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How to Drive Organic Impact with Press Content

16 min read

Public relations maven Kris Ruby, CEO of New York-based PR Agency Ruby Media Group, sat down with MarketMuse Co-founder and Chief Product Officer Jeff Coyle for a webinar on how to maximize the impact of your press coverage.

Jeff Coyle: [00:00:00] today’s discussion is going to be really exciting. It’s focused on how to drive organic impact with press content. So content that sometimes gets overlooked certainly underutilized and not often a focus of content marketers.

Today’s guest is the CEO of Ruby Media Group. She’s an award-winning public relations and media relations expert. She’s often asked to be on TV, major broadcast as a social media expert, talking about things like tech bias, cancel culture, and all the things that are just amazing concepts for today. We’re going to get into those in more detail. Kris Ruby, thank you for joining us. Tell us a little bit more about yourself if anyone is not familiar with what you do, what Ruby media group focuses on. Generally, the mission of those efforts.

Kris Ruby: [00:00:49] Sure. Thank you so much for having me, Jeff. I’m really excited to be here today and to be doing this webinar with you and MarketMuse.   I started out primarily doing social media marketing.

But now we’ve really changed to full service, traditional PR, and digital public relations, and I have a content marketing agency as well. So, we work with a lot of people, doctors specifically in the healthcare vertical, and build their personal brands online through a holistic approach to content, personal branding, social and public relations.

Publicity Skyrockets Earned Media Results

Jeff Coyle: [00:01:19] I’m going to kick-off, and just, what would you say to somebody who doesn’t consider publicity and media coverage as part of their content strategy? What are they missing out on? And what are the things that you typically see when you start working with a client that maybe is just getting into this?

Kris Ruby: [00:01:34] Yes. I would say that they are making a mistake, and they’re basically missing out on everything. So I think there’s this old school way of approaching PR, which is maybe you’d hire one traditional PR firm and then you’d hire an SEO firm or also perhaps hire a content firm, and then a marketing firm. And I think there are lots of problems with that scenario because all of these things really need to work together.

So, it’s not just going to be that you make a change in one place, and that doesn’t have a ripple effect on every other part of your marketing or PR campaign.

Jeff Coyle: [00:02:06] Do you feel like that is often because they don’t feel like they can measure the results of such a campaign? Or is it just that they haven’t even thought about the fact that having four agencies focused on one goal is going to be complicated.

Kris Ruby: [00:02:19] Yeah, I think it’s the latter out of those two options. And I do believe that one of the great things about PR is that you can measure. There are ways to certainly measure it more and more these days, with looking at an increase in brand lift or brand traffic that a PR hit can secure, or even an increasing the overall domain authority from the start to finish of a public relations campaign.

Jeff Coyle: [00:02:40] You’ve nailed it. You’re speaking the language of some of the search engine optimization professionals that might be on the call about improving overall authority, the ability to be successful with future content about the topics that you covered, or you received that hit on.

But for someone that’s not PR savvy, what do you define as a hit and kind of what goes into that process?

Kris Ruby: [00:02:59] Okay. So a press hit is basically another way of saying media coverage or press coverage. And what that means is that the agency has pitched you to a journalist and the pitch was successful in getting you placed in that media outlet. So, if I say that we secured a hit for you, it usually looks like us sending you over a link. And that link has your quote in the story.

Jeff Coyle: [00:03:23] Gotcha. Some of our link builders in the audience are like, “Oh, that’s what she meant by that. I do that all day every day.” But it’s always great to connect the dots between the way that you see it and the success that you have for clients.

When those things manifest as maybe an interview on a major broadcast or otherwise, how are you talking with them about their experience or the success of it? And how are you asking her what do you want to do next?

Media Logos Increase Conversions

Kris Ruby: [00:03:50] That’s a good question. I would say I actually never asked them what they want to do next. I tell them what we will do next. I do not ask them what they want to do next because what they want to do next may not actually be what’s right. Or what’s feasible in any way.

Jeff Coyle: [00:04:03] I think it connects to content strategy as we discussed it because sometimes it’s about the business goals and what are the overall business goals.

I want to own this topic. Sometimes it’s about competitive risks. Sometimes it’s about just getting quick wins or building authority and building trust.  When you have success with a client with these types of experiences and this type of media and this type of robust content,  how do you try to communicate that this should be a signal that they need to break down the silos of having news and having press content as sometimes a separate site?

Kris Ruby: [00:04:37] Sure. One of the things that I noticed, and I noticed this particularly every time a press placement or hit would come out; I would look at how much of that interview is actually used.

Let’s say someone has to write paragraphs or walls of texts for interview answers for a reporter, but then only one line is used out of that in the actual quote in the placement. What I realized is that there was this huge opportunity because it’s very hard to get clients to write this content themselves, to begin with. So what we started to do is keep track of all of the unused interview answers in a Microsoft Word document.

And that has become the impetus for a whole new service that we launched where we take your publicity content and unused media answers and turn it into amazing content that increases your domain authority and authority online in general.

Promoting Earned Media is Often an Afterthought

Jeff Coyle: [00:05:29] You speak in my language. This is my favorite part of a discussion that we’ve had is, for content marketers and for repurposers, for people who think critically about repurposing.

And if you look at our content strategy webinars series and the recordings, there’s an amazing one a couple back about repurposing that just goes hand in hand with some of the things that Kris is speaking about.

But yeah, what are the artifacts that come out of prepping for a major broadcast interview? What are some examples of ones that you’ve done after you have 35 pages worth of prep, and you only got a one-minute spot?  What do you do with that, and how do you make that shine?

Kris Ruby: [00:06:06] So what I do is I put everything into that word document, and then do keyword research. When I put all of these things together, I can see that this is going to be an article on X, Y, Z health topics. And then I’m going to look up that health topic and see what’s the search volume for that. Are people searching for that?

Because that then dictates the future of the content marketing strategy and the PR strategy. We started leveraging this tactic, even with podcast interviews, to create our own briefs because we found that it was much easier when we’re doing a podcast transcription afterward. It’s much easier to start with a brief than to retroactively create a brief out of the interview without having one, to begin with.

What I’ve learned also is when we talk about topic clusters in general, there is a way to integrate public relations into these clusters if you’re doing it right. And so, I think so much time is spent planning keywords and content around those clusters on your own site. But very little time is typically spent thinking about how you can integrate your media interviews into those clusters as well and choosing opportunities that align with that.

This gets me to MarketMuse and how I discovered one of these lessons by using your platform, which I know I shared with you. But I want to share it with the audience here, which is that I learned on my own site. When I ran my site through your platform, I had all these pages that were considered thin content, and I couldn’t figure out why.

So, then I looked, and it was because every time I, personally, as a pundit or a TV commentator, every time I was on the air, I would just post the video. I post the URL with the same thing, “social media expert, Chris Ruby on Fox News” or whatever it was, but I had 20 URLs are all the same. And I had just basically hundreds of pages of thin content from all these media appearances.

Media/PR Strategies and Pitfalls

And then I started to notice a pattern. When I looked at my client’s sites as well, basically everyone I’ve ever worked with, they all have the same issue. They spent a lot of time creating content on the blog section of their site and very little time building up content around press and media interviews.

So, I’m on a mission to help people change that. You’re on the mission first, honestly. I just learned it from you. But specifically with the press pages, I would say because there are hundreds of pages of content that could be optimized, and people rarely look at that part of their site.

They just throw it up there and think I’m done moving on to the next press hook.

Jeff Coyle: [00:08:41] Rich media optimization is a frontier.  And it’s been something that we’ve focused on for a long time. I personally focused on it for gosh now, over a decade. It sounds silly, but yeah, like transcriptions are only part one.

Being able to annotate those transcriptions, integrating them with the rest of your site, expanding them with content that illustrates what you’re trying to do. As you said, education is the key for that personal brand. Nobody wants, nobody cares about your practice.

They care about getting that expertise onto paper and into the things that they’re reading. When you’re looking at those pitch decks that you’ve used and the materials, what are some nuggets that you’ve seen that have caused you to say, “I need to replicate this with every client,” and what are the ones that you’ve run into that you might shy away from or mistakes that you see?

Do you see any parallels across multiple different pitch decks that you’re like, “Oh, wow.

I always need to have this type of content on my site.”

Kris Ruby: [00:09:39] Yeah. So, my biggest takeaway here is that people learn in different ways. And so some people want that video content. Other people want to read it, and other people need to hear it. And you need to hit people in all three components, all of those areas.

Jeff Coyle: [00:09:51] Absolutely. you’re speaking my language. It’s definitely something that you have to think about, know your persona as well as you think you do.

Making Press Mentions Part of Content Strategy

And I think that really tells a story that you were walking through. So, how do you construct a good press plan, or what’s your hitting goals for a particular client?

Kris Ruby: [00:10:10] So the way that I practice PR is very much dictated by the news cycle. And I think that’s also different than a lot of traditional PR in general, where I believe that they just use this spray and pray approach. They’ll just pitch anyone or look at what that person has written about previously and then send them pitches.

I don’t work that way. There’s proactive versus reactive PR. I like to react to people that are already saying, “I’m writing the story. Do you have an expert?” Because then the likelihood of that actually happening is significantly higher than me coming up with that idea for them and seeing if they’re even gonna write that story.

Jeff Coyle: [00:10:45] Yeah, so true. It’s not even just that; it’s what topics does that source cover? And are they relevant to your business? Cause the link is not a link. DA is not a real actionable in isolation metric. One of the core tenants of marketing is that you need to know where you’re strong, what topics you’re covering, where you have existing strength, where you have an unfair, competitive advantage.

But if you’re getting links from somewhere, that isn’t semantically related and isn’t providing actual connective tissue and value, that’s a number that’s not going to help you in the future. So I think that’s really poignant.

Kris Ruby: [00:11:21] With this proliferation of digital PR, we have so many more channels to consider now. And the way we break it down is there’s regional press, which is, maybe you’re a dentist here, and you just want a press coverage within local magazines, newspaper outlets, where you are, and then there’s national.

In that regard, maybe you want to be on prime time or talk show or the 6:00 PM news. And then there are trade media, which is you want to be featured in the medical trade publications or other dental publications. So we break it down, and that’s what we ask people, “Which one do you want to be in out of those three?”

Jeff Coyle: [00:11:54] Okay. So you’re building kind of tiers by the type of channel. Do they ever say that they only want to be in one of those channels, and then you have to readjust your strategy?

Kris Ruby: [00:12:03] Oh yeah. That’s a great question. So what we have is people say, “I want to be national.” I would say, “Okay, you have to start with local people.”

You don’t just start out at national. So the way that I explain it is that it has to snowball. So it goes. I would say local and then trade and then national. And I think that you need time to build into it to achieve those results properly.

Jeff Coyle: [00:12:26] Yeah.  You’re not getting on Ellen tomorrow, sorry. I can see that happening and the expectation setting being so significant.

You really have to have an exciting pitch. So how do you know what goes into building that package? For someone, which maybe nobody knows, to show that they’re an authority if they don’t already have site content on their site. And then that’s huge there. Someone who has no content on their site and wants to be known as an expert. Are you building out? Does that media plan, or does that package have to be like 50 pages of research references, or what does that look like?

Kris Ruby: [00:13:00] This is a really great point that you bring up, and I’m so glad that you did. In order for us or anyone to pitch you to the media as an expert, you actually have to be an expert.

PRs are not magicians. We can’t make you an expert if you’re not truly an expert, right? Thought leadership means thinking your own thoughts. It doesn’t mean that someone else can consider them for you and then put them out. And I think, by the way, journalists can tell the difference too if someone really is a thought leader.

And that’s why it’s not just that you’re going to hire a PR firm and you’re not going to do any work, and you’re not going to write content. And we’re going to get the same results. It just doesn’t happen that way. So thought leaders really need to be actively involved in the building process.

Sometimes what we’ll say is if you want press, here’s what I need you to do. Join these organizations, be active in the organizations. Do these webinars start speaking on podcasts, do all of these things first before I pitch you anywhere because I need to see more of your activity as an expert in this area before I can pitch you anywhere.

Jeff Coyle: [00:13:59] It’s something we really haven’t approached on our content strategy webinars series, and this is really a lot of net new things.  I think a lot of people only think about this from a link development standpoint or merely think about this from a news or temporal content perspective. But it all needs to be woven together.

And thank you so much for showing us that today and showing me why you do that.

Kris Ruby: [00:14:20] Absolutely. Thank you, Jeff. And thank you to everyone in the whole team at MarketMuse for making this happen. And this was really great. And I learned a lot from you, too, and have such great things to say about MarketMuse in terms of helping me come to these key findings.

I think that wouldn’t be possible without the technology that you’ve created, really, because that’s what made me figure all of this out.

Jeff Coyle: [00:14:42] Rich media optimization is a passion of mine, and I’m so excited that it’s part of your offerings because you’re going to kill it with your organization based on all the success you’ve had.

Yeah. Thanks again. I really appreciate it.

Kris Ruby: [00:14:53] Yeah.


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Stephen leads the content strategy blog for MarketMuse, an AI-powered Content Intelligence and Strategy Platform. You can connect with him on social or his personal blog.