Episode #171 – Erika Taylor Montgomery On Social Media & PR Secrets. Discover Your Audience In One Hour A Week.

by John McIntyre

Erika’s career started in on-air broadcasting in the Bay area.

With a young son in tow, she switched careers to PR.

She worked with the cast of such hit shows as “Will & Grace” and “Crossing Jordan”.

12 years ago she decided to freelance and started “Three Girls Media”.

They handle content marketing, social media and PR for small and medium-sized businesses.

Flying in the face of the industry, they are making PR affordable for small business.

Erika breaks down some of the best practices in social media…

and some of the nuances of finding your audience on these platforms.

It’s a great primer to get you going…

or help you understand what a company like Erika’s can do for your business.

Raise your social media from the dead with this episode.

In this episode, you’ll discover:

  • The best single rule to remember about your company posting on social media. (Pareto would be proud!)
  • A little insight to the lifespan of tweets and how to pump up your Twitter game.
  • How to use the forgotten magic of Erika’s favorite small business tool.
  • A simple strategy Three Girls Media employs to make PR affordable for small business.
  • The simple-as-pie content marketing services Three Girls offers.(You won’t even have to write!).

Email Marketing Podcast Episode 171


Intro and outro backing music: Forever More by CREO

David Allan: Hey, everybody welcome to another edition of the podcast. This is David Allan of course from makewordspay.com. And we’re here today with a very special guest. She is a PR specialist and social media specialist and as she has a rather long career in various different media which she’ll tell you about in a second. Erika Taylor Montgomery Welcome to the show.

Erika Taylor Montgomery: Thanks so much David thanks for having me.

David Allan: Yeah I’m really interested to hear some of things you have to say I was looking over your bio and you have a very long and interesting history of the different things you’ve been involved with sort of all on similar veins perhaps but sort of very disparate in different ways as well. So maybe take us back to sort of the beginning of all this and sort of give us the superhero origin story the career trajectory that brings us up to speed.

Erika Taylor Montgomery: Sure. Well I actually started right out of college and my initial career actually which was broadcasting and I worked on air in San Francisco Bay area both television and radio for about 20 years mostly doing morning shows. And in order to do that you have to get up very early in the morning or middle of the night. To most people I’m talking about 2 or 3 a.m. and after doing that for over a dozen years it was just very difficult to do. I had a young son at the time and it’s not really conducive to family life if you have to go to bed a 6 o’clock in the evening. So I decided it was time for a career change and I wanted to utilize my broadcast skills without necessarily being on the air. So I did some job research and I came up with the field of public relations. It’s really dealing with the media in so many ways but not actually being in the press. So I was fortunate enough to get a job at a well know public relations agency and so probably got my feet wet in PR were everything I could and worked my way up from a junior account manager to the director of media relations for the entire agency. And I’m the person who likes to keep growing and learning new things. And after a few weeks where I felt like I had taken everything I can here and now and you know do something bigger better different to where I can learn more. So I dove into the world of politics and became a press secretary for the California state legislature and that lasted for a couple of years until I was thoroughly finished with politics.

David Allan: You know, it’s kind of ironic that we’re talking about this today on the day that James Comey is giving his testimony.

Erika Taylor Montgomery: I know. Oh my goodness. So true. So true.

David Allan: So you got sick of politics. I could see that happening.

Erika Taylor Montgomery: I absolutely got sick of politics. Yes. So I failed from that and really had two choices. I knew that I can go back to work for another Silicon Valley PR firm and make close to a six-figure income and work seventy or eighty hours a week or I could do something different and at that time of my life, it was really more about quality of life and family time with that sort of thing. So I decided to do something crazy as all my friends and family thought I was nuts.

But I decided to go into business for myself starting Three Girls Media and actually celebrating our 12 year of being in business June 5th.

David Allan: Wow congratulations. You started in 2005. That’s right.

Erika Taylor Montgomery: Yes. So 12 years I think is a pretty good track record and that brings us up to where we are today.

David Allan: That’s awesome. That’s awesome. Now you and you sort of maybe glossed over it a bit but one of the things I found interesting was that you had done some public relations work with NBC.

Erika Taylor Montgomery: I sure did.

David Allan: Maybe talk a little about that because as that’s one of the things sort of jumped out at me that maybe you know the average person might be listening to this might want to hear about.

Erika Taylor Montgomery: Well that happened while I was working for the large Silicon Valley PR firm – one of the accounts that we got in was NBC. And so I was put in charge of that account -we ended up really doing some fun things that I was able to take the lead on everything from working with the cast of Will and Grace and doing some promtoional things with them -from specific ads that they were recording that we’re going to play. In the San Francisco Bay are where we were that were very localized. When we’re done with the shoot for the day they invited me out to dinner with them. The whole cast, and I thought wow. It was nice and amazing. So that was kind of the experience is that the others are people that I work with pretty closely with the cast of Crossing Jordan which was another NBC show. So it was definitely fun working in the more Hollywood entertainment realm as opposed to local radio and TV that I was used to.

David Allan: Very interesting and it sort of jumped off the page when I was reading about you. I thought that that’s very just a very interesting sort of anecdote for people who can remember those shows too I guess.

Erika Taylor Montgomery: That’s rightit’s been awhile, am I aging myself.

David Allan: I think we may be aging both of us because I asked about it. Now that brings us up to speed so you have a PR agency like you mentioned Three Girls Media – celebrating your 12th anniversary. What kind of companies are you working with nowadays.

Erika Taylor Montgomery: That’s a great question. You know we really work with small and medium sized businesses who are looking to improve their branding and name recognition and drive publicity about their business in a variety of way whether it’s through traditional PR and maybe pitching a product or service to the media for coverage or maybe it was just positioning a product they have and if we can get the media to request samples or that sort of thing, or productize a service. And then also the one thing we do quite a bit of now is social media and that’s because so many small businesses simply do not have the time or the bandwidth to deal with posting on social media like they should be and how we’re able to take them on as the wizards behind the curtain and make them look great on social media.

David Allan: So those are two main focuses – sort of traditional public relations stuff and social media.

Erika Taylor Montgomery: Yeah I’d say so and even more than social media I would also say content marketing and certainly social media is part of content marketing. We also provide a lot of services that some of your audience may be interested in like blogging for example or e-newsletters and I know that you have a lot of freelance writers in your audience that correct.

David Allan: That’s right. Yeah. So you know one of the things that we’re always looking for is people who’d like to have a guest post on our blog. And if any of your listeners are interested in writing a guest post that would appear on the Three Girls Media website. We’re more than happy to get that and help how we can.

David Allan: Awesome, awesome so people out there and who knows I might even do one myself. You never know. So. Exactly. So let’s let’s dive into some PR stuff like as a copywriter myself,
one of the things I constantly run into is that there seems to be and this may not apply specifically to PR but may may have some ideas. Is I run into people making you know businesses I work with they are doing the same. They’re making the same mistakes basically. So there’s you know sort of initial period where you’re correcting the same things almost with every client that I run into because it’s sort of everyone sort of has misinterpreted things perhaps in the exact same way and it’s always me too type of scenario. So when it comes to PR, are people doing PR and they’re doing it wrong? Or are they not even aware that PR is a tool like what has been in your experience.

Erika Taylor Montgomery: Well my experience when it comes to working with small and medium-sized businesses – initially a lot of them think I can’t possibly afford PR. Most of them are under the impression that they’re going to be out for a very large retainer something on the very minimum of three to five thousand dollars a month. And that’s something that simply out of their grasp. So I think a lot of them probably won’t consider it because there’s an impression that they couldn’t afford it. And secondarily I think that some of them have the impression that it was not for me. I don’t know what it would do for my business. I’m not quite sure how it works. So I think there’s a lot of education needed to let business owners know what we are really what is what we can do for their business. And that it is not necessarily cost prohibitive especially when we’re working with an agency like Three Girls Media.

David Allan: Right. And what do you think drives that in your opinion what is driving that perception that people have that it maybe is like wildly expensive and sort of out of their range.

Erika Taylor Montgomery: Well the bottom line is it’s true in most cases…

David Allan: There is that [laughing]

Erika Taylor Montgomery: And it is sad I think because it really does put the budget out-of-range I think for most small and mid-type businesses…there are some companies like Three Girls that service them – we’re certainly the minority not the majority but if you search around you can find the occasional agency here and there that price things a little bit differently. So at Three Girls Media – rather than asking for thousands of dollars for a monthly retainer, instead we offer all of our services on an a la carte menu. So, instead what that means is, instead of paying $5000 a month to do a variety of activities for you if all you really need is blogging help and you just want us blogging for you once a week – hey we could do that and it’s only going to cost you a tiny bit of money. And so on and so forth. So I think that there are exceptions but unfortunately the perception is true.

David Allan: Right. Because it is very expensive for most people they would contact. It’s pretty expensive.

Erika Taylor Montgomery: Right. Exactly.

David Allan: All right so you have the a la carte menu if you will of services maybe run down some of those things maybe some things people like you said the content marketing the blogging and so for posting on social media perhaps – what are some of things that maybe aren’t readily spring to mind for people out there that have businesses already.

Erika Taylor Montgomery: Sure. Well one of the most cost effective tools that there is in terms of content marketing is an e-newsletter and I think that a lot of business owners are missing out on that opportunity to give each other regularly communicating with their customer base potential customers – previous customers. It’s something that we do very well. So we’ll do everything from create a template for you in the e-news platform of your choice – some common ones we really like are Mailchimp, Constant Contact…some others but we’ll create the template so it matches your brand and your website. We’ll create all the conten for you – all of the writing and then we will send the newsletter out to your list with your database and it is a great way I say to promote what’s going on with not only on the public front for example like sales you may be having or products or services that you want to highlight for a particular month or season but also it’s a great way to let your readers in your business kind of behind the scenes. And I think that’s also something that business owners often miss out on is that people like to know who they’re doing business with. So if you can give your readers a little peek behind the business, who’s your team member? Where do you work? What’s your office culture like? – that sort of thing. I think that’s great to put into an e-newsletter as well.

David Allan: Yeah it’s funny. I wholeheartedly agree with what you just said in regards to the e-mail marketing certainly And of course everyone in the mix at the McMethod feels the same way. I’m about to give my own seminar here upcoming – I really consider e-mail like you’re one of those sort of small business almost like a small business secret weapon because it doesn’t seem like yeah many people are utilizing it the way they could be and maybe it’s stuff like this that will help spread the word but that it can be. I mean especially like online it’s still the highest return on investment thing you can do

Erika Taylor Montgomery: no question. Absolutely positively. No question about it.

David Allan: And so people if you’re listening to this you should be killing it with e-mail because it’s you know it’s cost effective obviously. And and it can it can …I’ve seen it work wonders. So aside from that and the blogging and I’m assuming you guys do posting on other social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram and a number of other ones I’m probably not even familair with.

Erika Taylor Montgomery: We basically manage most social media sites for our clients – everything from LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, Pinterest, Instagram. We’re working on a bunch of those. And I think one of the things that makes Three Girls different than a lot of other companies with social media is that we actually create all of the content for you. We do not rely on our clients to come up with the content and send us articles or pictures or memes. Those are the things we find of ourselves. We created our own – customized specially just for youer business. And I think that the one thing that a lot of social media companies don’t do.

David Allan: Yeah I think you’re just basically an arm of the small business in terms of like gets your – almost like your own little marketing department.

Erika Taylor Montgomery: Right.Exactly yeah.

David Allan: Now maybe let’s talk before we go back to PR maybe dive into that let’s talk more about social media so things like Twitter and Instagram for people that maybe aren’t at the level yet that they’re going to be able to afford to hire somebody to do that for them. You know what is sort of the Three Girl Media approach to doing some of this stuff maybe explain some of your approaches to that that that work on these various platforms. Because I can speak for my own personal experience like I do some tweeting and stuff with some of the podcast episodes and then some of the stuff I write but in regards to like Instagram and some of the other ones I’m completely clueless. So maybe talk about the difference some of these different platforms and sort of different approaches to what makes these things work.

Erika Taylor Montgomery: You bet, you know I think the number one mistake that small and medium sized business owners make when they start managing their own platform be it Twitter or Instagram or any of them is that they really make it all about themselves. They’re posting content only about their business or their products or services or an event and not really mentioning anything else of value for their followers. And that is definitely a novice mistake. What we really recommend is that companies follow what we call the 80 20 rule of social media and what the 80 20 Rule says is that 20 percent of the time, absolutely you should be plugging your business in any way, shape or form whether telling your custoemrs about a product or service or event or whatever may be coming up – even a behind the scenes look of the company. All the stuff is great but only 20 percent of the time that should happen. The other 80 percent of your content on social media should not be self-promotional. Instead it’s a content that’s related to your brand but not necessarily about your brand. So for example one of our clients is a well-known nursery in the San Francisco Bay Area – we’re managing their social media and instead of posting things about we have these flowers on sale. Instead we may post here a great article about flowers that are made to plant right now or here is how you care for flowers that you just planted when it comes to fertilization and things like that. You can see where it’s related to the nursery but it’s not talking about them or their products or services. Does that make sense?

David Allan: Yes. It’s an educational approach. Educating people with your knowledge and the other 20% of the time you’re like – we have this stuff actually for you.

Erika Taylor Montgomery: Exactly, Yeah that’s it. So I think following the 80/20 rule is sort of thing that people in the industry social media management industry know. But a lot of novices don’t. So that’s a good tip that they can take away. And then the other thing of it I hear a lot from potential clients is that oh we’re only posting twice a week because we don’t want to spam our followers you know we don’t want to overwhelm them too much content. And I appreciate that sentiment but unfortunately it’s totally wrong.

David Allan: {Laughing}I knew that was coming somewhere there.

Erika Taylor Montgomery: Yeah yeah yeah. Definitely not the way to go. With social media what’s important is frequency and consistency. So you need to be posting daily on your various social media platforms. And depending on the platform perhaps it’s called for to post multiple times a day. Each social media platform has their old kind of rules if you will or a recommendation for how frequently you should post. So for example on Twitter it’s recommended that you post it three to five times a day. Now that may seem like a crazy amount of posting but the reason behind that is because the lifespan of a tweet is less than 60 Minutes. And what that means is that after 60 minutes it is so far down in your followers news feed they’re not going to see it anymore. So if you’re only posting once a day you only have an opportunity to catch a very small portion of people who are following you on that platform. Does that make sense?

David Allan: Absolutely.

Erika Taylor Montgomery: It’s important to know how frequently you should post on the various platforms.

David Allan: Yeah. Now if people want to get in touch with Three Girl Media they want to get in touch with you personally, Erika. What’s the best way to do that?

Erika Taylor Montgomery: I would say that the easiest way is through our website. If you go to our contact page at threegirlsmedia.com there’s a form there you can fill out. You can also use the email at [email protected]. That comes straight to me personally. So I’m the info person. You can reach me there. Also there are phone numbers on our website. Those are cell phone numbers that come directly to me. I’m very easily accessible. I should also mention with the URL of our website it is the name three all spelled out so threegirlsmedia.com. Also you can follow up on social media both me personally and three girls and if you’re on Instagram I highly recommend you follow our office dog, Effy.

David Allan: Well, I want to really thank you for coming on the show today, Erika. It’s been a real pleasure talking you. I think you’ve given a lot of great information for our audience that people can go out and immediately and put into play and if not come to you guys to get it done for them.

Erika Taylor Montgomery: I really appreciate the time. It’s been real enjoyable talking to you and thanks for having me on your show.

David Allan: No problem…everybody else of course will be back again next week with another edition of the podcast and hopefully we’ll have someone as fun to talk to and as educational and and just a joy as Erika has been today. So until then we’ll talk to everybody.

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