How to write a media plan: getting started

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Big news! Today is the official launch of Hearsay’s six-week, tip-driven program focused on helping you create the holy grail of promotional roadmaps: the media plan. Media plans are the who, what, when, why, and how behind a successful publicity campaign.

Each week, we’ll show you one of the six most important elements every plan should include to ensure that your campaign is set up for success.

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First up? How to get started with research and discovery. Plus, how to perform a SWOT analysis.

Do you know where your brand fits in the marketplace? What are your competitors doing? What emerging trends are going on in your industry? Who does your brand appeal to? How does your brand differ its competition?

These are important questions to ask yourself prior to reaching out to any media outlets.

Don’t know the answers? It’s crucial you spend time to do your research. There are two avenues to getting the answers you seek, primary and secondary research.

Primary research

Primary research means going out and doing research on your own.

A quick survey of previous customers—social media is great for this—or friends and family can be used to help you better your brand positioning.

Secondary research

Secondary research consists of collecting data that has already been published.

You might find statistics relevant to consumer purchasing behavior or emerging trends in a publication like Wall Street Journal or Forbes.

Once you’ve gathered up the information gathered from research, use it to write up your findings in a brief executive summary to kick off your plan.

SWOT analysis

SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

While SWOT analyses are usually used to gauge the benefits—or lack thereof—of projects or business ventures, they’re also hugely effective in media plans.

Why? For a variety of reasons. However, the two most important are as follows.

First, a SWOT analysis forces you to explore the opportunities that exist for your brand or product. Don’t forget to think big when drafting this section.

What opportunities exist locally? Are they regional or national? Are they within and outside of your industry? What opportunities do you have to overtake your competition?

For example, if you’re a beauty company, your list might include “being the go-to brand for eco-friendly beauty” or “overtaking competitor X with our new line of eco-friendly nail polish.”

The second reason a SWOT analysis should be incorporated into your media plan is because it forces you to face your weaknesses and threats from the outset.

Whether you’re dealing with a potential product shortage or stiff local competition, you’ll be able to address and plan for those challenges throughout the strategies and tactics outlined in your media plan.

Ready to get started? Download our free PR Plan template to get you started.

Have you started your media planning for 2017? What’s holding you back? 

Want more helpful tips like the ones above plus more? Check out The Buzz: A Media Darling’s Guide to Press Coverage or sign up for exclusive Hearsay content.