Small businesses and startups don’t need the frills and thrills, the bells and whistles of the sophisticated media campaigns that corporations invest so much in. But any media strategy needs a clear direction, which can only be determined if you identify the targeted audience and its needs, and distribute the resources that go into the strategy effectively. Regardless of your type of business or industry, here’s how to get a basic media strategy going in seven steps.
Identify your target audience
Who are you trying to reach? Is it consumers, other businesses, or a combination of both? Where are they located? What do they need? What are they interested in? What is their pain, problem or issues? Look at any data you may have to answer these questions. The competition is too stiff for you to throw your content or ads out there like an angler with bait and hope for the best. You need to be specific.
Base your message on their pain points
What you have on offer, however good it may be, won’t matter to your audience unless it can solve their problems. Your media strategy should convey precisely this – that you can help them. Most the content you create and curate, as well as any ads you may come up with, should be relevant to their pain points. Your media efforts, whether exclusively online or combined with traditional advertising in local media, should help solve real, tangible problems.
Clarify your goals
What do you hope to achieve through your media strategy? While all companies use media to increase their online visibility, each has different goals. For some, it’s enough to drive traffic to their website, while others want conversions, whether in the form of direct sales, email subscriptions, downloads, or blog followers. Other companies use media to answer customer support questions and get feedback which they can then incorporate into their product development cycle.
You need to know where your focus lies. Also important is to make all your goals measurable. For example, “increase traffic to the website,” is not half as good as “increase traffic by 15% by (specific date).” I know I said it before, however, it is worth repeating here. You’ve got to be specific.
Create value in what you offer
Aligning your goals to your audience’s pain points enables you to provide media content that has the best value for every dollar you spend. As a small business or startup, your media budget is likely to be limited, which makes this even more important.
For example, producing content for Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn is significantly cheaper than advertising in the local papers or magazines, yet the reach can also be greater.
Define your resources
Your resources include money, time, and personnel. Determine how much money you can spend on your media campaign, who will be in charge, and how much time you can invest. This is the stage where you also determine whether you need help from outside, and how much you can spend on it. Distributing resources is important even with social media, which is at first glance free, but which costs you time.
Set productive limits and measurable targets
First, you need to decide what social media networks and other media channels you will use. Your choice should be based on where your target audience is most active. In other words, where are they hanging out? Second, determine how much content you put into each media channel and how often. Lastly, you will want to set up measurable markers of success, such as traffic, shares, comments, or conversions.
Wait and measure results
Determine the duration of your media efforts, the time you stick to your strategy without making any major changes to it. You don’t want to be stuck with a strategy for too long, but not pursuing it enough may yield inconclusive results. Stick to your strategy for at least a few months, measuring results at least once a week.