Updated: Feb 3
The biggest business mistake you’ll make this year you may already be making right now! It’s simple and it’s this: not planning out your media for the entire year. Why is overlooking this going to hurt your business? Because it will cost you time, money, stress, and likely even customers!
Not planning media at the beginning of the year is like not tying your shoelaces before a race. You won’t be efficient, you won’t be able to outrun your competitors, you’ll look bad, and you may end up falling on your face. No one wants that, but if you don’t plan ahead, it’s often what happens. But how do you plan your media for an entire year?
Thankfully, it’s easier than you think.
You already know why media matters: it’s the heart of marketing in our digital age. You need to look good, not just for your company’s sake, but for your customers. Your logo, apparel, social media posts, email templates, website, product photos - everything they see is a reflection of you, and them choosing you is a reflection of them. You need to look good because your customers want to look good. This is why media matters.
But how do you go about planning out your media for an entire year? Simple. Just follow these steps:
1. Make a List of All Your Current Media, and When They Were Last Updated.
To maintain a fierce marketing game, there’s a lot you need to keep up with, but when you break it down into simple steps it’s easier to follow through.
Take 5 minutes to list out all your recurring media needs.
Content with Pictures: Post 3x’s week (more if just starting out)
Video Content: Post 2x’s week (depends on platform)
Profile Picture: Anytime an adjustment is made to your brand/logo (optional: Occasionally add seasonal adjustments. I.e. add a Santa hat on your profile logo near Christmas time, a football around the Superbowl, etc. )
Video Hosting Platforms:
Video: 1x per week (2x per week if new)
Content with pictures: 1-2x per week
Refresh/Update: Every 3-6 months
Makeover: 2 years
Refresh: 5-20 years
Redesign: 3 years - Never (Depends if rebranding)
Logo Animation: 2-4 years
Apparel: 12-18 months
Signage & Merch:
Brochures: Update when brand visuals or information changes
Posters/Ads: Dependent on Business, Season, etc.
Merch (T-Shirts, etc): At least once a year.
2. Figure Out Your Media Needs for the Entire Year
How can you use your media to connect with your audience? You need your media to capture people’s attention, connect with your vibe, support your content, and reflect the quality of your company. This digital age wants authenticity, so don’t hide your company behind stock photos, instead, let them see you.
But first cover your basics: make sure you don’t make the same mistakes you did last year and figure out how to improve in both the strategies that went well and the strategies that flopped.
What worked well last year? How can it be improved even further?
Ex: You had an 25% increase in subscriptions due to an email campaign; make sure those potential customers don’t regret signing up by ensuring your marketing emails are not only full of great content, but are visually appealing and interactive like an image carousel or a poll.
What did not go well? What is your strategy to improve in those areas this year?
Ex: Engagement with your social media posts was lower than anticipated; will you try to make more video reels with more pronounced CTA’s? Does your social media team need some extra support or training too?
What are your goals for the year, and what role will media play in it?
Ex: In order to release your new product line in the fall will you need to design product labels? Will your webinar series need some legit audio and video to be top par? Do you need to update the product photos on your website?
What else may you need media for? Not sure, maybe this can help:
Update an old Logo
Logo for a new product line
Product mock-ups for your website’s store
New shirt or apparel designs
Posters or digital ads
Brochures, flyers, menus
Headshots for company ID’s
Shoot an event
Photos for website revamp
Photos for social media posts
Event Recap Videos
Updated Written Content
Content with valuable keywords for SEO
Updated, healthy SEO Optimized Site
Clear Call to Actions
Updated Photo & Video Content
Regularly posted blogs
Sales Funnel Language
3. Know Your Budget and Decide what you need to outsource
If you’re a media company or are a company blessed enough to have a media team, then you don’t have to worry about outsourcing often. However, if your business is too busy focusing on the daily grind to give any time to media, then you’ll want to decide how much you want to spend on marketing and media. This lets you know how much to outsource and what you need to do yourself.
With the amount of free websites to help with design, you could theoretically do it all yourself, but don’t forget that everything comes with a cost, even “free” websites - lower quality software operated by someone who lacks experience will result in more time and effort to produce an image which still carries a less aesthetic (and sticky) value than if you would have just outsourced.
When should you outsource and when should you do it yourself?
Outsource when the media will reach a wide number of people and be used over a long period of time. Because you should expect a lot of website visitors, you want to ensure you are using high-quality photos and well-edited videos.
Do it yourself when it is something which may not reach a large audience OR if you have an experienced member of your team who has a background in data-driven media and marketing efforts.
4. Know When You Need It, and How long it will take to produce
Schedule everything. Planning is key to successful execution. Even if things do not go as planned, having a clear timeline allows you to easily readjust and set new goals.
If you want a new retractable banner design for your display booth at a conference this summer, then late spring is not the time to start thinking about it. Rushing can decrease quality and add stress, and if you have to expedite, it also adds to the cost.
The sooner you know what you need, the sooner you can communicate with your media company so they can have it on their timeline. You may think the project will be a quick turnaround, but if the company you are outsourcing to is already fully booked, then don’t be surprised if they turn you down or make you adjust your timeline.
If you have employees who do not have professional media training handle your media, ensure you give them ample time to finish. They likely won’t be as efficient as professionals who are using high quality equipment and have their processes streamlined. Nor will the final project adhere to some of the core principles of design and media which are proven to attract onlookers. Bear in mind that, although it may seem like it saves you money to have someone in-house DIY a media project, it could actually end up costing you more. If they end up devoting 4x the energy and time to the project as a professional would or if the final product does not have a solid ROI in the way professional media should, this could get costly for you and your business.
If it is your first time working with a certain media company, give them some sample projects first. Take time to evaluate what your competition is doing, how they are investing in their media efforts, and what is working within your industry. A good media team will help you through this process as well, so that together you can discover the best approach to drawing new customers.
Only 5 steps until your media needs are no longer haunting you! We promise setting aside the time to work through your media and advertising goals for the year will be worth it. Upholding your business's public image is such a core requirement in today’s digital age, and media is the bridge that will get you there. Find a good media team to help you achieve the quality look your company needs (if you’re looking for a good media team here in Nashville, we happen to know one) 😉