Content marketers strive to develop engaging, useful content that your audiences want. Investing in a content marketing effort includes so many components — strategy, planning, development, distribution, and analysis. However, content saturation is a reality, so it can be challenging to get content in front of the right people. An important aspect of achieving this is media planning.
There’s a misconception that media planning isn’t in the content marketing wheelhouse. Enterprises may shift much of this to agencies or have dedicated in-house resources. However, that doesn’t mean that content marketing shouldn’t understand this role, and play a role in the process.
In this post, we’ll be discussing the fundamentals of media planning and why content marketers should be involved.
What Is Media Planning?
To define media planning, you can consider it as the process of making decisions about message delivery. It includes the where, when, and how. You want to reach a target audience with consistent messaging to achieve a goal (i.e., brand awareness, lead generation, etc.).
Media planning is not what it once was. That’s because channels have changed, and it now encompasses much more than media buys. Once, there was print, radio, and TV, so the choices were minimal. You also had to develop content for broad appeal, not a targeted buyer.
The shift to digital marketing changed that. Now, there’s social media, content amplification, search engine rankings, and more. Today’s media planning includes owned content strategy elements as well as paid.
The channels may look different, but the overall concept remains the same. While you have more channels to distribute content, the general idea of media planning remains the same. It’s about determining the right channel to help you reach the right people with the most impactful message. You also have to live within your budget.
Developing a Media Plan — What Should You Include?
Content marketers are great planners. For every project, you create content workflows that include all aspects from start to finish. Developing a media plan involves similar execution. From your perspective as a content marketer, these are the most crucial elements.
Who Does the Ad Need to Reach?
Who is the first thing to tackle. Define your target audience using buyer personas and other knowledge. A picture of whom the ad is speaking to helps all other tactics.
What Is Your Budget?
Your budget will create the parameters of what you can and cannot do. You should have a dollar amount here before you get too deep and discover you don’t have the funding.
What Are Your Goals?
With any tactic, you need specific goals. What do you hope to accomplish with the media buy? And how will you define success? Explain your objectives and what content analytics you’ll measure to gauge performance.
When Will the Ads Run?
Timing is essential in every content marketing campaign. The timeframe may be broad or short. A precise timeframe may revolve around seasonal elements like the holidays. It may also tie to a product launch or other company events.
You’ll also need to determine the frequency. You don’t want to overwhelm audiences. However, you still want high visibility. It’s a balancing act.
After you answer these questions, you’ll have the blueprint to follow. These aren’t set in stone and can change, depending on internal or external drivers.
Next, let’s look at the role of content marketing in media planning.
5 Ways to Integrate Content Marketing and Media Planning
Behind the media plan is content! The media buys aren’t in a silo. They connect to content you create that the target audience will find attractive. To ensure the alignment of content marketing and media planning, consider these things.
Personalization in content marketing is a trend that continues to be vital. People respond better to content that’s hyper-focused. Personalization with media buys can be tricky, especially with third-party cookies crumbling.
Your new approach should include first-party data collection. Using channels that make this possible provides you with the best chance to target and deliver personalized messaging. Doing so will boost performance.
Search Data Holds Insights
Doing a deep dive into your search data can make media planning more effective. Look specifically at the questions from users. This helps you get in touch with what your audience needs and wants.
These insights can help you plan the right channels to launch media buys. For example, if a frequent search query asks a question about software for a specific industry, that’s a sign. With this knowledge, you can plan for media buys specific to that industry.
Content Gaps Deliver Opportunities
Going back to your data and looking at industry trends, you may identify content gaps. Audiences are seeking answers to something they can’t find across the vertical. If you can discern these, it could be an excellent opportunity for sponsored content.
If your buyers are hungry for solutions to a new problem resulting from legislation, rules, or other things outside their control, develop a fact-based, tactical content piece for distribution in a reputable industry publication. Filling this content gap could deliver significant engagement.
High-Performing Content Deserves Paid Dollars
If you have content that’s performing very well through organic tactics, give it a boost with media dollars. Find content driving results and then develop a paid strategy to expand its reach. But don’t blindly spend. Consider where your audience is to allocate funds. That could be a LinkedIn ad, a spot on an industry newsletter, or other relevant channels.
Storytelling, Not Selling, Should Guide Media Planning
While media planning involves advertising, your messaging shouldn’t be salesy. No matter what channel or format you use, focus on storytelling that speaks to your audience and their challenges. A hard sale approach is a waste of your budget dollars, so keep the spotlight on being helpful.
Incorporate Media Planning into Your Content Marketing Strategy
Content marketers need a place at the media planning table. That’s because it’s part of the distribution and reach of content. By leveraging these points and having a documented plan, media planning will fit nicely into your content marketing strategy.
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