Creating a media schedule and placing advertisements can be one of the most tedious tasks for a marketer. With the high cost associated with advertising, both print and digital, every company should have a detailed strategy for how they will use advertising in their overall marketing plan.
Whether you are placing advertisements for your company, or your client, special steps should be taken to ensure you get the most from your advertising budget. It is vital that you have the experience and the “know-how” to get the best placements and rates available. The in-depth experience necessary to plan and place advertisements successfully is exactly why most companies leave it up to the professionals, hiring an ad agency to take care of their advertising for them.
While going it alone, without an experienced professional isn’t recommended, some companies simply don’t have the resources to hire outside help. If you must act as your own advertising agency, there are a few steps you can take to better prepare yourself for the task at hand:
Know your target audience, who are they and what they read. While this seems like an obvious step, you would be surprised at how often it is skipped. Many companies get excited about seeing their ad in a popular magazine or on a website and don’t stop to consider if it is really the best avenue for reaching their target audience. Maybe this means advertising in smaller, more specific publications. Whatever the case, make sure you know exactly where your target audience is getting their information. Don’t forget to think outside the box! Using public relations services to push for some extended coverage in a publication can be just as effective, if not more, than placing an ad – and much cheaper!
Once you think you have found the perfect place to advertise, do your research! Get to know the publication inside and out. Find out who reads it, not just the industry the publication caters to, but the actual individual subscriber. Is it an end-user, a vendor, etc? Look through past and present media kits and research the publication online. What are people saying about it? Is their readership growing, or remaining stagnant? These are all questions that should be answered before you commit to purchasing an ad placement.
Take advantage of discounts. Many media companies offer discounted rates for placing multiple ads at once or prepaying for your insertions. In addition, some publications allow for negotiations before agreeing on a final price. Again, do your research so you know how to get the best possible rates.
And if all else fails, call a professional! An advertising agency will be able to easily handle all of the aspects of media planning and placement for you, making sure you get the most from your advertising budget.