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The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Media Planning Strategy

Today's digital landscape is highly competitive. As a result, businesses nowadays can achieve success by generating and distributing media content to their target audiences

By publishing new media, you boost brand visibility, engagement, conversions, and revenue. Media content also helps you stand out from the crowd. Monitoring, planning, organizing, disseminating, and evaluating that vast amount of media content, on the other hand, might get perplexing over time.

With an exhaustively examined media arranging system set up, groups can thoroughly assess campaign success and settle on instructed choices about further developing execution later. This comprehensive guide explains the whole concept of media planning, sheds light on its benefits, and describes all steps required to build a successful media plan.

What is Media Planning?

Media planning is how marketers select where, when, and how frequently they will promote to maximize engagement and ROI. The media strategy may allocate advertising dollars and resources to multiple online and offline channels such as broadcast, print, paid commercials, video ads, and native content.

In today's competitive marketing world, marketers must deliver customers the relevant message at the right time and through the right channel to see engagement. Marketers determine these "rights" through media planning. Regardless of who is in charge of the development, complete awareness of the components of a media plan, marketing channels, and the aspects that contribute to an effective strategy is required.

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Media Planning Components:

Before establishing a plan, the media planner must fill in the blanks on specific components. Without first comprehending its components, making a media plan is akin to blindfolded cycling.

media planning components
Six crucial media planning components

The component checklist serves as the plan's foundation and the following factors should be considered:

  • Audience: Who is the message aimed at? What makes the message necessary to them? What is the message’s purpose?
  • Marketing budget: How much money do you have to spread the word?
  • Conversion objectives: What actions do your messages encourage the audience to take? What effect will this have on the strategy?
  • Success is defined as: What are the important performance indicators to monitor? How do they contribute to the strategy? How will you assess and report on these indicators? What is the expected ROI?
  • Message frequency: How frequently should the message be communicated? While you want your message to reach your audience as much as possible your resource constraints may force a limit on your frequency. 
  • Message reach: How many people should the message reach? Is the communication platform scalable? The platform you use to distribute the message determines how the reach is measured. It is critical for media planners to grasp the nature, applications, and uses of every possible form of media.

Forms of Media

Marketing and advertising materials adopt the shape that best conveys the message and motivates the consumer to perform the desired action. Digital media encompasses everything.

Efforts to spread the word via conventional and digital media can be classified as follows:

  • Owned media comprises original materials, such as blog posts and explainer videos, that are released directly on platforms owned and maintained by the organization spreading the message. When an owned media asset goes viral, it brings unprecedented brand awareness especially when the brand needs it. However, it is a desirable but unpredictable state that should never be considered the cornerstone of any media strategy.
  • Earned media assets, such as news pieces or profiles in a newspaper or online news site, convey the organization's message but are developed by other parties. Typically, this is a function of public relations or media relations.
  • Paid media assets are assets related to advertising spending, such as social media advertisements, paid search ads, and paid commercials on television.

No form of media can be considered insignificant. The sort of media employed can make or break a campaign, and it is only one of several criteria that influence the potential effectiveness of a media plan.

Benefits of Media Planning

Parts of content development and distribution that benefit from media planning include: 

  • Knowing your target audience on a deeper level helps you effectively reach them through your media content.
  • You are free to choose any social media channels and platforms to distribute your work on.
  • You control the timing and frequency of publishing and sharing media or other materials. The strategy also assists in creating a well-defined editorial calendar for publishing branded content across different media platforms.
  • Keeping up with the newest media and technological trends.
  • It is critical to stick to your budget while you work to create, publish, and share high-quality and engaging media content. Media planning helps you do this and you can execute your campaigns without worrying that you may run out of resources.

Now that we've covered the advantages of media planning, let's go over the processes in the media planning process so you can start designing your company's strategy.

Right Mindset to Create a Media Plan

Once you know that you need a media plan, you should get your team in the right mindset. A well thought out media strategy requires that your team knows why you need it and has a good idea of what entails from this point onwards.

Here are a few points you can discuss with your team to get them in the right mindset before they set out on their journey to create a well thought out media strategy. These are the activities they should expect to perform as part of the overall process of creating a media strategy that will serve its purpose.

Conduct market research

The first step in building your media strategy is to do market research. Market research allows you to personalize your content and media plan for your target demographic and clients.

Begin by strengthening knowledge of your target audience and present consumers, and researching buyer personas (if you haven't previously).

You may use this information to assess which channel will reach, resonate with, and convert your target audience. It will also help you decide the platform and channels to distribute your content.

State your media planning objective

While creating your media plan, have a goal (or a few) to help you navigate the process efficiently. Furthermore, goals can help you determine which types of content and platforms you can say "no" to.

Here are some examples of media planning goals you could have:

  • When developing and sharing media, improve cross-team collaboration (for example, content, graphic design, animation, video, blog, social media).
  • Improve and streamline all media publication and dissemination procedures.
  • Improve the schedule for media distribution to guarantee that our material is circulated efficiently and that it is relevant to our target audience.
  • Increase the success of our media content by enabling enough time to examine its impact and reach our target audience.
  • Increase brand awareness to recruit new talent and retain existing ones.

Assume you want to establish a media plan for your Facebook and Instagram social content. Your goal could be to expedite the content generation process in a timely manner and then schedule postings on both channels ahead of time. 

In this manner, you can ensure that your postings are relevant to your audience, increasing interaction and keeping you at the top of their minds.

Using a template, create your media plan

It is not enough to merely plan and then assume that everyone else is on the same page. In a media plan paper, you must outline your strategy. Then, you'll be able to establish team alignment and hold everyone accountable.

Templates for media planning help you be efficient and productive while working on all the elements. They manage your media content while publishing and sharing it with your audience members.

For example, if your company wants to build a media plan for its Facebook and Instagram accounts, you could use a social media calendar. 

Implement your media plan

Ensure that all parties who should be aware of the strategy have the essential information to assist you in carrying it out. In addition, provide the contact information for your company's media-planning point person if anyone has any questions or complaints.

To better grasp what I mean, consider our previous step's example of your social media strategy for Facebook and Instagram. For example, if you use a social media calendar template as part of your media strategy, make sure everyone working on it or providing content for both platforms has access to it.

Evaluate your success

Whether your media strategy relies on individual Instagram posts or a month-long company-wide campaign, make sure to track the success of your efforts.

Did this media strategy help us achieve our specific objectives? As well as "Did the media planning templates and tools we use provide value to our media development and publication processes?" Inquire about yourself and your team.

How you evaluate the effectiveness of your media plan should be closely related to your company's specific goals for media and content, the teams that develop the media, and the value you want to extract from the media (e.g., boosting conversions, engagements, revenue, etc.).

6 Steps to building a comprehensive media planning strategy

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How to build a media planning strategy: all steps explained

Investigating media planning tactics can assist marketers in properly selecting the appropriate media outlets for distributing messages to a relevant audience. The following summarizes some of the major aspects that must be addressed while developing a media plan.

Selecting Relevant Media Channels

When it comes to sharing material, media strategists have alternatives regarding the channel or channels. First, users receive content via channels, digital or traditional outlets. Television, radio, and print advertisements are examples of traditional media outlets.

Digital channels include social media, websites, email, and other online platforms. Your chosen channel should be what your target audience is likely to use. For example, channels appeal to users depending on their age, gender, socioeconomic status, and other demographic factors.

Determining the relevant timeline

What factors influence the timeline of a media campaign? It is determined by the product or service, message goals, target audience, and event calendar. A project plan is required to determine what assets are required to support the campaign to develop the media campaign timetable.

It can be beneficial to begin at the end when determining resource requirements. For example, when is the best time to publish (or when should you publish)? With that in mind, the planner can begin mapping out the work that needs to be done. Every part of the strategy must be given adequate time to mature.

Coordinating the Channel Mix

A media plan will rarely comprise just one station. Instead, most campaigns will include at least two—and possibly several more—to guarantee that the material is served to as many people as possible.

However, businesses must ensure that the message is consistent across all mediums. Then, when used appropriately, they can be complementary.

This is especially true for social media channels. Therefore, it would be best to have the right content strategy to target the right audience on social media platforms.

Leveraging Audience Targeting

Identifying who to share a message with and how to locate them is known as audience targeting. Most marketers start the audience targeting process by creating buyer personas, which are fictionalized versions of the individuals they want to attract. Once a company has developed its target personas, marketers can more effectively select the appropriate marketing channel to reach the specified demographic.

Audience insights such as age, gender, job, purchasing patterns, interests, financial status, geographic area, and personal or professional aspirations create personas. This data can be acquired using a template containing original research into a current client base or gathered using Google Analytics.

Determining which media channels the persona's real individuals use is a key part of persona building. Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter provide audience segmentation tools that divide their users' demographic information into targetable segments.

Setting Reach and Frequency Goals

Another important aspect of a media strategy is reach, which is strongly related to frequency. As previously stated, reach is a measurement of the number of people who see, read, or listen to the material. The frequency, also known as the number of impressions, is the number of times the audience is expected to see or hear the item. Therefore, marketers must determine what they hope to achieve in terms of reach and frequency when evaluating media plan possibilities.

The amount of money invested in magnifying the message frequently determines reach and frequency. However, because such situations are rare, a media strategy must account for the amount of money required to get the content in front of the right number of people.

Choosing a Voice

The tone employed to convey the message is the "voice" of a piece of information. In written literature, word choice and sentence length influence it. The use of color and shapes in visual media produces "voice." People respond to real messaging, so the voice of a piece of content is vital. Consumers are astute. They recognize attempts to sell them something. Messages that appear or sound inauthentic or irrelevant elicit a visceral response.

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Steps to Develop a successful Media Plan

A solid media strategy guarantees that the material has the highest chance of performing its design function. The marketing team is adrift without a well-thought media strategy. Success, if it happens, is a result of chance rather than careful planning.

Steps to develop a media plan
How to develop a media plan

After examining the best media planning tactics, marketers must build the finest plan for their organization. The processes for building a media plan are outlined below, beginning with market research.

Conduct Market Research

Before establishing a goal, developing an editorial calendar, or creating a piece of content, the marketing team must first learn a few things about the people who will consume or purchase their product or service. This needs market research, the first step in designing a media plan.

Buyer persona characteristics such as age and other demographics are revealed via market research. It provides information on purchasing behavior as well as personal preferences. In addition, it tells content creators what voice to use, which platforms their potential customers visit, and what type of material will be popular with people.

In a word, market research is the strategy's cornerstone. It should be completed completely and updated on a regular basis based on test results.

Clarify the objective

It is nearly impossible to build an effective marketing asset (ad, blog article, video, static picture, etc.) without first determining why the item is required. The goal must shape every component of the content. What objectives a piece of content assist the marketing team in achieving?

  • Brand awareness and loyalty. Inform or demonstrate what the company and its people are all about to a user.
  • Thought leadership. Demonstrate or explain why the organization and its employees are experts in their subject to a user.
  • Data accessibility. Allow users to access data or history that they can utilize in their professional or personal lives.
  • Lead generation. Generate a pool of potential customers by demonstrating how a product or service might be beneficial.
  • Lead conversion. Allow a potential consumer to actively seek more information or establish an ongoing relationship with the organization.

Content creators can structure their work with purpose and direction if they have a goal or goals in mind ahead of time. As a result, it expedites the creative process and reduces the amount of time required for revisions. In addition, time spent deciding the ending early on saves time later.

Identify the Target Audience

Audience targeting is the process of segmenting consumers based on their interests and demographic data. 

The primary goal of segmentation is to ensure that the right people receive the message. Of course, the "right people" are individuals who are most likely to use the offered goods or services. Here are some suggestions for effective audience targeting:

  • Analytics. Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and other platforms analyze consumer data such as geographic location, websites visited, and personal and professional interests. Use these resources to learn more about clients already working with the organization.
  • Organize focus groups and surveys. Invite current users and consumers to fact-finding meetings, or use surveys to ask why people use products when and how they do.
  • A/B testing. Test how the public reacts to various information to understand what works and what does not. An A/B test examines two versions of the same content, such as an advertisement with the same words but different images. The version that outperforms the others can be used.

Set the budget

When developing a media strategy, every potential cost must be considered. For example, a campaign may necessitate display advertising, social media ad placement, sponsored social media posts, paid search engine ad placement, influencer marketing fees, and other expenses.

The media buyer's job is to estimate the costs of all of these items. The media planner then uses the information to determine the most cost-effective development and distribution of content.

Hidden or unplanned costs can undermine a marketing strategy. Include an "emergency" fund to cover additional fees, commissions, testing, and unforeseen expenses.

Final Thoughts

Organizations can make better data-driven decisions about enhancing marketing ROI and boosting conversions with a thorough media planning strategy. 

It may look like a daunting task at the beginning, but the journey itself is nothing but rewarding. You will identify aspects of your business that you did not consider earlier.

Many brands find that a well-thought media strategy formalizes a lot of things they wanted to do but did not have a framework to get started on those.

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