Kris Ruby is the CEO and Founder of Ruby Media Group, an award-winning public relations and media relations agency in Westchester County, New York. Kris Ruby has more than 15 years of experience in the Media and Broadcast Journalism industry. She is a media relations strategist, personal branding specialist, content creator and public relations consultant. Kris is a national television commentator and political pundit and has appeared on national TV programs over 200 times covering big tech bias, politics and social media. She has been featured in OBSERVER, ADWEEK, and countless other industry publications. She graduated from Boston University’s College of Communication with a major in public relations and is a founding member of The Young Entrepreneurs Council. She is also the host of The Kris Ruby Podcast Show, a show focusing on the politics of big tech and the social media industry.
On February 7, 2023, Kris Ruby will share with entrepreneurs how Artificial Intelligence, which has proven to expand the reach and impact of brand and content development strategies, can be implemented in their marketing strategies. Register here.
What does “entrepreneurship” mean to you?
Kris Ruby: To me, entrepreneurship means creating your own path and carving out a unique position to solve an existing market need or future market need. But it is also more than that. Entrepreneurship is also a lifestyle. At times, it can be a very lonely path. The highs are high, and the lows are – well- low. High risk, high reward – but ultimately, all of that risk falls on you.
Successful entrepreneurship entails solving a need, getting your solution to market, and growing the core verticals required to capture subsequent market opportunities and product market fit.
A critical component of entrepreneurship is reinvention.
Businesses cannot remain static, or they will eventually become obsolete. If you are not growing, you are shrinking. If you are not selling your services to your future clients, someone else is.
An entrepreneur must always be thinking about how to innovate and adapt to current market conditions. The original problem you solved for customers when you started your business may not be the problem you need to solve for your customers today.
Reinvention and entrepreneurship are synonymous — the market isn’t going to sit still for me, you, or anyone else. The problems you solved for customers as a first-year founder likely aren’t the problems you need to solve today; the reinvention never ends.
Artificial Intelligence has fundamentally altered my view of entrepreneurship in profound ways as I outline in the article Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and The Future of Marketing. In the article, I discuss how as an entrepreneur, my greatest competitor is now a machine instead of another PR agency. The road to innovation must now be 100x faster than before to keep up with technological advancements in consumer and enterprise AI.
When I launched my social media agency, I worked with consultants to help ideate my corporate logo, tagline, website and brand identity. Today, a business can do all of that with ChatGPT or a few no code AI tools. That is both good and bad. On the one hand, the barrier to entry and cost to entrepreneurship is now significantly lower than it was when I started my company.
On the other, the creative part can now be outsourced to AI. However, just because it can be, doesn’t mean it should be. When I think back to my fondest memories of starting my company and coming up with a name for my business, I think about my Dad writing name options for Ruby Media Group on a yellow notepad in our house in Waccabuc, New York. I love those memories. Most recently, when I was apple picking with my Dad, we met a photographer. He proudly declared, ‘this is my daughter, and her company is named Ruby Media Group. You should know her.’
Those early moments of entrepreneurship are what matter most to me. It is the people along the way who help you create. I don’t think those memories can be created with a machine. I choose sitting in the living room with my family writing out company names any day over AI. Why? Because those discussions became a part of who I am and helped shape the business. I hope AI doesn’t take those moments away for entrepreneurs.
How does your company help other entrepreneurs?
KR: We help entrepreneurs and corporate clients solve current and future business challenges through strategic solutions including AI, Machine Learning, and Public Relations. We aid and assist clients in the process of digital transformation. Ten years ago, that meant a heavy emphasis on social media marketing- today, it has evolved to be focused on Artificial Intelligence Marketing and automation.
The tactics we deploy ultimately depend on the entrepreneur’s goal of the engagement.
• Do they want to turn awareness and exposure into brand equity?
• Stand out in a crowded market?
• Create a new market?
• Capitalize on an existing or upcoming market opportunity?
• Ride an existing trend or use big data to create new trends?
There are many roads but only one destination: Support for and achievement of the client’s business goals and tying the right tactic to their business objective to achieve the mission.
No two PR strategies are the same. For some entrepreneurs, that means deploying a PR campaign that helps entrepreneurs get seen in the media through publicity coverage in mainstream media outlets, podcasts, livestream shows and more. For other founders, it means a rigorous thought leadership marketing campaign with SEO-optimized copy that targets key stakeholders and referral sources to increase visibility.
I have developed and perfected an award-winning three step PR and personal branding process: package, pitch, promote.
PR can drive action by turning awareness and exposure into brand equity. Exposure builds trust, and trust ultimately leads to new business. PR drives credibility for your brand as an entrepreneur, and Ruby Media Group facilitates the ongoing execution and deployment of this process using innovative AI technology.
An entrepreneur saying how great their brand is in a paid advertisement does not build consumer trust or outside confidence. However, other people talking about you and saying how great you are through earned media and trusted media outlets? That is a valuable credibility marker and form of social proof. We facilitate the process of earned media coverage for entrepreneurs, which ultimately helps the entrepreneur gain greater visibility for their business.
As an award-winning PR firm, we get the right people to talk about your brand and business through positive media exposure, publicity and earned media coverage in the magazines, newspapers, TV shows and podcasts your customers love, listen to and watch.
PR builds reputational capital for entrepreneurs. A well-known and well-liked company can weather a crisis better than a company that hasn’t put in the work to build their brand mission, values and ethos. Our vision is to accelerate digital transformation by deploying Artificial Intelligence, earned media & owned media.
Tell us about your first experience with entrepreneurship.
KR: I started my company after graduating from Boston University. In that sense, I’m still living out my first experience with entrepreneurship – the company I started 13 years ago was my first, and I’m still operating it today.
What is your company’s origin story?
KR: I remember telling a professor I wanted to start my own firm after college. His response? Something along the lines of, “That’s risky — follow the straight and narrow path.”
After not following the advice, 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 Manhattan 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 launched 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.
The company was initially started as a social media marketing agency in Westchester County to solve the market needs of businesses who needed help harnessing the power of digital media.
RMG was launched as a social media marketing consulting company. In 2009, I noticed a major issue in social media marketing. The current solutions in the market were falling short due the lack of talent in social media vs. traditionally trained marketing consultants, so I decided to launch a social media consulting agency. I realized that I could innovate in the social media marketing industry by providing a solution that shortened the knowledge gap from concept to execution.
I am passionate about helping entrepreneurs build their brand through earned media coverage and social media marketing. While the tactics have changed over the past decade, the fundamental principles of how to tell a good story have largely remained the same.
I originally started my company in Westchester County with business owners who needed help adapting their marketing strategies to incorporate social media.
I started Ruby Media Group to provide competitive insights on the deployment of social media marketing so that clients could take advantage of the marketing opportunity to gain a competitive edge and modernize their outreach strategy on digital platforms.
What is the biggest reason you started your business and what inspired you to start your business?
KR: I realized a boutique, nimble, and agile consulting practice could deliver a lot more value to the consumer vs. the traditional agency route. The innovation I delivered was the value of knowledge transfer and specialized vertical expertise in digital media – along with social media savviness.
Today, our business helps enterprise clients adapt their communication strategies to incorporate artificial intelligence. We’ve always focused on helping clients by aiding in the process of digital transformation, and harnessing the power of AI technology fits that mission.
In 2023, our mission is still the same, but the tools we use to help clients meet their goals have changed. Our primary focus has always been helping clients stay on top of the latest trends so they can gain a competitive advantage. We help clients harness the power of AI to facilitate the process of enterprise digital transformation.
What did those early days look like and teach you?
KR: At Boston University (BU), I took advantage of every opportunity that BU offered. I did a semester abroad in London and I also did the BU Los Angeles Entertainment Communications program. I completed 13 internships by the time I had graduated in all different aspects of public relations.
I was also involved in Greek Life at BU as a member of Alpha Epsilon Phi Sorority (AEPHI). Internships were beneficial because they helped me gain experience and figure out what sectors of public relations I liked working in.
My experience at BU significantly shaped my future in the communications industry.
For example, a landmark capstone project taught me critical research skills. Learning how to cover a topic extensively through investigative reporting and research is a critical skill to have in your career. I remember all of my visits to the library working on my capstone project.
Today, Google is still one of the top search engines, but I think the art of digging beyond the surface is missed. Too many people do not dig beyond page one of Google search engine results.
As a content marketer, my goal is to create the best and most extensive piece of content on any given topic on the Internet for a client. In many respects, the core skills required to do that include the research skills taught in capstone. AI will not change that goal. In fact, it only further reiterates the need for strong journalism and research skills to truly stand out in a new world of regurgitated content created with AI article spinning tools. None of that contributes to information gain. If someone else can write it, or if you are using an AI tool to rewrite what someone else wrote, that is not journalism. It is plagiarism. Helping people understand ethical AI in the context of content marketing & PR is a core focus of our goal for this year.
While the technology of search engine optimization algorithms frequently changes, the critical thinking skills and research skills do not. The sociology courses I took were also important to understand what motivates people to buy.
To analyze current market trends, you have to know the history relative to the trends. Some of the sociology principles taught at BU are still relevant to the psychology of persuasion, which is really what public relations is all about.
Too often, what is missing in journalism today is the lack of historical context or analysis. The hot topic story is over-indexed, and the historical background is under-indexed. This has led to a black hole of analysis and true insight, which is necessary for people to truly understand the issues. The speed of social media has made it possible for everyone to have an opinion and hot take- this often comes at the detriment of readers because the speed trumps quality of thought.
What do you wish you knew when you started? Is there anything you would do differently?
KR: Every experience is ultimately a process of weeding out the wrong fit to get to the right fit. You will not be for everyone, but you will be for someone. The same is true with your clients, managers and favorite campaigns and engagements throughout your career.
Every experience helps you weed out future bad experiences – it took me a while to figure that out and, now that I have, we are much more particular about working with right-fit clients and taking on the right engagements.
What does “success” look like for you? We’d love to hear your biggest, boldest dream? What do you think will help you achieve it?
KR: The work we do is about two things: Solving complex business challenges and helping clients create their future with AI-powered PR and Marketing technology. Helping people digitally transform and seeing the results of that is always exciting to witness and be part of.
That being said, there are many different types of success and I am a multifaceted person.
When I started my business, every milestone was a first – first big client, first month of more than $XK in billings, first national media mention, first national placement. Fifteen years later, my answer to this question is very different. Industry awards, keynote speaking opportunities, media appearances- all of these are PR success metrics. But for me, I spend a lot of time thinking about my digital legacy. Yes, I even used ChatGPT to write my own obituary- and being the owner of an award-winning PR firm simply won’t cut it for me. I want and need more. So, what does that look like? In addition to running my agency, the content that I write is a form of my digital legacy. I want to continue writing and publishing meaningful work that can help people understand an issue in greater context. When you have knowledge, you have great power and responsibility that comes along with it. To keep that knowledge to yourself and not share it with other people is a great disservice.
So, success means sharing information that can help the public see the broader context and real story that they may not read anywhere else. Investigative journalism is a critical part of what success means to me. And while that work will most likely not lead to new client opportunities, it leads to internal satisfaction that I did something to help make the world a better place in the best way I know how to. To me, that is success. A perfect example would be the recent deep dive expose I did on how Twitter used AI in content moderation. As a side note, Elon Musk tweeted that the thread I wrote was worth a read.
PR SUCCESS: The value of PR is not in any one media placement. The true value in public relations is in the accumulation of credibility and trust that PR brings you over time. This leads to your body of work as an expert practitioner. Op eds, podcasts, published articles, webinars.. all of this shows potential customers, patients, and clients your range of expertise. In the world we live in today, people expect that of expert- led firms and entrepreneurs. In fact, people question entrepreneurs who don’t engage in these activities. Maintaining a steady online presence through social media marketing and digital PR is a requirement for any entrepreneur.
My philosophy on PR is that it is never about the ROI of any *one* booking or press placement. My personal philosophy is that it is about all of the press placements together over time to build your brand.
I have seen the power of the media and its ability to transform someone from a regular person to a credible expert. I am not here to judge the reasons why someone wants media exposure. National media is the difference between having no one know who you are, and having people know who you are before you ever introduce yourself. When you are up against other international competitors, that competitive PR advantage means the difference between making it to the next round, or getting cut. That difference can mean an investor saying yes, or not getting the next round of funding.
CONTENT MARKETING SUCCESS: Success is contributing to a client’s digital legacy by publishing educational content that helps their clients and searchers. We create content that leads to true knowledge gain, and we are proud of the work we create. Content creates your digital legacy. For example, we worked with one international cardiologist to publish articles on diabetic foot ulcers and amputation prevention.
This work helps people understand the full spectrum of diabetic foot care and the microvascular complications of diabetes. The work has a legacy online above and beyond our agency working with the client. To me, that is success. If someone can read content we helped a doctor create long after we are gone, and that article helps them, that is true success.
Too often, SEOs measure success by rankings, and I think that is a mistake. The process of knowledge extraction is hard to do- and getting people to make the time to do it is even more challenging. We specialize in long form content that is thorough and investigative in nature. Getting that information into the hands of someone who needs it is equally as important as the information itself. This is where PR, SEO, and Content Marketing must work together. To me, the ultimate level of success would be if our article helped save a life and limb from amputation after stumbling upon an article we helped write. Writing content that converts must also mean converting the action and behavior of the person who is reading it.
PR/AGENCY CONSULTING SUCCESS: A successful consulting engagement must include respect for the exchange of value and knowledge transfer. If someone is looking for an order taker instead of true consulting insights, the lack of alignment will hurt the relationship. If you do not have alignment on exchange of value, neither party will be happy. Work with clients who value what you bring to the table. For some clients, that looks like action items. For others, it takes the form of strategic insights shared in a meeting that lead to deliverables their team can execute on.
INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM/ PUNDIT SUCCESS: I am passionate about the politics of big tech and social media and the increasingly critical roles social platforms play in shaping elections and public opinion. My deep dive investigative journalism has focused on topics including:
• Artificial Intelligence on Twitter
• Cancel Culture: The Playbook for Defending Your Brand
• The State of Social Media Harassment
• Political Bias: How Google Quality Rater Guidelines Impact SERPS
I view all of this investigative journalism, reporting, and research as a contribution to my industry. There are not many people who are willing to use their real name attached to some of the work I publish due to the political nature of this commentary, so I believe I am making a difference. For example, after launching the largest political club on Clubhouse, it inspired a blind woman to create her own club. I thought that was really quite special. I love hearing stories like that and inspiring other women to get past their own fear to say what they think unapologetically.
Part of the reason I continue doing what I do despite the dire consequences it often has on me personally (and emotionally) is that if I don’t do it, who will? Your voice is important. The easier route would be to silence myself and self-censor and not get involved in the largest political battles of our time. But nothing worth fighting for was ever easy, and if we don’t try, then we aren’t living up to our true potential.
Success to me in my investigative journalism work means educating the public at large about the dangers of AI and Machine Learning in social media content moderation. Too many people believe that humans are making decisions that have actually bee automated for years. Additionally, if you aren’t thinking about how AI will replace your business right now, you are thinking about the wrong thing. AI has the potential to wipeout entire industries. We must strategically consider the value we offer that AI cannot replace. This is a true lightbulb/electricity/ printing press moment. I don’t truly think people grasp that.
What is your superpower as an entrepreneur?
• Being able to stick with highly complex topics for long periods of time.
• Obsessiveness about the most challenging task and tenaciousness to get the impossible done.
• Killer instinct and news judgment.
• Intellectual curiosity.
• Devoted work ethic.
• Determined and resilient.
What is your proudest and darkest moment so far? Share a key high and a key low from your journey if you can.
KR: Every day in the media relations and PR industry is challenging. Perhaps you present a new idea and can’t obtain internal buy-in with the C Suite or key stakeholders to push it forward. Or maybe you secured a tier-1 media interview on a national media outlet but the client turned it down or isn’t available. Or maybe you were booked for a major TV interview and it was canceled at the 11th hour.
As a national TV pundit and founder of a media relations agency, I can’t think of a single day when things *did* perfectly fall into place. Female entrepreneurship is a highly glorified concept on social media. The reality of it is far different than can be seen on social media.
Being a public figure in the media comes with a high price. Over the past year, I was the victim of an extended digital smear campaign and social media harassment. This disrupted my life and business and made me want to completely disappear from the Internet. Even now, I am still afraid to post photos online and I am much more reserved about what I post online due to this experience. It was hard for me to see the extreme depths of darkness and destruction people will go in an attempt to destroy others.
We help clients with crisis communications PR services who are in the middle of severe online reputation management issues and cancellation. However, this experience gave me more empathy for victims of digital abuse after experiencing it. I don’t think people realize how destructive this can be and the emotional toll it takes on every aspect of your life and business. Your digital reality can intersect with your real-world reality- and that is what people don’t realize until it is too late.
Privately, so many women have reached out to me sharing similar experiences after hearing me speak about social media harassment in a legal webinar on this topic. Professional women have difficulty discussing this because they want it to go away and it is difficult to admit or discuss.
There isn’t a day that goes by that I still wonder if it will start up again. I am not the same person I was before all of that happened, and I am much less trusting. An experience like this can certainly lead to isolation. Social media can be a portal for good but also a portal for harassment at scale. I don’t talk about the experience, but it certainly took an emotional toll on me and has impacted my ability to want to share about my life on social media.
When you run a social media agency, and you are a public figure, you are expected to be out there, in the public, on social media. This experience impacted my willingness and desire to want to stay in the public on social media.
One bad actor can change your entire future trajectory of wanting to stay out there on social media. I hope my outlook changes in the future, but for now, I continue to remain extremely cautious.
What are your personal driving principals, your top values?
KR: RMG is on a mission to increase the deployment of artificial intelligence tactics in social media marketing and PR. We aim to support enterprise organizations on their road to innovation. Our values reflect our belief in ensuring The United States wins the AI war.
Personal driving principles and values:
• Moral Compass
How have your personal principles and values shaped your company’s values and principles? Give us some examples.
KR: Unfortunately, PR is a business that some unethical actors can thrive in. Like every industry, you have good actors and bad actors. Too often, the bad actors overshadow the good ones, which leads to rampant industry distrust and negative portrayals of PR. Some unethical PR characters offer pay for placement coverage, produce work that doesn’t move the needle, are not transparent about advice that helps the agency but doesn’t help the client, etc.
My principles for life adapt to my work.
• Full honesty and transparency with all work.
• Does the work I do leave the world a better place?
• Did I help the client create a digital legacy they are proud of?
• Did I leave the client in a better situation than they were in before they hired me?
• Have I changed the digital SERP results for the client for the better?
Every woman in business needs to find some level of joy in what they do. You won’t love everything you can do, but you must love at least part of it. Find those parts, and make sure they are baked into every client engagement or else you will resent the work you are doing.
• Work for clients you believe in.
• Create content you are proud of.
• Work with clients who you learn from every day.
• Inspire others by surrounding yourself with those who inspire you.
We spend the majority of our lives working. Make sure it is doing something you like and most importantly, make sure the work is for people you like and who treat you well. If you don’t have baseline respect in professional relationships, the rest of it won’t matter. Healing means healing all aspects of ourselves, including who you choose to work with, too.
How have your personal principles and values shaped your company’s values and principles? Give us some examples.
KR: Even on your toughest day as an entrepreneur, the silver lining is when clients recognize your integrity and acknowledge it. I cherish that and lean into the value of feedback like this — it impacts the work we say yes to, informs the counsel we give and, occasionally, tells us when it’s time to part ways.
Internally, I’ve worked hard to create a company culture that is neurodiverse inclusive. The rise of artificial intelligence in marketing and generative AI will create exciting new work opportunities, especially for neurodiverse talent, and we want to amplify those who are doing amazing creative work in AI.
Your values and personal principles impact the work you say yes to. When you first start out in business, you tend to say yes to more. As you gain more experience, you refine what you take on because you have a greater understanding of the factors that will contribute to success. Success is not only limited to the actual creative deliverables of the campaign. How do you feel about the work? Are you proud of it? Do you feel good about it? Does the client feel good about it? Did you use your talent to create something meaningful?
Are you wasting your life? If you feel this way- make a change. Now. It is never too late to shift careers if your answer is no to any of the above questions. Entrepreneurs get stuck because they are afraid to move away from what they first started. Give yourself permission to explore the unknown.
My personal principles and values are publicly displayed through my commentary as a national TV pundit on big tech and social media. There are no surprises. People can read my articles on topics like cancel culture or brand activism and know where I stand.
Marketing puts people in the right funnel and helps you get to yes (or no) faster. Agencies are an extension of your marketing and communications team, so it is important to work with agencies that align with what you stand for.
Your purpose must align with your mission statement.
• How can you align that to new opportunities in the market like AI?
• What is your intention to create as an entrepreneur?
• That must come through in the content you create as an entrepreneur to launch a true movement around your mission.
At Ruby Media Group, here are some words that represent our culture and values:
Harmony: Harmony with clients is important for a successful consulting engagement. The day-to-day agency operations and internal communication preferences must align for this to occur.
Acknowledgment: Does the client acknowledge when you achieve critical benchmarks and milestones? Do you acknowledge when the client has achieved internal company milestones? Mutual respect is critical for a successful engagement.
Gratitude: Is the client grateful to be working with your consulting agency or do they treat you as disposable? How you treat the agency impacts an agencies motivation to do their best creative work.
Structure: Do you have a mutually agreed upon communication structure and more importantly, do you both stick to it? This includes standard operating procedures, not breaking processes, showing up to agreed-upon scheduled meetings, and displaying a mutual respect for each entity.
Honesty & Integrity: Do you trust the client? In crisis communications and PR, if a client leaves something out, they could significantly harm a campaign if a media outlet reveals a detail your client failed to disclose. Do you trust you are getting the whole truth from the client? Does the client trust that you are the right person for the job? If not, it will look like constant second guessing, mistrust, pitting agencies against each other, and continuous reapproval for the work you already thought you won.
Achievement: At Ruby Media Group, we pitch to win. If we pitch a media outlet, we want to know we have the best possible chance of media coverage. Winning is important to us. While some agencies send clients status reports saying- here is how many outlets we pitched this month, we don’t. If we send something to a client, it must be an interview request. Do you have a shared culture of achievement? The agency and client must be on the same page with this. If an agency like ours will only find satisfaction with achievement through deliverables, and you bottleneck the process, this will erode the relationship over time.
Adaptability: The freedom to try experimental PR channels like social audio is essential to win attention in the digital economy. Do you have the freedom to be nimble and adapt or does the client prefer you stick to tried and true tactics?
Intellectual curiosity: A commitment to learning is critical and creates a culture of innovation. Are you intellectually curious about the client’s industry? If not, the impact of the work is limited to only what you know. The best campaigns are produced by people who care about the brands and products they promote and represent. Never stop learning or asking questions.
Innovation: Generative AI is changing the landscape of creative agency work. We are committed to the pursuit of expertise through investments in continued education, advanced technology, artificial intelligence and media.
Continuous learning: This is critical for industry and agency growth. As a consultant, you are in the business of expertise. That requires constant learning to provide clients with business insights and competitive intelligence. You cannot do that if you stop learning. Expertise is not a static concept. Your expertise must be watered like a plant daily to keep it growing. PR is part of the process of keeping the plant alive; by watering the plant with speaking engagements, podcasts, and published articles, you are feeding your expertise, which benefits your clients. These activities force a consultant to stay on top of their craft.
Freedom, Autonomy & Independence: How can you produce your best work? We are hired as an expert-led consulting solution. Micromanagement won’t work- and if someone is looking for that type of relationship, we probably aren’t the best fit. You have to know the conditions you will thrive in to produce the best work for clients.
Security: If we invest significant time and resources into generating stellar creative work for your company, will you stick around or are you more likely to agency hop? We want to work with companies where there is a greater likelihood of a long-term work relationship so that we can get the best possible results for them. Not everyone wants this, so it is important to assess agency compatibility upfront.
Dependability: You can depend on us to show up. Can we depend on you? If we secure a media interview, will you say yes? What is the yes to no ratio? Will you burn our media relationships? These are questions that every agency thinks about. In media relations, dependability is a two-way street.
Trust & Loyalty: There have been many times in my career when I have turned down direct competitors of clients. Even though I didn’t have to, I wanted to and felt it was the right thing to do. Trust and loyalty are a two-way street. Will the client fire you after reading a cold email from an unknown agency on a whim? If you don’t trust that the relationship is stable, it will negatively impact the foundation of all creative work.
Commitment to excellence: RMG is committed to excellence in the creative work we produce for clients. If we have to rewrite a piece of content ten times until it ranks on search engines, we will. A culture around commitment to excellence must be shared with a client for this to work. If a client does not want to engage in the process of content optimization and pruning, it will be hard to achieve excellence on SERPs.
Perseverance & Persistence: I always say, turn every no into a yes (in business). By this I mean that if you pitch a media outlet and they say no, keep pitching until a different outlet says yes. Don’t be afraid to go back to the drawing board on strategy and narrative creation until you hit the stated benchmarks and KPIs.
What’s it like to work alone or with your partners?
KR: I thrive in autonomous work environments. I love it and do my best work this way. Directing a consulting engagement as an expert led firm is critical to keeping the engagement on track. The second you lose control of this process; the engagement can go off the rails. Too many entrepreneurs learn this lesson after it Is already too late because they want to keep the client, even if the client is asking them to do something that goes against industry standards or best practices. You were hired for your subject matter expertise. Always remember this. A surgeon does not take counsel from a patient on how to use a scalpel or do a procedure. Neither should you.
Do you have a mentor? Tell us about what makes them valuable to you and your business?
KR: I always like to say everyone has mentors, whether they realize it or not – going alone with no outside counsel or wisdom isn’t just lonely, it’s a pretty quick path to crashing and burning your business.
I turn to different people for different things, but it’s a fairly small group.
What role does mentorship play in your world (as a mentor or mentee)?
KR: I’m passionate about teaching women in PR how to make more data-driven decisions. As an industry, we’ve relied on mentions of “visibility” and “buzz building” for far too long. Those terms are important, but they become valuable only when they are informed by hard data and proven with measurable KPIs.
I always encourage those who work with me to invest in continuous education and resources to further their industry knowledge. I am a mentor to many people and enjoy passing on knowledge from the last decade in the PR industry and helping those who are just getting started in their careers.
Many of my mentees have kept in touch with me for career advice years after working with RMG. I love helping them, offering career advice, and seeing their professional progress. I recognize the need for strong, skilled talent in the PR industry and work hard to develop and nurture talent to in turn foster successful future leaders.
Many entrepreneurs continue to perfect their daily routines to support their work and greater vision; would you mind sharing your morning routine or a regular ritual that grounds your work each day?
KR: Innovate. Adapt. Create. I wake up every day and say, “What am I going to create today?” When you have that mindset, you can turn the most mundane tasks into a work of art. Google is your canvas. Start painting.
What are you reading or have read?
• National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence: Final Report
• Barbara Minto “The Pyramid Principle”
Where do you go for inspiration?
• The Catskills
Do you have a favorite quote, mantra, or words of wisdom to get through the tough days?
KR: “Being wrong could be forgiven, but a pattern of not having a concise, defensible point of view on relevant topics could not be.” -David C. Baker
This quote speaks to the importance of PR as a lifelong executive endeavor, not a one-off blitz.
“What role does expertise play in your business model? Can you commercialize your insight in ways that fit your own style and personality? The points of view that you develop will be the frequent launching pads for myriad opportunities in the future, and you’ll sleep better at night knowing what you know and what you don’t. There are dozens of new topics on my current list, and that doesn’t discourage me — it excites me.”- David C. Baker
“Turn every no into a yes.” -Kris Ruby, CEO, Ruby Media Group
What is a problem that keeps you up at night?
KR: How can we enlist more talent to win the AI war? How can artificial intelligence be used by social media companies to tip the scales with political algorithmic bias, and what is the solution to this problem? My current research is focused on this issue, and over the past month, I have spent over twenty hours a day investigating how Twitter used artificial intelligence and machine learning in content moderation and breaking down natural language processing.
In the future, wars will be fought and won differently, and AI plays a large role in this. If The United States does not have the right talent to win this war, we stand to lose our leadership position on the world stage as a global leader in technology.
Artificial intelligence is going to transform marketing and PR. But what I come back to time and again, and what I don’t hear enough people talking about, is how businesses will need to adapt their go-to-market strategies for a world where the marginal cost of content production has decreased. We can expect the marginal expectation of trust for that content to decrease as well. That’s not a communication issue or a PR issue; it’s a business-strategy issue, and we’re trying to help clients get in front of it.
I believe this will give rise to reporting and investigative journalism – the type of content and research AI cannot pump out. We are entering a new renaissance where journalists will have significant value in the content marketing process- if you can produce content that AI cannot- you will win.
The key is to produce content that leads to true information gain. All of that goes back to investigative journalism and facts that may not be in the corpus of a model. If it’s not in a model, it is probably extremely valuable. That will be the future of journalism. How can we write the story that AI *can’t? * write? What do we know that AI *doesn’t* know? How can we use our platform to speak out against instances of political algorithmic bias when we see it?
We must be willing to speak up when this happens. If not you, who? If not now, when? If you are not willing to risk it all for the truth, then maybe you shouldn’t be leading anyone as a thought leader. It is called thought leadership not followership. Those who lead must be willing to pay the high price of cancelation, loneliness, and weaponized smear campaigns.
Doing the right thing is often at the opposite end of the most popular thing. Far too many people discuss that. They want the high follower count without sharing what it takes to get there- and what it means to stay there and manage an audience. It is a responsibility, and not one that I take lightly.
How do you think about helping others through your work?
KR: I think all entrepreneurs are at risk of making themselves the center of a hero’s-journey narrative, and I try to remain humble. But I do think my work helps a lot of people. Whether it’s helping our clients grow and, in the process, helping them treat more patients to prevent amputation or shining light on complex issues that impact public understanding and public policy, strategic communication, if done correctly, is an act of public service.
What advice do you have for fellow (and aspiring) entrepreneurs building and leading teams?
KR: You need to have the humility to know what you’re not good at – and know that people who don’t think like you or look like you may be very good at things you’re not. If you can’t get over that ego hurdle, you’ll do nothing but hire clones of yourself. And when you do that? Your enterprise might be miles wide but it will only be an inch deep in terms of resiliency and strategic thought. Keep people around you that challenge you and who bring skills to the table that you don’t. And when you have those people, nurture them so that they don’t leave. When they disagree with you, listen to them. The second you stop learning or asking questions is the day your business dies.
What kind of an entrepreneur do you want to be known as – as in, what do you want your legacy to be?
KR: I want my legacy to be that I I helped clients get educational information out to people who need it the most through media relations and PR outreach. I am most proud of the PR work I have done for surgeons. I worked with one interventional cardiologist who specialized in amputation prevention and the care and treatment of the diabetic foot. We hosted rooms on Clubhouse on diabetic foot ulcers and the microvascular complications of diabetes, and a family member tuned into that room. In that room, they met another woman who I can describe as nothing sort of an angel when it came to diabetic foot ulcers and wound care. I can honestly say that the room changed the trajectory of their treatment.
I am so grateful that I worked with that Doctor and met a woman who specialized in wound care – because through my work, I created content that helped to save limbs and lives. If my writing leads to one toe or foot being saved, to me, that is a good legacy. If I create content that saves someone’s limb as a result of exposure to that content or surgeon, then I know I have left the world a better place. The content lives on beyond me- and the number of people it can help exponentially grows as a digital asset over time.
That is the type of work I want to be doing. The type of work AI can’t do. Knowledge extraction of the people doing that work is critical to making sure it moves from mind to paper so that we can help more people. The type of practitioner engaging in article spinning or low-quality spam practices doesn’t care about that- they care about ranking. Ranking does not equate to helping people. It is ephemeral and goes up and down over time.
Knowledge that truly helps someone does not- and I have dedicated my life and practice to extracting that knowledge from subject matter experts who can help others if more people are exposed to their educational content.
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