As an account executive, my days are typically filled with tactical projects, from conducting media outreach and writing editorial, to developing social marketing content or researching clients’ competitive landscape. However, I recently had the opportunity to undertake a more strategic task that turned out to be one of my most fulfilling projects to date: to create a strategic, comprehensive media plan. At the time, I didn’t realize just how much of a testament this would be to my knowledge of the industry, but even more so a culmination of the various knowledge and skill sets I’ve cultivated during my time here at Stanton Communications.
Below, I’ve highlighted a few of these observations, as well as some practical tips to keep in mind when developing a comprehensive media plan.
Explain the media landscape clearly
When facilitating media spokesperson training, we always tell our subject matter experts, “You are the authority and know your content best.” As public relations professionals, we often take our own knowledge for granted about the way media works and the different methods to earn press coverage. Introduce the media plan with a thorough explanation of the types of tactics that can be under taken while tying back into the client’s ultimate objective. This underscores the program strategy that takes into account the newsworthiness of the announcement or initiative, as well as the client’s time and resources. Some approaches may work better than others (ex. a phone interview versus a desk side background briefing).
Leverage knowledge of the client’s industry and be (very!) specific
A comprehensive list of top-tier target publications is an important component of any media plan. Instead of simply listing the publication and media contact, take the plan a step further and note factors such as a specific column or segment, typical lead time, and the word count or segment length. Simply put, the more details, the better. Go beyond what’s listed in the media database or in the publication’s media kit. Use first-hand knowledge and experience to provide value to the client in the form of stating exactly what the journalist wants and needs, and what will result in media coverage.
Go beyond the “expected” audience focus
Don’t be basic. Expand into verticals beyond the client’s primary audience to serve as a secondary approach for media outreach initiatives. Think about all key stakeholders and partners, and research their top-tier target publications. Explain the rationale for including these supplemental targets in the plan and connect the dots as to why it is a valuable use of time to reach them and help garner positive coverage.
Whether the media plan is for a specific event, campaign or an annual outreach program, mixture thorough combination of strategic recommendations, realistic timing and manageable expectations can result in a successful plan and best of all, the desired results.