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What Is Media Planning and How Does It Work?

What Is Media Planning and How Does It Work?

What Is Media Planning and How Does It Work?

There are many forms of online marketing. That’s one of the best things about the Internet for businesses — it offers so many ways to advertise, helping you to reach different audiences and increase revenue for your business.

But without proper marketing management, that blessing can also become a curse — after all, you may not know which channels to use to run your campaigns or what media works best. Figuring all that out can be difficult.

That’s why there’s media planning. Media planning is a vital part of any marketing strategy, whether you hire a media planner or handle it on your own. But what is media planning, and how does it work?

We’ll answer both of those questions below, so just keep reading to learn more. Then subscribe to Revenue Weekly — our email newsletter — to get more useful digital marketing tips delivered right to your inbox!

What is media planning?

Media planning is the process of figuring out the what, where, when, who, and how of your marketing. It’s the process of answering these questions:

  • What are you marketing?
  • Where will you go to market it (which channels will you use)?
  • When will you market it (what period of time and with what frequency)?
  • Who are you targeting?
  • How will you market your business, products, or services?

Answering those questions is critical for any marketing campaign. It’s especially important given the abundance of options you have online.

Types of media to consider for your media strategy

Arguably the most fundamental part of media planning is figuring out which types of media you want to use to market your company. To do that, though, you need to know your options.

There are three major media categories online. Here’s an overview of each one:

1. Owned media

Owned media includes any channels that your business has direct ownership over. The most obvious example of this is your website. On your site, you can put up whatever marketing you want, wherever you want. You don’t have to pay or earn your way onto your own website.

Owned media also includes any physical property belonging to your business, such as an office. You can put up signs in your building wherever you want. The same goes for any apps your business runs.

2. Earned media

Earned media refers to search engines. On these channels, you must earn your way into the top search results in order to reach users. That process is called search engine optimization (SEO).

There are many ways to earn high search rankings, including:

  • Targeting relevant keywords
  • Earning backlinks
  • Optimizing page speeds
  • And more!

Reviews and user-generated content also qualify as earned media, since you must earn users’ trust and praise.

3. Paid media

Paid media is simple — it refers to any channels that require you to pay your way to earn customers. Paid advertising is the most obvious example of this. You set a bid to get your ads to show in search results or on websites, and pay each time users click on your ads.

There are numerous places to advertise online. One of the most popular ad types is paid search ads, which appear at the top of results on search engines like Google.

computer doc google ppc ad

You can also show display ads in the margins of third-party websites or run promoted posts on social media.

Paid media is one of the fastest-acting methods, but it’s also the one that’s the most heavily dependent on your budget.

How to develop a media strategy

When it comes time to develop a media plan, you have a few options.

Your first option is to hire a media planner, someone whose entire job is built around coming up with media strategies. Your second option is to hire an agency to handle media planning along with all your other marketing. You also have the option to handle it on your own.

No matter which route you choose, it’s a good idea to know what goes into media planning.

Here’s an overview of how to put together a solid media strategy:

1. Come up with your reach and conversion goals

The first step in media planning is to set goals— focus on reach and conversions. Reach refers to the size and scope of your audience, while conversion goals determine what you want your audience to do.

Regarding reach, ask yourself: Do you want to reach a vast audience that spans multiple demographics and locations? Or are you limiting yourself to a niche audience? Your answer will impact your media planning and the channels you use to reach your audience.

As for conversion goals, what action do you want your audience to take? Do you want them to become leads? Sign up for an email list? Buy a product? Whatever it is, know that goal from the outset to choose the right channels.

2. Choose your channels

Once you’ve laid out your goals, it’s time to figure out which channels to use. Use your goals to make this decision. Different channels have different strengths and weaknesses, so you’ll want to pick based on the marketing decisions you made previously.

For example, if your conversion goal is to get users to buy a product, you may opt to run a paid ad on Google. If you want to introduce them to your business for the first time, SEO might be a better route.

You should also factor your budget into this decision. If you don’t have a big budget, that might sway you to aim for more budget-friendly channels.

3. Figure out the appropriate timeline and frequency

Another step you won’t want to miss is to determine your marketing timeline and frequency. When will you run your marketing campaign, and how frequently will you try to reach users?

Frequency doesn’t really apply to some strategies, like web design or SEO, but it’s a huge factor in email marketing or paid advertising. You don’t want to bombard users with your marketing, but you do want to reach them often enough to keep your brand top of mind and drive conversions.

Likewise, your marketing might be a long-term project, or it might just be a campaign you want to run for a specific season.

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