some topics we discussed
- The best way to approach setting up a plan that drives marketing results
- Where a PR plan fit into your broader B2B marketing strategy
- How to make sure your PR strategy succeeds with defined KPI’s & ROI
- PR plan templates to help with tracking and monitoring the progress of your campaign
- The 5 ways to ensure PR plan enhances your brand positioning
- Why prospects interested in PR services need to understand how a PR firm works before they are ready to develop a PR plan and effectively work with an agency
- How to reach your target audience in digital platforms through PR
- How to handle coordination with a PR professional that is external to your organization
- How to maximize SEO value from PR related content and placements
- Why personal branding is key to getting your future partners and audience to pay attention to your business
- PLUS: How to distribute your content and press placements after coverage has been secured
- And the answer to “What is a good place to start for those who are uncomfortable with putting themselves on camera?”
Connect with Kris
- Connect with Kris on LinkedIn