Business owner and public relations master Ruth Furman amassed success by building character and characters, a relationship at a time.
In a recent interview on the “Entrepreneur Showcase” video podcast, Furman described how focusing on people and their stories helped build a business that, if it were a person, could this year order a celebratory cocktail.
Furman, a member of the Southern Nevada chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners, owns ImageWords, a 21-year-old public relations and marketing agency serving the Las Vegas Valley and beyond. The 30-minute interview with former KLAS-TV reporter Patranya Bhoolsuwan, posted on YouTube, covered Furman’s career origins, strategies and gratitude, personal and professional.
Bhoolsuwan recalled working with Furman and marveling at her knack for people connecting. Furman said such bond building is part of her brand promise for clients, local, regional and national.
Furman said she assesses what clients need — media training, referrals, campaigns — and tailors her approach accordingly. It’s important, she said, that clients get the tools they need to get their stories told in the best possible light. Sometimes, she said, the best tool is sponsored content, which lets clients shape and deliver their messages exactly as they wish. It’s not free, but the investment pays off.
If clients would rather pursue traditional media coverage, Furman manages their expectations, explaining that news has a different aim than ads, then assesses what news reporters need. She’ll find the best reporters for the story and work around their deadlines.
“It’s actually not about me and my business that much,” Furman said. “It’s more about what’s going to make a better story, because that is going to have the reporter come back to me, over and over again.”
Furman said she practices “newsjacketing” something she learned from journalism studies at Indiana University. Furman described a journalism professor’s directive to read The Wall Street Journal’s “What’s news” section — a series of story summaries — and how it kept her and her classmates up on current events.
Knowing the news helps connect clients, journalists and stories. For example, she said, knowing about the current children’s cold medicine shortage would help her prepare healthcare professionals to answer questions on that topic on air and on the record.
Sometimes a story that starts in one place can resonate elsewhere, Furman said.
“I like to say, ‘Big gets small and small gets big,’” Furman said. “I can make a local story go national. And I like to make noise when everyone else is quiet; that’s how I get attention for my clients; that’s also how I build brands.”
Similar tactics help Furman build bridges. During the coronavirus pandemic shutdown, Furman said she talked with women from all sorts of professions who were struggling and connected them with reporters she knew. That way, the women got their stories told, which helped them forge new connections, and reporters satisfied their need for stories.
Furman said a winning attitude keeps her motivated. She said she works always to curate joy, stay flexible and see possibilities. A former client said to her, “Don’t tell me what you can’t do, tell me what you can do.” The takeaway: results are sexy; excuses are tacky.
“I always have tricks up my sleeve to activate when life happens,” Furman said, “because it always does.”
Patranya Media LLC produces the “Entrepreneur Showcase Series” with Parkway Media. Visit ruthfurman.com for information on Ruth Furman and ImageWords.