What is Media Planning?
Media planning is the process of choosing where, when, and how a business will advertise to its target customers, in order to secure their engagement and to boost ROI. Media planning has many factors and considerations that need to be taken into account and it is not necessarily easy!
A media plan details what kind of media you will create, from social media to blog posts. You determine the publishing schedule and the best channels during this process so that you can maximize success in engaging with and converting your audience. Media plans vary in complexity, they can align with larger company initiatives and campaigns, following along with pre-approved messaging and content. Other media plans are separate strategies that focus on how to utilize most effectively certain media mediums like articles, podcasts or videos to connect with followers and customers.
In order to help you get it right, this post will bring together all the information you need to create the perfect media calendar for your business. We’ll walk you through each step of the media planning process to help you tackle any media planning issues you might encounter.
Elements of Media Planning
Media planning deals with strategizing in advance for content creation and distribution. This includes:
- Developing an understanding of your target audience and buyer persona so that you can create relevant content for them
- Picking which media channels to use
- Deciding on the timing and frequency of the media and content that you distribute
- Staying on top of the latest media trends to stay interesting
- Planning your budget for all of the content
- Deciding who will create, publish, and share high-quality and engaging media content that you want
- Keeping track of the media to measure the success of your media planning process
Now that we’ve discussed the overview of the media planning process, let’s dive into the specific steps in the media planning process.
Media Planning Process
- Conduct market research.
- Establish your media planning goals.
- Create your media plan.
- Implement your media plan.
- Evaluate your success.
1. Conduct market research.
The first thing you’ll want to do when developing your media planning process is conduct market research. Market research will allow you to tailor the content you create and the media plan you implement to your target audience and customers. No
Start by creating (if you haven’t already) and studying your buyer personas as well as developing an understanding of who your target audience and current customers are.
With this information, you can determine what media will reach, resonate with, and convert your audience. Additionally, it’ll help you decide what platforms and channels through which to share your content.
2. State your media planning objective.
When developing your media plan, keep a goal (or a few) in mind to help you effectively navigate the process. Moreover, goals can help you know what content types and platforms you can say “no” to.
Here are some examples of media planning objectives you might have:
- Bolster collaboration across creative teams while creating and sharing media.
- Improve media distribution timeline to ensure our content is shared while it is still trendy and relevant
For instance, say you’re looking to create a media plan for your Quora, Tik Tok, and Instagram social content. Your objective may be to streamline the content creation process in a timely fashion and then schedule posts on both platforms in advance. This way, you ensure your posts are relevant to your audience so you can boost engagement and stay top of mind.
3. Make Your Media Plan
Now it’s time to finally create your media plan. You need to coordinate your entire team so that the research you did gets executed in the best way. To do this you need to outline your strategy into a media plan document. This document will enable your team to all be on the same page and understand everyone’s individual responsibilities.
The best way to organize your document is using specific media planning templates. There are a lot of different templates available for different media and business types. That means you should take care to choose a template that suits your business and needs. The ultimate media planning template that you choose will be unique to your business. You should be bold and test templates, you can even combine different templates to see what works!
For example, if your business is looking to create a media plan for your Instagram and Tik Tok social media, you might choose to implement a social media calendar template that focuses on video content.
This type of template will help you coordinate your content across both channels, boost engagement, and improve productivity among your team members — and therefore, achieve the objective you set in step two.
Here are is our custom social media planning template, it’s the perfect place to start!
You can customize it however you need to! Add and remove social channels, add columns for other metrics you want to monitor, etc.
4. Implement your media plan.
Ensure all parties who should be aware of the plan have the necessary details to help you execute accordingly. You can do this by assigning tasks on your work app like Slack or Monday, or over email whatever your organization uses!
To get a better understanding of what I mean, let’s refer back to our example in the above step about your social media plan for Facebook and Instagram.
If you implement a social media calendar template as part of your media plan, ensure everyone who will be working on or creating the content and publication schedule for both platforms has access to it. In addition, make sure that they are all aware of deadlines for the content they are accountable for.
5. Evaluate your success.
Whether your media plan revolves around individual posts on Tik Tok or a longer-term company plan, be sure to measure the metrics to evaluate success!
Make sure you address important questions like:
- Did this media plan meet our stated objective/goal
- Did the media planning templates support our process?
- What did we do that added value to our media creation and publication processes?
- What can we change to improve for the future?
When you reflect you should keep in mind your business’s specific goals regarding your media and content. You can consider if the teams who create the media work effectively. You can also look at whether you were able to boost conversions, engagements, revenue, etc.
Media Planning Strategy Bonus Tips
TopTip: Media Planning Budget
Don’t forget to think critically about your media budget. You will need to understand what funds you have to work with and how to best utilize them for the best ROI. You can check out our article on the best channels for marketing ROI here to help.
You need to set this budget before you start researching platforms and creating content. You don’t want to start formulating a campaign that you can’t afford down the road. If you want to incorporate guest posts on blogs or social channels, Accessily is a great place to start. You can get individual posts in our marketplace or set up a campaign with whatever budget fits your plan.
Top Tip: Media Planning Messaging
You don’t have to have your media content all written in advance, however, it is important to decide on a theme and message for your plan. When you establish the main themes from the onset you will have a cohesive content strategy.
These messaging points will come from your audience research and may also influence what content types and platforms you decide to focus on!
Finalizing Your Media Planning
Spoiler alert: nothing is final
Digital trends and social media evolve quickly and constantly! New networks emerge others go through demographic shifts. For example, Facebook is nowhere near as trendy as it once was and Tik Tok is exploding!
All of this means that your strategy should be a living document that you review and adjust as needed. Refer to it often to stay on track, but don’t be afraid to make changes so that it better reflects new goals, tools, or plans.
When you update your media planning strategy, make sure to let everyone on your team know. If you plan well and adjust often you are set up for success!