Entrepreneur Kris Ruby On Starting A Public Relations Agency

Kris Ruby
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Ruby Media Group
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Entrepreneur Kris Ruby On Starting A Public Relations Agency

Hello! My name is Kris Ruby and I am the CEO of Ruby Media Group. I help entrepreneurs get noticed. Ruby Media Group is an award-winning Public Relations Agency. We help Executives secure earned media exposure and publicity coverage through content marketing, traditional media relations, digital PR, SEO, and personal branding. We have helped 100+ C-Suite Executives land Tier-1 media placements which have led to an increase in traffic, visibility, funding, and new partnership opportunities.

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Ruby Media Group helps companies increase their exposure through leveraging social media and digital PR. RMG conducts a thorough deep dive into a company's brand identity and then creates a digital footprint and comprehensive strategy to execute against.

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

We help clients get featured in media including TV, podcasts, social audio rooms and spaces, interviews in magazines and newspapers. The top NY PR agency has secured national media coverage for entrepreneurs in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fox 5 NY, Dr. Oz Magazine, Prevention Magazine, Teen Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, The Doctors TV Show, ABC News, Forbes, BBC News, CBS News, Newsweek, US News and World Report, Healthline, Fox Business, Allure, The Today Show, WebMD, Women's Health, People Magazine, and countless other national media outlets.

Ruby Media Groups PR services include:

  • Publicity & Media Relations
  • Crisis Communications PR
  • Media Booking
  • Social Media
  • Content Marketing | SEO
  • Personal Branding
  • Media Training
  • Podcast, Radio, TV Booking

Are you looking for more high-profile media opportunities? If so, we can help! I connect people with national media opportunities. I help doctors, lawyers, entrepreneurs, real estate execs and SaaS founders become the go-to authority through digital PR, TV booking, podcasting booking, social media, SEO, and content marketing.

Flagship Product/ Service: PR Consulting. I sell strategy. Simply put, I sell my brain. I see things that other people do not see in business. My ability to look at a situation and see something no one else will pick up on is what makes me unique. I can zoom in on areas that are broken that can lead to tangible business growth. The problems people are hired for are never really the problem that needs solving- they are just the problem that needs the most immediate attention to stop the bleeding. As a consultant, I get to the root cause of strategic issues: whether that is operational, product-market fit, digital reputation management, or a PR crisis, what needs to be solved is rarely what a client hires you for.

Our clients:

  • Executives, Surgeons, Agency Owners, Authors, Lawyers, Thought Leaders, VCs
  • Entrepreneurs who hire my agency are interested in strategy, long-term growth, and competitive advantage

What's your backstory and how did you get into entrepreneurship? Entrepreneurial Journey.

I started my company, Ruby Media Group when I graduated from Boston University in 2009. I opted to create my company in Westchester County instead of moving to the city and getting a salaried job, like many of my classmates did at the time I graduated, during one of the worst economic recessions to date.

I started Ruby Media Group as a college graduate in the business world and built it into a successful award-winning agency that consistently secures high-profile media coverage for clients.

Look back at photos from your childhood. Who did you want to be when you grow up? What was your dream career?

I firmly believe that every entrepreneur was also an entrepreneur during their childhood. I was recently going through a box of materials from my parents’ house and found an old piece of paper where I tried to charge my Mom and all of her friends for manicures. Most girls my age were focused on tennis lessons and the swim team; and even though I participated in both, I was most interested in seeing how I could create new products and services. I also discovered that I tried to charge my Dad for art lessons. Childhood photos show me behind my Dad's desk in his office pretending to be on the phone. I always wanted to be an Entrepreneur.

TL;DR: The entrepreneurial mindset is always there and if you look hard enough you will find remnants of this from your earliest stage in life. Basically, I was a consultant from a very young age.

In addition to running an agency, I am also a national TV commentator on the politics of big tech and social media. I found a paper I wrote called “The Ruby Times." I was reporting ever since I was a young girl.

Look back to look forward.

If you are an entrepreneur who is stuck on your next step and where to go next, sometimes it helps to look back to look forward. Go through an old box from your childhood. See what it is that you were drawn to. This can help reignite the spark in you that you are right where you are supposed to be. For me, seeing that I was always an entrepreneur and a reporter reaffirmed that I am exactly where I should be.

Unplug to re-plug.

Too often, we look to Google and our website to help us solve complex internal problems that can only be answered by shutting the computer off.

How I validated my ideas:

I was very actively involved in the business community and social media. At the time, I worked with a management consultant and their clients needed assistance with B2B social media marketing strategy work. I was at the beginning of the wave of social media and Web 2 and could clearly see the opportunity. Businesses needed help, and I was the one to help them. The same opportunity exists in Web3 to help businesses with a Metaverse marketing strategy and prepare for digital transformation. From NFTs to Crypto PR, these are all new services we have recently launched to help clients with.

The way to validate your idea is to ask someone if they need help with that component of their marketing strategy. If they say- yes- but we don’t know how to do it or have someone to implement/ execute it- that is the way forward. That is how I validated my ideas back then and is still how I validate the ideas 15 years later. The answers will change over time.

15 years ago, if I asked someone if they needed help with their Facebook social media marketing strategy, they would say- what is Facebook? Yes. Please help me. Today, they may say- we have someone in-house to handle it. It is taken care of.

Of course, having someone in-house to do something doesn’t mean it is done the right way or optimized for success, but the point is that you need to adapt to the market conditions and what people need.

My financial career situation at the time: I graduated college and started my business with $500 in my bank account. I did not take outside funding and that has not changed.

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

Our retention rate is extremely high compared to the industry average for the lifespan of client/ agency relationships. We have some brands that we have worked with for 9+ years. On average, our agency relationships last more than 3-4 years. This is something we are very proud of.

Monthly traffic: Pruning old content and updating it with content optimization methods has led to a significant increase in new traffic. Timestamping our content into the blockchain has also led to increased transparency and trust with our audience.

Customer acquisition costs: Time. I believe in thought leadership PR, content marketing, and organic opportunities. I practice what I preach as a public relations and business growth strategy. My business has been built from organic opportunities and earned media coverage over the past decade.

Social media following: My social media following has grown substantially over the past year. As an early adopter of social audio, my accounts have seen substantial growth because of the time invested in creating organic content and experiences for my audience.

YoY growth: Last year was one of our best years to date. We have grown and are now servicing enterprise SaaS clients with PR, crisis communications, social audio, and content strategy.

Operations Today: We are a fully remote workforce. I ditched the fancy 40th-floor office on Wall Street and have never looked back. As much as I love Wall Street and the view, clients rarely came to the office anyway. Save money where you can and reinvest in other areas like AI tools.

Ad spend: Over the past 12 months, we significantly cut traditional marketing budgets for paid print ads and reinvested in AI tools and paid communities. On Black Friday, our marketing strategy shifted from buying more SaaS tools to investing in creators of communities we wanted to support. Allocating a marketing budget to the most effective platforms and target audience is not a one-time endeavor, it is an ongoing activity that continuously needs to be refined based on performance metrics and KPIs.

Brand Collaborations: Partnering with other brands in the B2B marketing space has been a critical part of our growth strategy. The average value of brand collaborations Ruby Media Group participated in led to an enterprise contract. This all started from B2B webinar guesting. This collaboration resulted in our company earning a speaking opportunity, referrals, and community growth in a new sector and vertical. High impact co-marketing campaigns led to significant growth for our agency. Creating a joint brand experience is only one part of the puzzle- the next is how to optimize it and amplify it through earned media and content marketing. A one-off webinar that does not live anywhere online will not lead to much. The art of repurposing and what you choose to do with the co-created content is what leads to revenue opportunities.

Plans to expand to new products/audiences/regions.

We plan to launch digital products and a paid membership for consulting services.

We launched the first Twitter Community for SaaS Founders and entrepreneurs interested in marketing, PR, SEO, and Content Strategy. If you are interested in joining the invite-only beta community, DM me on Twitter at @sparklingruby.

Audiences: the goal is to focus on strategically reaching our target audience (CMOs, VP of Marketing, Founder, CEO, Director of Content). We want to do more targeted activities to reach the audience instead of casting a wide net. The majority of our new business leads come from referrals from past clients.

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Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

Here are some helpful things I have learned after 15 years in business:

Invest in a corporate trademark.

Copyright your content and digital assets.

Federal copyright registration is important if you are a content marketer or publisher. Consider investing in an asset protection strategy.

IP Rights Assignment and Ownership.

Who owns the copyright of the content created for clients? Is there a transfer of ownership? A fee for derivative work of the creation? Licensing rights? Royalties? Residuals? Clearly state this.

Momentum Matters.

In PR, momentum matters. Media can have a snowball effect. Media attracts more media. The very worst thing you can do is kill momentum. What are examples of this? A client who wants to take the summer off and put the contract on hold. This will effectively wipe out the momentum and progress you have made pitching and will put you in a bad spot if media outlets reply to your pitch and want to book your client during that time period. The biggest way to light your money on fire is to kill the momentum of a public relations campaign with a frequent start and stop cycles.

Invest in legal & do not swap PR contracts.

It makes me cringe when I hear people ask to see a copy of someone else’s contract to use. Viewing someone else’s contract is fine, but using it is not. For starters, people have invested in lawyers to write their contacts. The same people who complain about clients wanting to see their media list are fine taking someone else’s work that was paid for by them. If you want to be respected as a publicist for your work product, respect other people for their work products and pay for their services. If you don’t want people sharing your media lists, SOPs, and PR plans, don’t ask to receive copies of other people’s contracts. We can’t expect other service providers to value our work if we only value what we do but not what others do. Respect other creators.

Ideally, you want something tailored for your business needs and use case. Your jurisdiction is not the same as someone else’s. Some random stranger in a Facebook group probably doesn’t even know where you live, so of course, their contract will be virtually useless for what you need. When I first launched my PR agency, our contracts were 1-2 pages. Today, they are 15 pages long. A contract should outline every worst-case scenario so that you aren’t having to deal with issues on the fly. Do not be afraid to do this. As new issues emerge, add them to your contract to avoid them in the future.

Mistakes/poor decisions you made, missed opportunities, things you got blindsided by, things that were hard for you to do, things you had to learn, other challenges/obstacles

Good decisions you made (e.g. marketing, partnerships, etc);

PR Agency of the future. Investing in growth

I never stopped growing the business. During the pandemic, I invested substantial resources in new technology and AI technology to make sure the agency was primed for digital transformation and Web3. The agency functions with a marketing tech stack of more than a dozen AI tools daily for content optimization. I am always pushing myself to remain competitive. Our investment in AI tools and technology is a competitive advantage of working with Ruby Media Group. Clients can access thousands of dollars’ worth of brand monitoring software for sentiment analysis, social listening and media mention tracking. This investment enables our PR agency to help organizations accelerate content creation through AI.

READ: Artificial Intelligence in Marketing.

Learn how to sell and write good copy.

We sell media relations, PR, and SEO services vs. How much money are you losing every month by not being higher up on the SEO food chain on Google?

How much money are you losing every month by having stale results on Google news and getting wiped out by competitors with funding announcements and new product launches?

Forces out of your control that helped, i.e. luck, timing, trends

There are times as an entrepreneur that you truly come to a fork in the road and wonder if this is the end. Have faith and question everything. Put everything on the table. Be willing to start over. Be willing to scrap it all to start again. But most importantly, when in doubt, remember why you started. The reason you started 15 years ago may not be the reason for you to continue today. That is okay. Be willing to stop and start again and remove the attachment to your creation. Give yourself space to evaluate and choose what you want to be attached to.

Trends. Pay attention to trends but don’t get lured in by the new idea of a day client. This is the quickest way to bomb a campaign and derail success. Shiny object syndrome can seriously impact long-term credibility. It can also hurt your E-A-T and search engine rankings if you are constantly switching your expertise and chasing the next big thing. Not only does this confuse Google, but it also confuses books and producers who will question if you are truly an expert in a niche.

The best vs. worst publicist for you:

The differentiator of the best vs. worst publicist is not who can get you the most bookings. It is really- who understands how placements can impact every other aspect of your business. From content strategy to SEO rankings and sales, does this person understand how one area impacts all others?

The best publicist for you is the one who believes in you.

They:

· Support you.

· Want to see you win.

· Want to see you get media because your message is that important that the world needs to hear it.

· See opportunities for you that other people don’t see.

· Constantly propose new ideas for you.

· Watch your interview and listen to your podcasts not because you told them to hit because they genuinely want to learn from what you have to say.

· Respect you. They consider it an honor to work alongside you because they want to learn from you.

· Don’t sabotage the campaign. They don’t bottleneck the process.

· Refer new business to you because they believe in you and want to see you win.

· They lift you instead of put you down.

The worst publicist for your business:

· Tells you only what you want to hear.

· Is an order taker devoid of strategy.

· Runs things into the ground because they don’t want to rock the boat.

· Books you and could care less about if what you are talking about on air could lead to long term reputational harm and damage. Churn and burn bookings.

Things you got blindsided by:

Political reporters with a bias and an ax to grind. We like to believe that every journalist is operating from a place of ethical integrity. But not all reporters act this way, and with shrinking newsrooms and a virtual workforce, the oversight on editorial output is getting smaller and smaller. This is particularly problematic in the world of social audio, especially if journalists are reporting in rooms without recordings. I got blindsided by the fact that some reporters know the story they want to write before they have ever covered what is even being said. Publicists spend so much of their time trying to get the attention of journalists, but not every journalist has good intentions or sound ethical and editorial judgment. You do not want or need the attention of every journalist. Be discerning with the journalists you allow in your space when it comes to social audio. Do not trust that everyone has good intentions or you will get burned.

Cancel culture. As a social media reporter who covers cancel culture and wrote the ultimate guide for brands on how to avoid cancelation, I did not expect to be smack in the middle of this. However, the world has changed and social audio opened up the floodgates. I successfully navigated two cancellation attacks on Clubhouse and Twitter- both having to do with politics, neither having any basis in reality.

What I learned and what you should know: Understand the definition of libel, slander, and tortious interference. Your private DMs that show libel and tortious interference can and will be used against you in a court of law. Nothing you write is private via DM. You are not invincible. When you attack someone based on politics and not performance, you are engaging in tortious interference. Your refusal to understand this concept doesn’t negate the law. No one wants to work with a bully. When you bully people into submission and public cancellation, they may temporarily submit to your demands, but they will never respect you because you are threatening them. People don’t forget how this feels.

There is a difference between editorial commentary, opinion, and factual reporting. As a journalist, your words matter. They can cause long-term reputational harm, negative search engine results, and loss of business. Don’t put something in writing until you have verified it and fact-checked it. If you use the pen as a sword and a weapon, you are guilty of editorial malpractice. You can and will be called out for it in the court of public opinion.

Things you had to learn:

Workstyle compatibility. Do you work best via email or by phone? Stop trying to force something that isn’t going to work. If the thought of getting on the phone makes you cringe because you need to see things in writing, don’t work with people who demand weekly calls.

Things that were hard for you to do:

  • the lessons you learned, and how you applied them (or could have applied them);

· Clients who do not value your work at the start will not value it two years later.

· Clients who question your strategy at the start will always question it.

· Clients who want to hire an order taker will not be happy working with independent and autonomous consultants.

** Evaluating whether you should stay or go.**

· Is this a reparable agency relationship?

· What is this costing you financially and emotionally?

· Is this draining your energy to produce creative results for other clients?

· Is this a client/ agency relationship worth saving?

· Does the client value the work your agency delivers?

Read: Top 10 signs you shouldn’t hire a Publicist (yet)

Helpful habits/abilities/skills that you possess

Analytical. Methodical. Thorough. Strategic. Insightful. Excellent news judgment.

React quickly and flexibly to changing market environments. Process and outcome-focused.

Innovative & early adopter – We are constantly raising the bar by trying out new platforms and proposing brand activations and experiences that will lead to stronger brand affinity. This past year in marketing was equivalent to 10 years in any other industry. From Crypto to NFTs and Social Audio, we were constantly learning something new. Not everyone can do this and not everyone wants to do this. Work with people who have the drive to stay on top of innovation without being told to. Those people can add true tangible value to your business and will push you to experiment with new trends. This will give you a significant competitive advantage over your competitors who are doing the same stale approaches.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

I love SaaS and my hobby is software and lifetime deals (LTDs). I am always trying out new software and updating my Notion list with the tools I have purchased.

Here are the tools I use most often:

Notion: To keep track of all of my LTDs.

Teamwork: We work collaboratively with clients so that they can see what we are working on at any given moment. All files, tasks, and projects are shared with clients in Teamwork in a private drive made for every client we work with.

Canva: We use Canva daily for custom social media graphics to promote our weekly Twitter Space show.

Backstage by Headliner: This is my new favorite tool for recording Twitter Spaces. You can export the transcript to a clean URL and the graphics look great, too.

Buzzsumo: We use different media monitoring tools to report results to clients. We also subscribe to social listening tools like Buzzsumo, Mention, Talkwalker, and more to share press placements with clients as they come out.

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

Podcast: I listen to the 2Bobs Podcast by Blair Enns and David Baker. This is a great podcast if you are interested in agency growth and client management tips. I am also a fan of the book Win Without Pitching by Blair Enns.

You have to be committed to the process of updating and staying in the game if you even want a chance at existing.

PILLAR CONTENT I HAVE WRITTEN THAT WILL HELP ENTREPRENEURS:

How to pitch the media. Not sure how to get press and media exposure for your company? Check out these best practices to get your pitch picked up by the media.

Media Relations Guide Executive Media Training tips and publicity growth hacks.

Cancel Culture & Brand Management: The playbook for defending your brand

PR for SEO: A masterclass with tips to increase your organic visibility in search. Improve your position in search engine rankings with these tips.

Thought Leadership Marketing: How to raise your profile as a CEO in the media.

PR for Startups: The Power of Digital Public Relations for Your Startup.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

Over the past year, we worked with a SaaS brand and handled:

· PR/ Crisis communications consulting

· Created social media community from 0-1k engaged followers

· Launched social audio program including a weekly show

· Handled launch for a freemium product & lifetime deal offer

· Handled online reputation management in Facebook communities during the launch

· Secured press coverage in Failory, Venture Beat Women in AI, SaaS Founders Show & more

· Creation of Corporate Media Relations Policy Guidelines / SOP

All of this falls under the PR bucket.

TL;DR: Strategic public relations is about much more than media booking;

  • mistakes you often see other people making

ALL PR IS GOOD PR. FALSE.

A strategic publicist will help you determine what ideas and topics should be amplified.

A publicist who is not strategic will tell you all ideas should be amplified.

Strategic PR is about the management of movement and acceleration. But to have a true impact on the organization, you need to understand what you are moving towards.

What are you accelerating towards?

What is the movement you are pulling users into?

Acceleration in and of itself is a useless metric if you are accelerating towards something no one on the board cares about.

Acceleration must line up with leadership's goals.

Are you accelerating towards press converge which will, in turn, lead to investor interest and funding?

How does PR acceleration align with business goals and outcomes?

Getting organic visibility is not the same as maintaining your organic visibility.

We help brands get found and stay found online. Most brands stop at the first half of the statement. That is a big mistake and does not create an asset that can grow over time. Getting found is not the same as staying found. One is a 6-month project; the other is a lifetime commitment to winning on SERPS. Google is your digital storefront. It still amazes me that business owners think they can hire someone to help them for a few months and that should be sufficient for a lifetime. That is akin to someone who decorates a store window for the holidays and never changes it.

The art of business is the process of constantly changing, adapting, and innovating. The article you wrote ten years ago that has cobwebs on it and is decaying in rankings won’t get you where you want to be. You have to be committed to the process of updating and staying in the game if you even want a chance at existing. You can either argue that your content shouldn’t need to be updated or you can win. One leads to revenue opportunities, the other leads to losing. The choice is yours. Hiring an agency and engaging in this discussion is even worse. Please spare everyone; if you don’t fundamentally believe in the rules of what works to rank online, don’t waste someone’s time on strategy. Their time is better spent helping people who want to win; not fighting over how Google should work or why you think it should work differently.

Focus on 360 strategies.

The reality of the PR industry is that it cannot survive on traditional tactics. PR must grow beyond press coverage to remain competitive and have a seat at the table. What does this mean? Understanding how PR, content marketing, and SEO can work together in an integrated strategy. I made a substantial investment to create a new agency of the future, rather than resting on my laurels. What got you to where you are today will not get you to where you are going in the future. As an agency, you have to constantly be reinventing yourself.

MISTAKES I SEE OTHER PEOPLE MAKING

  1. Not incorporating as a business and waiting too long to incorporate. I incorporated as a business the week after I graduated college. Do not do business before you have incorporated. I think this is the biggest mistake you can make. The law is very clear on this and too many entrepreneurs just starting, unfortunately, do not understand the law. Businesses want to pay other businesses. There is a clear 20-point checklist for Independent Contractors. The onus is on you to know the law and follow the law. It is your responsibility to uphold the terms of this checklist.

The people who hire you for services may not be aware of this checklist and may ask you to do things that violate the checklist. For example, do you work for more than one client or only one company? Are your services offered to the general public? Does the client have control over the worker by giving instructions of when, where, and how to work? Do you train the worker to do the job in a particular way or does the independent contractor have their own process and methodology they deploy with clients? Do you set the contractor's hours or does the contractor set their own hours? Do you control the location of where the work must be performed or does the contractor? Do you determine the order in which services are performed or do the contractor? Basically, does the contractor have a lack of independence and a lack of control or total control and independence? SaaS tools- do you provide the worker with access to tools or does the independent contractor own their own tools and equipment?

I cannot begin to tell you how many times all of these things still come up even 15 years later. Why? Because too many people are in management positions that do not understand this checklist.

· Clearly show that your services are offered to the general public on your website and with your digital business card.

If a client tries to tell you when you have to work, remind them that you are an independent contractor/ consultant and they have zero control of that. I was recently bullied by a client who threw a fit that I wouldn’t regularly appear in person to meet with them. Our contract is clear: we don't do that, nor have we ever done that. We operate as a virtual agency- appearing in person is not included in the scope of work, and if you want to control where and when someone meets you, that is a FT employee, not an IC.

People will try to enforce that you use their systems and change your process to their internal one. This is a major red flag and violation of the checklist. We do not change our system for clients. We use Teamwork for all client projects. If a client says they want your agency to use ClickUp because that is what their employees use, that is a problem. That shows they want you to largely operate as a virtual employee instead of a contractor.

Order of services. The agency determines the priority and order of service.

Access to tools. This is a big one in terms of liability and data/ security issues. Are you providing the client access to tools or are they providing you access to their tools? If you need new tools to service the account, is the client paying for the tools, or are they telling you to pay for the tools at your expense for your other clients? As an agency, we own and pay for our tech stack, which is extensive and extremely expensive to run and maintain. That tech stack is the same regardless of whether a client terminates a relationship.

The more you understand the law, the more you can reinforce the law. Compliance will keep you out of trouble.

Too often, independent contractors and consultants are bullied by people who are trying to get more out of them. If they want an employee, they should hire one. You probably started your business because you want total freedom and control. You want creative freedom in how you execute your creations, what time you start your day, and when you choose to meet with someone. Remember that vision and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Follow your heart, but also, follow the law.

Read Social Media Legal Mistakes.

TOP TIPS FOR ENTREPRENEURS

Stop glorifying Forbes lists that hold women down.

There are many ways to evaluate the success of a business: one is through the number of employees, and another is through year-over-year revenue. Too often, we teach women that success is only defined by metrics of profitability and that success is only achieved if you have 500 employees working for you. This is a success metric for some, but not for all, and it's time to shatter the notion that the only women in business that are successful are running multibillion-dollar agencies. As a society, we must do better. It is not that you can’t achieve it- the real question is- do you even want to achieve it?

When we start an engagement with a new client, the first question we ask is, what does success look like to you? The same is true for women in business. And unfortunately, the media never bothers to ask this question because the PR industry largely perpetuates the cycle of telling women what success is, instead of asking them what it is. This needs to stop.

It is time to recognize that the new generation of women in business is a diverse and collective group creators. PR has changed; but the metrics used to measure the success of women has not. There is no one size fits approach to metrics of success. We need to stop glorifying the antiquated metrics of success that are not aspirational for women. Success starts with recognizing business creators of all ages and all revenues. We need to highlight entrepreneurs who can weather the storm and lead with or without outside capital, and who have stayed in business despite every obstacle possible.

The lists are systemically flawed to reward women on success metrics that only view a narrow view of success.

The Forbes lists are a perfect example of this. We put women up on a pedestal based on the number on their tax returns. Even if you could be on the Forbes list, would you want to be? Not everyone has the same business aspirations. Not everyone wants to make a billion dollars. Some want to make a million dollars. Some want to make $500k. We need to stop pretending that the traditional media metrics of success somehow mean you have made it as a woman in business. As far as I am concerned, if you are a woman in business and you are still standing you are a success. The hardships you endure as a woman in business exist whether you make $500k or 5 billion- the degree to which they scale and get larger is what changes.

THINK OBJECTIVELY AND ANALYZE DATA.

PR, content marketing, branding, and SEO: these are all tactics. You must fundamentally understand what a business strategy is and how those tactics tie into the strategy. You cannot optimize around a goal that you don’t understand.

Too often, marketers optimize for something because they know how to do that tactic well, but they don’t optimize for what the client actually needs. Optimization for the sake of optimization is meaningless. For example, an SEO can get my site to rank for “How to get more Instagram likes” but if I no longer want to offer social media marketing services, then this is not a win. The content you optimize for and the PR wins you get have to align with what the business wants to be known and found for. You can’t possibly understand that unless you truly spend time with the client figuring out what they want to be known for and where their business is headed.

This is not a one-time process. People change. Businesses change. Goals change.

You always have to be fine-tuning the machine to where people are headed and what they want. If not, your wins will never be their wins. This is what most agencies get wrong. PR agencies are often at odds with their clients. The act of listening as a tactic cannot be stated enough. The challenge is that to truly listen means putting down the surgical tools you know how to use. For example, just because you know how to get someone on national TV doesn’t mean you should get them on national TV if they don’t want to be known as a celebrity doctor and they want to be known as a local family doctor. You should really understand what type of publicist you want to hire.

Do you want a local marketing agency? Do you want national media? The best marketing comes from complete clarity on your mission, movement, and who you are targeting. But too often brands do that as a quick exercise when they first incorporate and never revisit it. All this does is burn money and spin wheels from agency to agency because the onus is put on them to figure out who you are. We all have an idea of who we want to target but the problem with social media is that we often get lost in favor of larger numbers. What do I mean?

If you could send a targeted message in a private Twitter community to 50 people, you would know exactly what to say to them and what interests that community. Now take that number and increase it to 15,000 people- suddenly you are speaking to a much larger audience with varied interests, many of whom have conflicting interests. The more you veer away from that initial message, the harder it is to get it back and the more market confusion you will cause. If you feel it internally, your audience feels it externally.

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

A mentor will ultimately teach you how to think differently and see the world with a new lens. Anyone can be great at a task, but not anyone can be great at analyzing a situation from a different perspective.

Required reading for our agency apprenticeship program is Barbara Mintos “The Pyramid Principle.” This is taught at the big 5 management consulting firms.

Where can we go to learn more?

WEBSITES

SOCIAL MEDIA

Kris Ruby

Ruby Media Group

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Kris Ruby, Founder of Ruby Media Group
Pat Walls,  Founder of Starter Story

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