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BEARCE: Good afternoon. This is Liz Bearce, Director of Marketing Communications with IMN, and today I am speaking with Erika Taylor Montgomery, CEO and Chief Publicist at Three Girls Media. Welcome, Erika.
MONTGOMERY: Thanks, Liz. Thanks for having me.
BEARCE: Thanks a lot for joining us. So, can you tell us a little bit about yourself, and Three Girls Media and what you guys are up to these days?
MONTGOMERY: Sure, absolutely. Well, my name, as you said, is Erika Taylor Montgomery, and I am the CEO and Chief Publicist of Three Girls Media and Marketing. We’re a boutique public relations agency that’s based right in the heart of Silicon Valley in California, and we specialize in spreading good news about our clients. And we do that in a wide variety of ways, using both social and traditional media.
BEARCE: Great. So you’re based in California. Who are some of the clients that you work with?
MONTGOMERY: A couple of our premier clients are Hotel Valencia at Santana Row; we also represent the Retrodome, which is a live theater and movie complex. Plush Puff Gourmet Marshmallows is one of my favorites, and then Rozenhart Chiropractic also takes very good care of me, and those are just a few of the stable of about 17 clients that we have right now.
BEARCE: Great. And full disclosure, Erika and Three Girls Media has done some press work for IMN as well. And it’s been great.
MONTGOMERY: Yeah, we’ve enjoyed working with you.
BEARCE: Yeah, with you as well. So, as you know, in Pro&Content, we talk a lot about content marketing, and I thought it would be interesting today to talk about PR and how it’s changed with the advent of social media, and what type of content is really getting some play these days in the media for some of your clients. Can you speak to that?
MONTGOMERY: Yeah, absolutely. I think PR has changed immeasurably with the advent of social media. The game is simply not played the same way that it was five, ten, or 15 years ago. Even three or four years ago. In fact, there was an amazing statistic I heard, I believe it was on The Today Show, that said a year ago, 10% of people in the 50+ age group were on Facebook and Twitter. Now, a year later, that statistic has gone up to 85%, in just one year. And that’s only in the 50+ age set. And imagine what’s happening with the younger age set, those that were grown up on computers and the internet era.
So I think social media’s becoming more and more ingrained in the workplace, in our home lives, and certainly in the way that we measure and do public relations. I think in any good PR campaign these days, you need to factor in social media. Now, it’s not to say that all types of social media are good for all types of clients. But certainly with the wealth of social media out there, there should be at least one type of social media that’s a good fit for your particular business, and you should figure out how to use that to the best of your ability to communicate with your client. And I think that that’s really what social media is about these days. It’s communicating with your customer base, or your client base, or your constituency. And that could be a customer internally at your company, or it could be an external client, but I think that communication is key and social media is changing how we communicate.
BEARCE: Right. So, what does that mean for the press release these days? Is the traditional press release dead, or...?
MONTGOMERY: I think that there’s still plenty of time and place for a traditional press release in today’s market. But, news is now becoming more than a press release. It used to be, in the world of PR, that’s all you needed to do: craft one great press release with a couple good facts and a good headline, and you could get some pickup. But in today’s media, we’re seeing that that’s not all you need to do to get the news out about your company. Instead, you’re going to need to post that on Facebook or Twitter. You’re going to need to put it in your blog. You’re going to need to work harder than you ever have before to gain a little bit of that audience.
And in fact, we’re finding that a company needs to spend greater time investment for results that may not be immediate. A press release often would turn into a story that would appear on a television or radio show, or in a newspaper or in a magazine. And now we’re seeing that a press release can still do that, but more importantly is what’s happening on the internet space. Are stories being written online? Are people writing about you in their blogs? So I think that beyond a press release, companies need to be cognizant about how they’re getting the news out. And that even goes to e-newsletters, which are a type of social media. And being able to have an e-newsletter product, like IMN has, that is really good for their clients, can really go a long way to speaking to that client base.
BEARCE: Right, yeah. Newsletters today have come a long way, and there’s all kinds of things that you can do to connect them to social networks as well. You have the ability to spread your content across a wide variety of channels. So, do you have any examples, a case study example of a really innovative PR campaign you’ve done recently, or a pickup of a press release that you have?
MONTGOMERY: Well, actually, one of our clients that I mentioned at the beginning of our conversation, the Retrodome, which is a live theater and movie complex, I think does a terrific job of running a PR campaign. And we help them with that, of course, but they do a great job of social media, and integrating that with traditional PR. So on the traditional side for them, we do press releases. We contact the media, and we place stories for them regularly on television and the newspapers. But beyond that, we’re finding how they communicate with their audience via social media really has become key.
Now, the Retrodome is on Twitter, and they are on Facebook, and they utilize both of those regularly throughout the day. And besides simply letting their constituency know what’s happening –- their various theater events, or what movies are coming up –- they’re using it to interact. And I think interaction is something that you don’t get out of the traditional press release that you do get out of social media. So, a form of interaction the Retrodome takes, is not only are they doing say, interesting movie trivia, and asking questions like that of their fan base, but they’re also asking more important questions, like, “What should we program?” “What movies do you want to be seeing in the future?” Since they do show all retro films. And so it’s a great way that the Retrodome can use social media integrated with their audience, asking what their guests want to see, what they want to do, and posting pictures of events, that really gives them a full-service media campaign instead of just a press release that traditional PR used to be.
BEARCE: Right. So they’re actively engaging their audience, and actively getting feedback from them at the same time.
MONTGOMERY: That’s right. And I think it’s that feedback that is so key with social media. It’s become an entirely different way to communicate with your customer, and get important feedback that you couldn’t get in any other way before.
BEARCE: Great. Now, do you have any parting thoughts or advice, or future trends, that you want to discuss before we end the call today?
MONTGOMERY: Yeah, I would say don’t be afraid of social media. So many people are afraid of it. The two major bits of pain that I hear from people when it comes to their social media, are number one, I don’t have time, and number two, I don’t know what to do with it. And I think both of those can be addressed rather easily. Most people think that in order to make social media really work for them, that it’s something that you need to do all day, every day. That you constantly need to be posting to your Twitter account or your Facebook account. And I don’t think that’s the case. I think one or two good posts, a couple of times a week, are better than none. And certainly, you don’t need to become a spammer, where you find people are posting so much content to their wall it becomes overwhelming, and that you don’t want to hear from them anymore. So I think drawing that midline between a few posts, between too few and too many is key. And that should help you manage your time. And in terms of the content, I like to look at it as infotainment, or edutainment. Educating your audience and entertaining them at the same time, are really core to social media. And the better job you can do of that, and the more fun you make it, the easier it’ll become. And I think those are two things that are important to remember.
BEARCE: Great, that’s great. Well, thank you so much. And how can our audience get in touch with you? How can people reach you?
MONTGOMERY: You can certainly e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and it’s Erika with a K, so my first name and last name. And it’s the word “three” all spelled out. Or you can call me. I’d love to hear from people via phone, and that’s 408-871-0377.
BEARCE: Great. And the web site is threegirlsmedia.com, all spelled out, correct?
MONTGOMERY: That’s right.
BEARCE: Great. Well, Erika, thank you so much for your time today.
MONTGOMERY: Thank you, Liz. My pleasure.
BEARCE: All right. It was great having you on. And have a great day.
MONTGOMERY: Thanks, you too.