PR Lessons from Kris Ruby
by Hetty La
I’ve heard from many fellow JPR students that public relations is a hard field to study academically. And this is true; public relations is very much a hands-on industry, one that’s ever-evolving and difficult to capture in a classroom setting. Despite this challenge, PR professors find innovative ways to help students learn the wisdom necessary to excel in their careers.
This semester in JOUR 470: Digital PR Toolbox, students got to hear from Kris Ruby, a well-known public relations professional and entrepreneur!
Kris Ruby founded Ruby Media Group, a public relations and social media agency, where she currently serves as CEO. She is a social media specialist and publicist who has appeared on networks such as FOX Business, NBC, ABC, BRAVO! as an on-air contributor.
Ruby found her niche in PR after graduating from Boston University’s College of Communications and completing a whopping 13 internships in different industries. Safe to say, her treasure trove of wisdom is great and plentiful!
She hosted a Q&A session over Facebook Live with students in Journalism 470, where students got their questions about PR answered in real time!
Here are five gems of wisdom Ruby offered to students hoping to build a career in public relations.
1. When pursuing internships, make sure to be careful and concise.
Following directions is of utmost importance; if a potential employer asks that you send certain components (i.e., resume, writing sample, etc.), make sure you send exactly what he or she requests. No more and no less. Also, don’t be careless with your writing. Double check for any typos or grammatical errors.
Ruby also emphasized the importance of consistency to stand out in a sea of competitors.
“I think at the end of the day, people innately want to help other people,” Ruby said. “Consistency is key and passion trumps everything else.”
2. Surround yourself with people you can learn from.
Be open to collaborating with as many people as you can, even those you might not expect to work with. You never know what you might be able to learn from others and likewise, you never know what you may be able to teach them!
“Learning is a two way street,” Ruby said. “As millennials you inherently bring so much value to the table as to what you could be showing someone.”
3. Get your written work published as much as possible.
Having a good-sized collection of published work impresses potential employers because it shows that you’re driven and committed to your work. Focus on honing your writing skills and pitching skills to get your work out there!
“I once received a portfolio with a lot of published work from an intern, and I thought ‘Wow, is this a student or a freelancer?’” Ruby said.
4. Know how to tell a story.
Even as the field of public relations rapidly evolves, the importance of good writing will never diminish. As PR professionals, we often will have to work with journalists to achieve our goals. Journalists are inherently storytellers, and it’s essential to know what they’re looking for to successfully pitch your ideas. Remember to create content that tells a story rather than content that just markets a product or service.
“How can you be a PR professional if you don’t understand what happens on the other side?” Ruby said. “You have to understand what journalists want. This will never change whether you’re dealing with print or digital.”
5. Be kind to everybody.
While treating everyone respectfully is important in every age and setting, it is more pertinent today than ever. At one point or another in your career, you will likely work with somebody you don’t get along with. It’s important to handle every situation with grace and respect, even if things get rocky.
“We are in an age where you will get blasted for your bad behavior,” Ruby said.
And she’s right! In today’s age of social media, even one snarky remark can land you in hot water with your constituents. Your reputation lies not only in your professional work but in your ability to work well with others.
As an established professional in the industry, Kris Ruby’s gems of wisdom don’t end here. She is generous in sharing her knowledge online. You can visit her website, follow her on Twitter, connect on LinkedIn or like the Ruby Media Group page on Facebook!
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