Cindy West, Author at INK inc PR

INK inc. Public Relations Names Ryan Gerding President, Signs Three New National Accounts

Ryan GerdingOverland Park, KS–INK inc. Public Relations, the oldest and largest pay for performance PR firm in the country, today announced Ryan Gerding has been named as the company’s President and Chief Operating Officer. Gerding previously served as Senior Vice President, Client Services for INK. INK also announced it has signed three new national accounts: construction technology firm Rhumbix, eco-friendly fashion maker Bioscarf, and internationally known exhibition company Imagine Exhibitions.

“When I started this company 20 years ago, a lot of PR people told me our pay for performance model was an aberration and so far outside the norm that it would never work,” said INK founder, Chairman, and CEO Dick Grove. “Twenty years later we’re still here and growing, and with Ryan’s leadership, I’m confident we’ll be annoying those same folks for the next 20 years.”

Grove will remain Chairman and CEO, focusing on new business and finishing his book outlining INK’s unique PR approach.  Gerding will be responsible for overseeing all INK accounts on a day to day basis and working to ensure maximum media coverage for each.

“INK inc. is PR without the BS,” said Gerding. “For 20 years clients all over the U.S. and around the world have come to us because they are tired of the way most traditional PR firms work. They don’t want to pay fat retainers every month. They don’t want firms that bill by the hour where a meter is running every time someone thinks about them. And they don’t want their account work handed off to inexperienced newbies.  They want to work with an agency that provides accountability and results.”


The newest companies added to the INK roster of clients include:

 Rhumbix ( is a San Francisco-based technology company that is modernizing the construction industry by helping builders go paperless in the field and improving how they track and manage their workers.

 Bioscarf ( is an Atlanta company that makes fashionable, functional scarves that can protect people from the dangers of pollution and germs. When worn properly over the face, these scarves can provide as much protection from smoke and smog and germs as a respiratory mask does.

 Imagine Exhibitions ( is currently producing over 35 unique exhibitions globally in museums, science centers, aquariums, integrated resorts, and non-traditional venues, with millions of people around the world visiting our exhibitions each year.

“Each of these companies came to INK because they wanted accountability and results,” Grove said. “I’m confident that with Ryan’s leadership and the work of the great folks on our INK team, we will deliver.”


About INK inc. PR

INK inc. Public Relations is the oldest and largest pay for performance public relations firm in the United States. INK delivers PR without the BS. That means results under a pay for performance model with senior level people working on your behalf. INK’s corporate office is in Overland Park, Kansas. But most of our people work out of home offices around the country. That means we can tap the best talent no matter where they live. And it means our clients aren’t paying extra every month so we can afford a glimmering office in New York City or Silicon Valley. That’s it. Results, experience, accountability. PR without the BS. Learn more by visiting

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Pay-for-Performance

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Pay-for-Performance PR

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Pay-for-Performance PR

One truth is not so self-evident — all PR firms are not created equal. This certainly goes for those of us in the profession dedicated to the proposition that charging by the hour might be appropriate for parking or a masseuse, but not for public relations … and absolutely not for media relations outreach. It seems the economic recession of the last four years has once again turned attention within our profession toward something “unique,” something “new,” something almost “revolutionary” … pay-for-performance PR. Once more, a compensation model that is practically as old as the profession itself and is practiced by hundreds of publicists in between “real career jobs,” but only by a few firms successfully on an institutional basis, is being trotted out of the shadows into the bright sunlight by the business and trade media as either the “answer” to reduced marketing budgets at best … or as a viable test for companies willing to experiment. Read more…

Catching and Riding the Media Wave

Courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Courtesy of Adobe Stock.

You have been there before; the media is covering a topic that is relevant to your business, but you still cannot find a way to get yourself into the conversation. It seems the media is not interested in what you have to say, or maybe you don’t know what to say. In the end, it goes by as a lost opportunity.

As always, barring doing something terrible, there is no sure way to guarantee that you will end up in the media. However, you may be able to follow some steps to ensure you have the best shot at making it into the news. See below for four steps to take when trying to catch a media wave.

Listen To What They Are Saying

It may sound obvious, but many times reporters complain that they receive pitches about things that are not remotely relevant to the discussion at hand. Sometimes a pitch that seems relevant to you may not seem relevant to a reporter. For this reason, make sure to connect your pitch to what is going on in the body of the email—always remembering to keep a certain degree of brevity.

Look At Who Is Listening

Different types of people are going to be interested in different types of news. Although it is almost certain that when the topic is relevant to your business the audience is one that would benefit your business, make sure to be aware of who is listening so to craft your message accordingly. A quick look at the response to the news on social media will also give insight at who is listening and what they have to say about it. Do they have any questions that you may be able to answer?

Plan What Your Are Going To Say

This may be both the easiest and the hardest step. Sometimes you may know exactly what you are going to say but can’t get the media interested, and sometimes you know you would be of interest but you don’t know what to say. In general, you can break down what you can say into three different categories: advice or commentary, statistics, and solutions. When deciding which one of the three to present, ensure you have a credible pitch and target the needs of the audience you have already determined is listening to the news.

Join the conversation

Just because you cannot end up on TV or in the news doesn’t mean you have to be left out of the conversation. Now thanks to social media you can tweet or post directly in the middle of all the talking. You can reply to a commenter’s question, provide follow up to a news article, or just add your own commentary. By targeting a reporter with a well-crafted comment concerning their article, you may even be able to catch their attention and get an article of your own.

Hopefully the above will help you plan out your approach better the next time a topic of interest comes up.

Maximizing INK and Improving Your SEO

Courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Since the beginning of the internet, business owners have been conscientious about how their business ranks up against the competition in appearing in online searches- their SEO. After all, less than 10 percent of users advance to page 2 of a Google search. Many understand that the more links and articles one gets online, the higher the chances are one will end up on the first search page. However, depending on one’s goals and techniques, the first page appearance might not be as elusive as one thinks.

A good way to start is to identify the key words one wants to associate their business with; let us assume “pay for performance pr.” Depending on the type of traffic one wants, one can choose what terms to focus on. For example, focusing on “pay for performance” public relations limits who looks at one’s page to those specifically interested in “pay for performance” as opposed to just “public relations.” It would be safe to infer that those looking for pay for performance public relations are those making business decisions, as opposed to students or just the general populace interested in the broad public relations field.

Once one has identified the keywords that one wants to focus on and “brand” their business as for SEO purposes, then comes the tricky part. Although all types of links do play a role in the chances of one making an appearance higher in the search list, those links that include the key words have a higher weight to them in the Google algorithm. As a result, one would want to have as many stories linking to their website as possible. The holy grail, of course, would be an article that, in this case, has “INK, a pay for performance agency,” as the link to INK’s website.

So, what should the link lead the reader to? Generally, it is not a good idea to link to the homepage of one’s business. Although in this scenario linking to our home page is not a bad idea because we are targeting business owners who are probably interested in the quick overview of INK, other businesses’ target audience may have different interests. As a separate example, consider one who is trying to link the keywords “malware remover” to one’s business. Given the industry, the most newsworthy stories such a business has are usually statistics of infections. Thus, one has to connect such statistics with the fact one is a malware remover. An example of a good link to include would probably be labeled as, “based on Company X’s malware removal statistics.” This link should then send the reader to the statistics itself (usually located in the website’s blog) as opposed to the homepage. This will then help generate more clicks as an interested reader then peruses through the rest of the articles and thus drives up one’s SEO even further.

Admittedly, getting the perfect link is hard. After all, it is the journalists that have the final say on what gets published. However, with a little bit of tact, one can guide the journalist by either presenting a press release or discussing it to increase one’s chances of having a good link. As always, it helps to have realistic expectations.

INK has had years of experience in getting ink, or stories, about clients. However, as one can see, getting placements can have a much wider and longer lasting impact than just increasing publicity.

Media Relations: Knowledge=Success


I was reviewing a story about one of our clients, Philip and Katy Leakey, written by David Brooks of The New York Times, “The Question-Driven Life.”  There is a quote referenced in this article by the late Richard Holbrook that stands out, which describes the philosophy of the Leakey’s, one which they live by and makes me smile with memories of my interview with Philip:  “Know something about something. Don’t just present your wonderful self to the world. Constantly amass knowledge and offer it around.”

It reminded me of why educating clients on what media relations is, what it’s based upon, and what it does, makes for a partnership that delivers successful outcomes.

Media relations in its most basic form is convincing a journalist that a client has the most newsworthy story that they’ve never heard…then convincing this journalist to present that story to their audience.  The former is done in the form of a pitch that tells the journalist the who, what, when, why and where that is informative but not an ad.  The latter is explaining why this story is a great fit for their audience.  But it all starts with knowledge.

To gain that, we must work in tandem with the client and immerse ourselves in the background of the company and how it has evolved. We find out how it differentiates itself from its competitors. We want to know what problems it solves for businesses; or how its product enhances the life of those who buy it. We want to know what was the creative genesis of the company.  And we want to how the business operates.  Is there anything significant that sets it apart in their corporate culture that makes it stand out amongst top companies.  How does it handle client/customer service that end users rave about?  Does it push industry standards to another level? Where do you see your industry in 5 years or more? Is the C-Suite full of thought leaders, and what areas of expertise can they speak to? Can the company provide examples of success? How is the CEO on camera in delivering great information?

We are a client’s first interview.  We think like reporters and producers and many of us at INK, have that experience and those news instincts. We prefer to meet in person and at the client’s place of business because this is the best climate for discovering the nuanced story angles that most clients never think about.

Bottom line, successful media relations is based on education and knowledge.   We and our clients must “Know something about something. Don’t just present your wonderful self to the world. Constantly amass knowledge and offer it around.”

Now go and check out our case study on the Leakey’s and enjoy the story.