“Focus is a matter of deciding what things you’re not going to do.” – John Carmack
The Media Plan is a subcomponent of the communication plan; it identifies the specific media channels for each communication strategy within the program. A Media Plan will consist of a mix of public relations (earned) and advertising (paid) channels, but each Media Plan is unique; it is dependent on the organization’s resources and goals. The number of media options and combinations of media platforms for your Media Plan is infinite. You can focus on the ever-changing media landscape, or you can let Vagary focus on it. Vagary will create a Media Plan, an ecosystem of media properties, that is appropriate for your business situation.
Creating a Media Plan for your organization is key to ensuring you have future access to various types of channels for proactive and reactive communication efforts. Your Media Plan should include a mix of both paid and “free” channels, but this depends on your available resources and your priorities. At times, your business will encounter situations when it will need to react quickly and contribute to the social conversation. On other occasions, your company will have the freedom to direct the conversation.
Every media channel in your Media Plan should contribute to the achievement the high-level business communication goals. While specific communication strategies, or focused campaigns, can be run for short periods of time, your macro-level goals should serve as the long-term guidance for your organization when selecting your media channels. A solid Media Plan identifies the channels the team will focus on and it defines the channels it will not focus on at that time.
Budgets for paid advertising campaigns are generally inversely proportional to the size of the organization. Free media channels such as Facebook fan pages, YouTube channels, Instagram profiles, LinkedIn Business Pages, and company websites, are imperative for most small businesses. Creating these “free” business pages is easy, but generating quality content-rich channels on these platforms that contribute to the business goals requires communication skill. All of the content on your free channels will represent your brand when you are unable to directly interact with your target audience.
Social media platforms are target-rich environments for public relations professionals. The audience management tools of many social media platforms matured quickly. Utilizing these tools conservatively, and with attention to detail, can prove invaluable in the long run. Contributing to social conversations, without introspect, can have terrible consequences for the public perception of your business. Vagary recommends the proactive creation, and use, of a style guide for all business communication efforts, whether it be a Facebook post, a YouTube video comment, an Instagram connection, or otherwise.
Paid advertising campaigns come with an impression cost or a click cost, and they only run for a limited period. Ad campaigns can be costly for a small organization. Traditional media–newspaper, television, outdoor display, direct mail, radio, magazine, etc.–is still available as an advertising option but modern ad-serving platforms Google Adwords, Facebook Advertising, and LinkedIn Advertising, have much cheaper advertising options with sophisticated audience targeting features. With regards to digital advertising, there are many pay-per-click (PPC) or pay-per-impression options.
Have you lost focus yet? Get back to your business and let Vagary focus on developing the correct Media Plan for your business. Vagary can professionally manage most digital advertising channels in-house, but we prefer to review your overall communication plan and business goals before suggesting a specific channel is a good fit for you.
Depending on your business, your media plan may include one of the following types PPC digital advertising options: paid search, display advertising, native advertising, promoted post or infeed, retargeting, remarketing, shopping/product feed, Email…the list goes on. For each of these paid advertising options, your business must consider the message recipient’s frame of mind during the ad impression. Is the recipient actively searching for a solution? Has the recipient previously purchased something from your business? Is the recipient catching up with friends on Facebook? Is the recipient looking for your advertisement? Vagary can effectively and efficiently reach your target audience using social media ad-serving platforms. The trick is to sparingly use these platforms and always leverage the style guide. Your business communication efforts should strive to be relevant and welcome by the target audience.
Modern media options have the ability to measure efficiency at a very low level. The data from digital media channels can provide you with a wealth of information related to your business and your digital ecosystem. Whether you are measuring your media properties, analyzing the data from a paid advertising channel, measuring the effectiveness of a specific call-to-action in an Email, or otherwise, setting up the analytics tools is essential for getting the most out of your paid advertising efforts.
Traditional media vehicles like magazines, newspapers, radio, outdoor display, direct mail, etc., utilize antiquated measurement formulas to determine impressions or viewership. The addition of these types of media options to your media plan depends on your business goals. Vagary still sees value in these advertising options, but the data can be questionable. At the very least, we always suggest digitally testing creative elements like color, copy, fonts, visuals, etc., before utilizing them in traditional media advertising campaigns.
Event or team sponsorship is considered a hybrid of public relations and advertising. Events are intimate venues that allow your brand to connect, and interact, with a specific audience or community. While the sponsorship of the event works much like advertising, the social media exposure of it can result in social goodwill and reflect positively on the sponsor. Events are a fantastic channel for building brands, but the return on the investment can be challenging to measure, and these agreements should not be entered into lightly. Reputable event promoters will have a history of providing value and communication opportunities for their sponsors.
At Vagary, the decision to add each new channel to your Media Plan includes an evaluation of the utility of the vehicle for your organization’s communication goals. Among other things, we consider your marketing budget, your internal bandwidth and media channel expertise, your competitive set, your product or service offering, your geographic location, your target audience, and more.
The creation of your Media Plan, your communication ecosystem, is the deliberate attempt to interact with your target audience. The voice, communication style, of your business within your ecosystem is the way you choose to communicate with your target audience. Your creative communication elements, your style guide, should be consulted regardless of whether you’re connecting with your audience via free social platforms or paid advertising campaigns. Do you have the bandwidth to manage your business and manage your business communication? Vagary focuses on media and communication.
Focus on your business. Vagary will focus on your media plan.