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PR and Social Media: The Blurred Line Between the Two Mediums

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If you’re new to the world of marketing you’ll soon learn that buzzwords are king. The industry specific jargon you’ve seen referenced time and time again will inevitably become standard issue within a couple of weeks of working “in the industry”. Unfortunately, buzzwords are not entirely progressive forms of communication– and eventually certain terms lose their relevancy and are replaced by newer concepts that often times mean the same thing as the term it replaced with a few more facets/implications attached to the definition. A prime example of this is ‘earned media’ and ‘owned media’. Before continuing, let’s make sure the definition and differences between ‘earned’ and ‘owned’ media are clear.


‘Earned media’ can mostly be attributed to Public Relations, or simply ‘PR’. If you’re working in the field of PR you probably spend quite a bit of time focused specifically on marketing the brand. The breakthroughs come when stories or advertisements are placed in a major publication or news outlet on national television. This is the type of accomplishment that prompts people into checking out your website because they spotted your brand name on something that is accessed by millions of people on a daily basis. When this occurs, you can consider the work you’ve done a success. This is the truest definition of earned media.


‘Owned media’ is the area of focus where social media reigns supreme. Owned media places a focus on content that you control such as blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. The benefit of owned media is that you have complete control over the themes and messages that the brand you represent gives off to the general public. Though more risk is associated with owned media in comparison to earned media due to the owner taking full responsibility for what is being published about the brand he or she is trying to promote, the payoff can be valued at a much higher rate because it was self-generated and holds no obligations to other forms of media/outlets for its’ exposure. If owned media goes viral. The accomplishment is celebrated by only those within the company/brand. There is no need to thank or pay tribute to anyone outside of the immediate circle/union of developers/marketing team.


Though the differences between earned and owned media are apparent– the dividing line that separates these two forms of marketing has slowly begun to dissolve. The way in which the field of marketing has been developing so far in 2015 shows that no aspiring brand can reach the pinnacle of publicity without both earned and owned media. On top of that, good strategists must be able to differentiate what is working for their brand and what is not in a much more efficient manner than ever before. If even two hours a day are spent cultivating a network through a medium that has yet to produce any sustainable/profitable results, that medium must be severed from the brand’s overall marketing strategy so the time spent on that approach can be delegated to something that is proven to be more useful/efficient. While the overall goal of a marketing team is fairly cut and dry, the approach in which they take in order to achieve success is one with many twists and turns. The bottom line: adaptability is one of the most crucial traits in developing a successful team that can adequately market a budding idea. Otherwise, publicity will always be an uphill battle.


The Three Principles to Successful Business Blogging


Whether you are the owner, operator or admin of a company or brand’s website, blog work is essential to successfully networking with neighboring sites and associates that could eventually help you grow your network. Here are a couple tried and true principles to routine blog posting that will not only help with consistency but also aid in SEO work as well.

  1. The lengthier the better. If an article is roughly 300-500 words the search term you associate with the post should be mentioned 3 to 7 times spread out through the length of the post in its’ entirety.
  2. Make your posts as SEO-friendly as possible. Keywords need to be used in the subheadings and a priority must be placed on making the main topic of the post as easy to identify as possible. Meaning the reader should know the subject of the post within the first one to three sentences. Images attached to each article along with a meta description are also crucial for reader accessibility and for search engines to prioritize your writing over other random websites that have no relevancy to the topic you’re trying to address.
  3. Content must be updated regularly. That doesn’t mean blow up the blog section of your company’s site with useless posts that have no merit or calculatable wealth. All posts published must serve a purpose. Whether that purpose is to provide advice on business ventures or to simply update and educate readers on the product or brand that you are determined to successfully market. There is no room or time for wasted language on a successful company’s site. Every amount of space must be used with the utmost efficiency– plain and simple.


Strategic Brand Development

Branding is that part of your marketing plan that sets your business apart from others in your industry and lets your customers and potential customers know what’s unique about your company. Your branding can include every aspect of your business, including your logo, website design, how your employees answer the phone, your office decor, your social media pages and every public-facing aspect of your business.

Every business can benefit from branding, but small businesses especially need good branding to set them apart from their competitors. Entrepreneur magazine calls developing your brand a journey of self-discovery, and that’s a good way to look at it. To get the most from your branding efforts, you need to meet with key employees and define:

  • Who is your ideal customer?
  • What makes your company unique?
  • What words and qualities do you want customers and potential customers to associate with your business?

The best brands answer those questions … and ask again and again as they grow.

Good strategic brand development

How does a small business with a limited budget get the most from branding? Below are a few strategies to consider:

1. Splurge on a dynamite logo. Your logo makes your business and all of your marketing materials distinct and unique. A great logo can impart your business philosophy, your company’s personality and your strengths all in one graphic. This is a must-have for any new business. If you’re bootstrapping your business, issue a call for submissions through a third-party freelance service like Odesk or Elancer.

2. Create a voice. Like a logo, the “voice” is the way you tell your company’s story, and it helps define your company’s personality. Progressive Insurance is an example of a company that uses a character – Flo – to represent the company’s voice. Other examples:

  • Coca-Cola is the voice of proud Americans
  • American Express’s voice is well-heeled, intelligent, sophisticated and worldly
  • Nike’s “Just Do It” speaks confidence
  • GoDaddy’s voice is a little rebellious, edgy and humorous

3. Tie it all together. For your branding to be successful, you need to have all aspects of your marketing plan interlinked. Your website should mention your print publications. Your print advertising and direct mail should mention your website, and so on.

4. Get the most for your branding dollars. Start-up companies, by definition, lack huge marketing budgets. To get the most from your branding dollars, invest first in the essentials—a great logo, a great website, business cards and someone to manage your social media and email marketing efforts. As you grow, you can add other components like point-of-purchase displays, direct mail marketing and logo items.

What are other examples of brand voices? Share your thoughts in our comments section.