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For this episode of Ecoffee with Experts, Matt Fraser hosted Erika Taylor Montgomery, CEO and founder of Three Girls Media. Erika defines the difference between a press pitch and a press release during the conversation. And shares some winning tips to craft both for gaining maximum traction.
PR is essentially a testimonial from the press and that goes much farther than advertising ever could.
Hello everyone. Welcome to this episode of Ecoffee with Experts. I am your host, Matt Fraser, and on today’s show, I have with me Erika Taylor Montgomery. And we’re going to be talking about how to blast your brand name out of millions without advertising. Erika is the CEO and founder of Three Girls Media, a full-service digital marketing and Web development agency headquartered in Seattle, Washington. She enjoyed an 18-year broadcasting career in the San Francisco Bay Area before transitioning to public relations and marketing. She is the co-author of the bestselling book The Spirit of Silicon Valley, Journeys and Transformations Beyond Technology, which is available on Amazon.com. When she’s not in the office, you can find her hanging out with Phoebe, the three girls’ office greeter, and her four-footed bestie. She also loves cooking and baking. She also enjoys planting and caring for her large veggie garden, picking organic blackberries that surround her country property, Moose Hollow, and binge-watching TV shows like Deadliest Catch, Top Chef, and Project Runway. Erika, thank you so much for being here, it’s a pleasure to have you on the show.
Thank you so much for having me. I’m excited to be here today.
Yeah, right on. So, you’ve had an interesting journey. Who is Erika as a school child or junior high school student?
In high school, I was a theater geek. I loved the theater, I had my freshman year. My English teacher, who was also the drama teacher, told me that she would give me extra credit if I would audition for the school play. I was always down for extra credit, so I went to the auditions thinking of it as purely an extra credit exercise. So, I did the audition and didn’t expect anything to come of it. It was just about the extra credit for me and lo and behold, I was cast in the starring role. From that point on, I got bit by the theater bug and appeared mostly in starring roles in every production my entire high school career, and then when I was in college I actually started out as a theater major. I Went to New York for a little while and quickly realized that I would mostly be waiting tables with an occasional acting role and that’s really not what I wanted to do most of my life. So, I switched to broadcasting and that’s what I ended up graduating in.
All right. You and I have that in common. I discovered theater when I was 5 years old, that’s when I got my first show. It was a Christmas play that was put on for my mother’s work and they, for some reason, thought I would be a good character. And anyway, and then in grade five and six, I was in these shows, but in high school, I really got the bug, and I starred and directed in a one-act play called ‘Here We Are”. It was very interesting. It was the only one-act play that a poet wrote. We took it to the finals and won an award for set design, and sound design and the girl in it won an award for her acting. They didn’t give me an award, but I broke character because she was so hilarious in the final production. It’s amazing getting in front of an audience of 700- 800 people. Did you remember the first time you got stage fright? Thank goodness I had done it enough, though. The more you do it, the more you get used to it, right? And thank goodness I’m on that stage with tight lighting and I couldn’t see a darn thing.
I think the beauty of theater is the audience can see you, but with those lights, you could only see maybe the first row or two of the actual audience. So that helps.
Yeah, right on. So, you transitioned to public relations. You know, you’ve had more than 30 years of experience doing this now. In regards to, when you founded Three Girls Media, what motivated you to start Three Girls Media? I’m just curious.
So, immediately before I started Three Girls Media in 2005, I was working as a press secretary for the California state legislature. Working 70-80 hours a week and the job I had right before that was for a major PR agency in Silicon Valley, where I was also working 70-80 hours a week. And for me, at that point, it was really about wanting more work-life balance. I had a young son at the time and one of my bosses told me that they didn’t want me to leave the office, work on a project and miss my son’s cello concert.
Oh, my goodness.
I was like, No, I don’t think so and at that point, it wasn’t about climbing the corporate ladder anymore. I really reached tremendous heights in my career, and I wanted more say over my work schedule and family life. So I decided, I’m going to go out and try this on my own, where I can set my own schedule, be with my family in the evenings, go to my son’s cello concert and soccer games and all that kind of stuff and that was really the impetus for me starting the company.
Yeah. So, basically the frustration of corporate America telling you what to do with it. That would be a line in the sand for me too. I don’t have kids yet, but I’m planning on doing so. But yeah, if you want me to miss my kid’s event where I would want more likely to be, there is no way I would have done that. I would have rather done the same thing. What other challenges have you faced over time, since you started your agency in 2005?
So many, as an entrepreneur, when I started the company, I had no experience as an entrepreneur. I had no clue what I was doing. I had to learn and totally bootstrap things. Learning about just like even how to incorporate the company. For what kind of business did I want to be, starting there and then had to learn everything about baking, taxes, how to manage my finances on a business level, and how to market myself and get clients. I mean just the initial learning curve that I was on for the first year or two was insane. But once I got that initial stuff behind me and got established, then it became constantly learning and growing because marketing and PR is a type of industry where things do not stay stagnant, there’s always something new. When I started the company in 2005, social media didn’t even exist in the digital space.
No, there was not?
There was no such thing and so things like Facebook, Twitter came along and all the other socials. We really had to incorporate that into the services that we were providing our clients and figure out how businesses can use social media platforms to market themselves. I really had to incorporate those new kinds of services as they came along. We were hit by the recession in 2008 and lost the majority of our clients. So, that was a real challenge. I ended up having to restructure all of the services we offered. How do we charge for our services? And it dramatically reshaped how we provided things and how we charge for things as a company. And those changes, I made to serve us well today. So that was a big change on our end.
Yeah, it’s amazing. You know, when you go and start an agency because I do have my own agency, although it’s not active right now, there are the things you don’t know, the things they don’t teach you, the things you can’t learn. Like you talked about those things, incorporating a business and how to know which type of entity to choose. Now I’m from Canada, so I know that the type of business that you incorporate in the States does make a difference up here, from what I understand from my friends. Whether I name it Business Marketing geeks Inc. or Marketing geeks Ltd or whatever, it doesn’t matter here in Canada. There’s no legal difference but from what I understand in the States, there is a huge legal difference in different pros and cons to doing it.
Absolutely, Which point there are major tax implications and definitely how you have to report things about your business. It’s a big deal.
Depending on which direction you go, right?
I’m going to have to learn some of that because I am actually moving to the States. But anyway, so that being said, you know, 2005 all the way to now, that’s like almost 17-18 years, that’s a considerable amount of time. How have you seen the Web change the way businesses do marketing and public relations in your career?
Websites alone have changed dramatically. Back in 2005, they were very rudimentary, often single-page sites, just like a calling card kind of situation. They didn’t look very good, they weren’t dynamic, there was certainly no video incorporated and now websites themselves have vastly grown into sleek-looking sides. Search engine optimization has become a major factor in how you put your site together, everything from the words on the page to what happens on the backend. And so that just from a website perspective has changed. And then, of course, there’s everything else that has come along with the Internet, including. Social media, social media advertising, digital advertising, things like Google ads, Yahoo!, and Bing, all these things are vastly different and are new in the last 20 years.
Yeah, it’s fascinating how much everything has changed. As you said, I remember when Facebook came out, I joined Facebook in 2007, and I remember sitting behind my computer waiting to get my vanity URL for my Facebook profile and engaging, watching Darren Rouse talk about how he’s going to get his and somebody robbed him and they took his pro blogger. He got Darren Rouse, but someone took a pro blogger on him on purpose to hijack it from him, which a lot of the community on Twitter wasn’t happy about that. That person did that. I thought it was a Jerkish thing to do. But whatever. It took it on him and then was going to sell it to him. I guess brings up the point not to go off-topic, but you can’t do that if you have a trademark on your name, No one can do that.
Coca-Cola sued someone who tried to take their vanity URL on Facebook because of that trademark. So yeah, I guess if you’re going to be in business, and want to protect your brand, make sure you trademark it. So, what about the Internet? What about public relations? How were public relations done before the explosion of the Internet in 2005-2006? How have you seen that change?
When I worked for my first PR agency in Silicon Valley, right after I left broadcasting, it was still the days of fax machines and we were faxing press releases to journalists and the newsroom, one by one over the fax machine and we used to have books like hard copy books of media that would come out where we would have to compile media lists and like Excel database and that kind of thing. It was very, very rudimentary and it took a lot of time, took a lot of effort, and now things are so much easier. We have the Internet, we have mail merging, we have databases that you can subscribe to easily access journalists all across the country and North America, and even around the globe. It’s a completely different world and so much easier than it used to be.
Yeah, that’s amazing. I remember fax machines, you know, I don’t even think anybody has a fax machine anymore.
You know, who still has a Fax machine? Doctor’s offices. Those are the only places that I ever run into that still fax numbers.
Pharmacists and doctor’s offices. They still have those because you can get your prescriptions faxed. Right. But there is still a thing called email.
You could create a catch-all email address for prescriptions and have it sent or you could even automatically add it to Google drive, one driver, or Dropbox automatically.
So many different ways to go now. It’s incredible.
With press releases, I mean with PR Newswire and you can now go on websites and submit your press release and do all it.
There are so many different services, everything from PR newswire to access wire to decision. They’re so many to choose from. And they all offer something a little bit different at a wide variety of price points, everything from a few hundred dollars up to $1,000 or so, depending on the distribution and how it’s distributed, where it’s distributed, and that kind of thing.
How effective is PR marketing? For the lack of a better word. And when I when I’m saying PR marketing, what I mean is press release marketing, hard-earned media marketing, creating a story that garners attention that you don’t exactly pay for like to drive traffic through paid advertising, but that you’ve come up with such a unique story that it gets picked up. How effective is that today to still continue?
Yeah, public relations is hugely effective because it’s all about your reputation as a company. And if you get an article published about your business in a reputable magazine or website or on the evening news, it’s essentially an endorsement for your business product service from a credible third-party organization. And it’s much more believable to your consumers than an advertisement. If you read an article about a product and a reporter is saying, this product does X, Y, or Z, and it’s really fabulous, and that solves this problem for me. You’re going to go, oh, wow, that sounds like a really great product, maybe I’ll go out and try it. If you see an advertisement for the same product, you’re going to be a lot more skeptical about it because, you know, it’s an ad and you know, it’s paid by the company to promote itself. So, a PR story can give you that credible endorsement, that reputation management that is so vital to earning the trust of your audience.
That’s amazing. There are so many questions going through my head and I try to keep them all straight. So, how does someone craft a story like if Cline came to you? I’m going to give you some instances because I find them very helpful with people. Like, I know there’s like, okay, you launched a new website. People say I want a press release. But how do you find a story where there is no story? For instance, let’s I don’t know, like, how do you create that unique angle out of something like, let’s say John Smith once is launching a new renovation company? How would you know what is the story behind that, or to create something that actually gets some traction?
Yeah. I think, first of all, you need to be realistic. There isn’t a story everywhere and the media is savvy. The media knows when there’s really no story there, the media wants information that is unique, different, engaging, that’s going to be exciting to their audience and sometimes you just have to face the fact that there is not a story there. Launching a new website is not a story that the media is going to care about. Now, should you promote that? Absolutely, you should. You should promote it on social media, you should promote it in your e-newsletter, you can promote it to your networking groups and your elevator speech and those kinds of things. But it’s not something you’re going to issue a press release about or a media pitch and it’s going to be on the evening news. So, you have to understand that.
My apologies, unless there’s something unique about it or in the way that the business has been formulated. So, the keyword you use is unique. For instance, Facebook would have made the news because Mark Zuckerberg launched a new website that transformed the way we engage with one another. So, it can’t just be the same old. There has to be some kind of unique element, is what I’m hearing you say.
That’s the key, that’s absolutely the key. If you’re the first to do something and it’s never been done before, that’s a story. Whether it’s a new product or a new type of website or a new type of social networking platform or whatever it may be, there’s probably a story there. But if it’s simply a new Web site for your business, chances are the media is not going to care. Now, if you’re launching a new business, there may be an opportunity there. What is your history? What kind of business is it? Is it something new in your marketplace? It might not be a story for the CBS Evening News, but maybe your local newspaper is going to write about it. So, you have to be realistic, too, in what kind of media might cover your story. There might be an opportunity in your local community newspaper or in your local evening news, or maybe there is a local website that covers news in your local area. Sort of a community website kind of thing where they might run a story about something like that. So again, you have to know where your story’s going to fit and where it’s going to be sold to the media and what kind of media is going to be interested in it. But what you’re really looking for when it comes to any media story is what is the news. And you want the news to be as compelling and interesting as possible. If the news isn’t that, for instance, if you started another tile company and there are five other tile companies in the market, maybe that really isn’t that exciting. But maybe if you do some kind of tiling that’s very unique and only, you’re doing maybe there’s a story there. Maybe there is an interesting story about the owner. Or maybe they’ve changed careers and now we’re starting this business under some unique circumstance, and you can make the story more about the owner than the business. So, there are ways that you can look for stories where there might be none. But again, you have to be realistic and understand there isn’t necessarily a story in everything.
Yeah, and I like how you brought it up. You may not be able to make the national news like the big publications, but maybe your local news is looking to showcase a community spotlight, if you will, of what’s happening in the community. Yeah. You know, maybe you can make news by giving a donation. I don’t know if that’s a way to give a donation of profit and breaking the story about that.
100%. There are some really big social media challenges like you might remember, it was the Ice Bucket Challenge a few years ago on social media that was really big and that got a lot of press coverage because it became this national movement to do this ice bucket challenge for charity. So, simply by starting something like that, you can make news where there wasn’t news before.
That’s amazing. Make news where there is no news by doing something like that. And it had also raised millions of dollars for that research.
It’s quite remarkable how that came up. I hear people say that to publish something on a PR newswire or get a press release submitted just for the sake of getting links, I don’t know if those links have no follow or any weight to them anymore. But, what’s your opinion in that regard?
It used to be that, you are absolutely right that you could issue a press release on a wire service like PR newswire or access wire or something like that and it would go out to hundreds, if not thousands of websites and provide a backlink to your website and there was good SEO value in that. But it’s my understanding that the way that Google has changed its latest algorithm, that that’s not as valuable anymore. It’s not to say that it’s a total waste, but it certainly doesn’t have the power that it used to have.
Okay. It doesn’t have the weight and power that it used to. What about other ways? I mean, I’ve heard of this thing and I’m not an expert on it, so I’m just going to put that there first. But like the HARO link building, how to report that out?
Oh, yeah. I love HARO.
Could you explain what that is and the power of HARO and how it’s different from press releases?
It’s fabulous. So HARO stands for help a reporter out. You can simply do a Google search for help a reporter out or I think it’s HARO.com, it’s a website where you can go, you can create free accounts and journalists from all over the country in all kinds of major media outlets from newspapers, magazines, websites, blogs, from the literally the largest media outlets in the country and some smaller ones as well, will put out requests for information they’re seeking for stories. So, for example, if USA Today is doing a story on the best gourmet marshmallows in the country, the journalist who’s working on that story would get on HARO and put out a request and say, I’m working on a story about the best gourmet marshmallows in the country. If you know, a marshmallow manufacturer or you know somebody that I can interview for this story, contact me and you would contact them. And if you’re a marshmallow maker or work for somebody who is or whatnot, you could contact that journalist and they could potentially use you or use your company in their story. Now it’s free to apply, you can have updates sent to your email box three times a day. There are three issues of HARO that come out of the day, one in the morning, one in the afternoon, and one in the evening and there are literally dozens of requests in each issue that come to your email box. All you have to do is scan those quickly, see if there’s any opportunity that you might be a good match for, and respond. It’s a wonderful, easy way to know what journalists around the country are working for and very easily become a free resource and potentially get yourself some wonderful media coverage.
Yeah, it’s a really smart business model. The people who invented it, Help a Reporter.com, that’s the site that I found. I have no idea what it is but.
Yeah. I don’t even know who CISION is, but what a smart way they thought of to be able to connect reporters.
Yeah, CISION actually bought HARO a few years ago. It was an independent site and it got snapped up by CISION is actually something we should talk about because we’re wanting to get media coverage for your company. You need to know about companies like CISION. Now, CISION isn’t the only one but they’re the biggest in the country. And they have several different components to their services, but one of the services they offer is a media database. You subscribe to their media database, We Three Girls Media subscribe to the North America database. So, this gives us access to hundreds of thousands of journalists in North America. Blogs, Newspapers, magazines, websites, television, and radio, so we can get into our CISION media database and we can say we want to find people who were writing about dinosaurs, for example. And build a media list of people who write about dinosaurs and then if we’ve got a story about dinosaurs, we can contact those journalists through CISION, send them emails. We get information on the people who are opening our emails, click-through rates, and all of that kind of stuff. So it’s a wonderful way to get access to media. You get all of their information from their phone numbers, email addresses, and the latest stories they’ve been working on. It’s very comprehensive and it’s updated all the time.
What’s the value of that and the difference between doing that and using HARO? Helpareporter.com.
Sure. So, help a reporter.com is going to be journalists that you know are working on a particular story at a particular time and are looking for resources.
I understand already.
Yeah and with the media database, you would be building a custom media list of people who work on or write about a certain beat in the media where you could reach out to them and pitch them your story.
Now, that’s great that you just said that. What is the difference between a press release and a press pitch?
Yeah, great question. I think a lot of people think that a press release is the only way to go to get media coverage. That used to be true about 20 years ago, but that is no longer the case. And I would say nine times out of ten, you’re going to be better off and get more traction with a press pitch than a press release. So, a press release most of us are probably familiar with. It’s a formal document that’s formatted in a very specific way with a headline and a subhead line and then a few paragraphs of news usually include a quote from someone and then have a media contact listed somewhere on it. A press release is good for certain circumstances, which I’ll talk about in a couple of minutes. But that’s what a press release is. A media pitch or press pitch is a casual e-mail that is very short, a fraction of the length of a press release. It’s usually just a paragraph or two long that is sent directly to a reporter’s email and teases them about a story. So, you might want to say, “Hey, I’ve got this interesting story about X, Y, or Z. I’d love to give you some more information. I’m happy to arrange an interview or send you a product or something like that.” If it’s a product that you’re offering and it’s basically a short introduction, a casual introduction to your product, service, or business, as opposed to a press release, which is this very formal, long-winded, document that is not casual, is sometimes sent directly to reporters but is more often sent to newsrooms where they come in on a either on a screen, usually a computer screen, where they’re sort of like in this constant roll coming in by the dozens all day, every day. When somebody like a producer can print out the ones that they think might be interesting as where a pitch goes directly to individual journalists, it’s a teaser about a story. It’s like a casual introduction. Very, very different beasts.
Sounds like it’s way more effective. You just shoot, the press release out there and the hope and spray sort of deal of and maybe it might get picked up. You know, and let’s just be frank, there are so many that are published every single day that are going out. Like winning the lottery, but I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a press pitch. And that in combination with the list you just told about the decision database, you can find out. It’s more targeted, to who you’re trying to reach. Right?
Yeah. So, you can get into a database like CISION or there are others like meltwater is another one that’s very popular and is another really big service. And you can get into these databases, and create custom lists for the journals you want to try to reach and then you write a casual, short, brief press pitch, send it out to your list and your chances of getting coverage that way and getting the interest of an actual journalist who’s going to do something with your story are 100 times higher than blasting out a press release that goes into the ether or somewhere. Now, I did say that I would mention there are appropriate times for a press release, but there are few and far between these days. So, I would say if your company has major news to share, for example, you have a new C-level executive. It might be worthy of a press release. If you were acquiring another company or you were being acquired, that would be an appropriate time for a press release. If you maybe won a major award that might be appropriate for a press release. If you are a publicly traded company and you have some major news or something’s happening with the company, then that’s appropriate for a press release.
Or if you’re going from private to public.
Absolutely, if you have an IPO, absolutely an appropriate time for a press release. But as you can see, these are not circumstances that happen every day. They are kind of few and far between. And so there’s a time and a place for a press release. But it’s not very often. And like I said, nine times out of ten, a press pitch is going to be the right answer.
That makes so much sense. I am trying to figure out which question I want to ask, If I want to ask how people can structure a press release to get attention? Or how can people structure a press pitch? I mean, there are tons of articles out there about how to do a press release that people want to read, just Google it. What are the aspects of doing a press pitch that can get attention?
Great question. So, your first obstacle to overcome in your press pitch is going to be the subject line, because if you don’t have an interesting subject line, your email is never going to get opened and the journalist you’re sending it to is simply going to delete it. These are very busy people who get a ton of pitches every single day. So, you want to make the journalist’s job as easy as possible. You want your subject line to be meaningful and actually say something about what the story actually is. Meaning you don’t want to be too cryptic or cutesy with your subject line you want to entice them, but also say something that’s compelling enough to get them to actually open the email. When we send pitches at Three Girls Media for our clients, I actually put the word pitch in the subject line as the first thing in all caps. Pitch, all caps right there, first thing in the subject line. So, obviously, the journalist who gets it is going to go, oh, this is a pitch.
You’re not trying to be nefarious or trying to hide the fact that you’re. You want them to know it’s a pitch.
Exactly. You want them to know what’s a pitch because you want them to say, hey, this is something I might be interested in. Let me open it and check it out. So, that’s a little trick we use that really does rates. I’ll actually put a pitch in all caps followed by a colon and then, you know, a very brief subject line. You don’t want to make it like 16 words, right? You want to keep it short to the point, but again, meaningful in something that’s going to pique the curiosity of the journalist and let them think, I really need to open this. So, that’s number one. Number two, you want to address the journalist by name, and it’s perfectly appropriate to use first names. You don’t need to use Mr or Mrs.
In the subject line?
Not on the subject line, but in the body of the email.
So, once the journalist opens the e-mail, you should address them by name. Dear Joe, dear Susie, dear Jane, whatever. You can take that casual approach and then in the very first sentence or two of that pitch, you need to explain what the story is. Don’t bury your lead. You need not waste the journalist’s time. Be candid, be right up front and tell them what it is they want to know. Again, these people are very busy. They don’t have a lot of time. Get to the meat of the story. Don’t try to be cutesy or fluffy or beat around the bush. It’s only going to take them off. As a former journalist, I can tell you this from firsthand experience. So just get right to the point. Tell them what the story is and see if they’re interested.
Yeah, as I say, if you’ve discovered the cure to cancer, tell them exactly.
Exactly. And then you can spend maybe the second paragraph giving them some supporting information. So, you can go into a little more detail about why your story may be compelling or why your product may be so great, or it’s changing the world, or whatever some supporting facts are. And then in a third paragraph, you’re going to offer them more information. So, meaning you can offer them an interview or a product sample or maybe a link to an electronic press kit where they can go and get more details or a website where they can go and get more details and then make sure that they’ve got your contact information and your email signature. You want to be easy to contact, so make sure you include a phone number as well as your email address. And that’s it. That’s all that goes into a press pitch. It’s short, sweet to the point, three paragraphs max. And again, those are the outlines of the paragraphs and you’re off and running.
Wow, you know, you triggered me because I have a contact who invented a new product. He’s a pharmacist, It’s a story, you’ve just opened my eyes up to the fact that it’s a story he invented a product, glutathione product that formulation that he has created enables your body to absorb 30% more of like nutrients in order for your body to generate the precursor for to generate glutathione end than any other product on the market. And the health benefits include a fine and it being in your body is just tremendous. So it’s kind of triggered my thoughts in thinking about that and talking about it having to be a story. And I’m just thinking it’s unique, it’s new. It’s a story behind why he created it is fascinating. And yeah, I’m probably going to talk to him about that.
We’ve talked about like the value of PR and you know, that just doing a press release probably isn’t the best way to go. And if you are going to do it, you have something unique like you’ve talked about, you’ve talked about, you know, maybe the next level is to help a reporter out website as well as, you know, obviously contacting an agency such as yourself to get to that database, to be able to craft a press release and connect with those reporters to also doing a press pitch, it’s going to get you way more traction, probably give you a better return on investment of your time. Because time is money rather than just putting something out there and hoping it’s going to get picked up. That is just fascinating. Are there any other questions that I have not asked that I should have asked you? because I know we’ve covered quite a bit.
Yeah. You know, maybe not a question I could think of, but there is a resource that I can provide.
I would love for you to provide.
If your audience would like to learn more about the differences between a press pitch and a press release. How to pitch the media? How to craft a good press release? We have some articles on our blog at Threegirlsmeda.com that are written specifically about that. And our website again is three girl’s media dot com. It’s the word three all spelled out girls’ media. Tom, we have a little search magnifying glass in the top right-hand corner of our website. And all you have to do is type in something like pitch versus press release, and those articles will come up. And we’ve written, like I said, specifically on these topics, and there’s a wealth of information there on those topics as well as anything else you could imagine related to digital marketing, branding, graphic design, website design and build PR, social media. So, we’re a wonderful free resource for information about anything related to marketing.
That’s awesome. Thank you so much for sharing that. I just type that in and found some great, great stuff. Exactly what you’re talking about in regards to, you know, all you have to do is type in pitch versus press release and you’ll get some great information. So, hey, I want to thank you so much for coming to the show. What’s one big takeaway you want listeners to get from this episode?
The value of PR. I think that a lot of people don’t understand what kind of value PR can bring. Again, it’s that credible endorsement by a respected member of the media that goes a long, long way. It’s essentially a testimonial from the press that’s leaving your business, and that goes so much farther than advertising could. I had one client who made realistic-looking sushi, but it was all chocolate. That looked just like sushi, it was amazing, except it was all made out of chocolate and they’re no longer in business. She decided to close her business and focus on her art. She was an amazing artist, but we did a media relations campaign for that company and they got an article that we placed for them in Sunset Magazine, which is a large magazine in the western United States, covering the entire Western US, a very popular magazine. She had an article about her chocolate sushi. And literally, four years later, she would have people call and come into her shop and visit their website and leave comments about how they saw them in Sunset Magazine for years. I have another client who is a priest, and he makes gourmet hot chocolate in a variety of different flavors called holy chocolate made by a priest and so we did some media campaigns. He got an article that we placed for him in Rachael Ray magazine and the same thing. For years, he would come back to us and say, I still get people coming to me and saying that they found me and Rachael Ray magazine and so on. The PR can last long, long beyond the actual newscast or issue it comes out, and especially if it’s online, those things last forever on the Internet. So, you know, again, it may cost you a few thousand dollars for a media campaign, but the payoff that you can get from that in consumer goodwill is indefinite.
It’s unbelievable. Like we talked about how to blast your brand name out to millions without advertising. You’re not advertising, you’re promoting and you’re getting a third-party endorsement from a higher authority.
What would you see the value, like do you have any examples? As I said, I wish I’d actually given you some samples there, but you know, they talk about the value of earned media versus the media. Is there any number of the value that broad, what they want?
There’s a formula that you can use. And if you subscribe to another service that companies like Cision offer their media monitoring service where they’ll actually answer all of your media coverage for you. They’ll provide you what’s called PR value, which is a dollar amount of the equivalent value of that media coverage and it’s based on a variety of factors, including the size of the coverage, like how big the article or how long was the news story, you know, things like that. Did it include pictures? Did it include links to your website? Was it a positive story? It bases it on all of these factors and comes up with a dollar figure that it’ll give you. But some of the campaigns that we’ve done for our most successful PR campaigns were in the tens of millions of dollars of PR value.
Wow. That’s amazing. There’s one other thing I want to ask you about. There’s an organization up here, I would say their name, but they are a media organization. What they do is they will actually write a story for you. They’ll find a story and then they’ll publish it on their website and then they’ll and they’re a legitimate news organization and then they’ll advertise it themselves, they’ll use their own Facebook account to do an ad to target people who may be interested. What is it, have you seen any success with it? Is that a way to go?
Yeah. You know, we have several sites in the Puget Sound area, in the greater Seattle area that will do that here, too. They’re often community-based websites like in my particular area it’s called Thurston Talks, thurstontalks.com and it’s all about Thurston County and they cover businesses in Thurston County and basically, you pay them to write a story about you. So, it’s paid media, but the way it looks is like it’s an editorial story. It doesn’t look like an advertisement.
Is it called an advertorial?
Yes, it’s an advertorial. That’s exactly what it’s called. So you’re paying them to write a favorable story about your business, product, service, whatever it may be. And to the reader, it looks like editorial coverage. It looks like that third-party endorsement by the media organization. But you’re actually paying for that article. There are lots of opportunities to do things like that. There are all kinds of magazines that will offer advertorials that you can pay for articles and it’s definitely a way to go. You know, if you get approached by something like that or you have an outlet like that in your local area, is it worth paying a few hundred dollars for or even $1,000 for an article that’s going to live online forever and give you that community goodwill? It very well could be.
Wow, that’s awesome. So, we’ve discovered another way to add in front of that. So, awesome. I am so happy you came to the show. I’ve enjoyed talking to you, it’s been such a pleasure. I know you mentioned threegirlsmedia.com. How else can listeners connect with you, our viewers, and our audience who are listening?
Besides our website, you can certainly find me all over social media as, Erika Taylor Montgomery, that’s my handle everywhere Facebook Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter. On Twitter, and publicity Erika. But if you search for me is Erika Taylor Montgomery. You’ll also find my Twitter profile that way so you can stalk me on social media if you want to email me, an easy email address to remember is email@example.com and that comes directly to me. I love to say that, I’m full of free advice, right? So, I do offer a complimentary 30-minute consultation where we can set up a Zoom meeting or a call and talk about each person’s specific marketing needs, their media relations needs and we can talk about your specific instance and scenario. If nothing else, I can give you free advice. You know, if you’re interested in more, we can certainly put together our customized proposal for you.
Sure. Yeah, I appreciate that. And again, thank you so much for being on the show. We’ll make sure to put your contact information in the show notes. And it’s been a pleasure having you here.
My pleasure, Matt. Thanks so much for the opportunity. Have a wonderful day.
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