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What is Media Plan?

Digital marketing, conversion rate optimization, customer relationship management & others

Media planning is making a decision to choose the right way of putting your message across to the target audience. The message of introducing the new product to your existing customer and also targeting new prospective customers. This needs to be done correctly in order to make it extremely effective.

During the process of the media plan, a few questions need to be answered.

Who are the target audiences?

What types of media can reach out to how many target audiences?

Which media should be used to place the ad to reach out to the audiences effectively?

What should be the frequency of the ad placed in various ad vehicles?

What should be the budget for each ad vehicle?

Marketing has budget constraints for every organization. Advertising for promoting the goods and services of an organization is mandatory in any competitive market.

Try using local newspapers with limited reach. Local magazines, even in the local language, are perfect, cheaper, or no-cost social media to reach a less targeted audience to spread awareness.

Choosing the right media plan will help you effectively convey your message to your target audience through the right ad vehicle. A media plan is a process that is successful only if planned well.

Of course, social media planning needs many analyzes, objectives, and strategies to implement in order to get the right output. The motive needs to be achieved.

Marketing always aims to create a need for the product and service amongst the target audience through effective content. And that is not it. The content must be displayed and flashed through the correct ad vehicle within the given budget to maximize profits and avoid losses.

Process of building an effective media plan

Look at the process of building an effective media plan noted below:

To choose the correct media plan vehicle to promote a product and service, you need to make sure you do

1. Market Analyses

Before entering the market with a new product or service, you research the market, the types of audience in the set or given market, their description, preferences, etc.

What is important is to know the market or analysis the market before you introduce a product or a service in that market. In short, you will analyze the market. Once you analyze the market, you will know how to create awareness amongst your target audiences.

2. Create an effective media objective.

Your main objective will be to reach out and create awareness about tour products and services amongst your target audiences to increase your sales and profitability within a budget.

Remember that your media objective is very important as it is the goal of your media plan. Your goal should answer the following questions.

How many audiences should your media vehicle reach out to?

How and how much should the ad circulate to be effective enough to meet your promotion and sales expectations?

How much should you spend on what media vehicle?

Remember, your goals that your media objective need to be appropriate to attain the correct profitability by spending as less as you can. It is only about promoting correcting.

3. List down marketing issues.

You might face hurdles in different business stages, from production to selling and servicing.  Some hurdles might be huge, and some small. However, every problem has solutions, and not one may be more than one.

All you need to do is choose the correct solution and implement it. Like other stages, you will face issues or problems even in marketing. List all the issues you can encounter while promoting your product and services.

Look for solutions. You can solve these problems and hurdles in a number of ways. However, the motive is to get the most effective solution.

4. Strategize

These media plan options include television, radio, newspaper, interactive media platform, magazines, and digital media. Choose the media bases on the set media objective; remember that is your goal. Your ad vehicle should be able to meet your social media planning goal.

You should be able to differentiate

Which option reaches the maximum target audience?

How many times will your target audience be able to view it?

5. Your media vehicle should be able to do the following

Reach out to<

You have a set number or a certain percentage of audiences you would want to focus on. Your media vehicle should be able to reach that number or that percentage of people. The reaching out can be reaching out to individuals or homes and families in a specified period of time.

Frequency

You need to know how often the media vehicle flashes your ad, the average daily flashes, or a set period to expose it to your target audiences.

Averagely for a consumer to realize and take action, it takes more than 3 times. Hence considering and knowing the frequency is important.

Cost per thousand customers

The impact that it will create

Degree of selection

You aim to reach out to most of your prospective audience. Now this is true that anyone can be your next prospective customer. However, how many and who can be your most logical prospect, and up to what degree can you select to target your logical prospect audiences?

6. Implement your strategies 7. Evaluate the results

After you reach the implementation stage, you must sit and wait for the results. These results can be in sales and profits, as mentioned earlier. However, is it meeting your expectations, was the effort enough, and were your analyses correct? You are aware of your media plan objectives and your media goals.

You need to understand if you successfully met your goals and objectives. Were your strategies successful? If this media plan of yours works out well, it will help you determine your other media plans.

8. Follow up and continue promoting

Promoting a product and a service at its launch to introduce it to the public and then not promoting increased sales or publicizing it is incorrect.

You want to reach out to your target audiences in different ways, and discontinuing promotions of your goods and services wastes all the effort you put into understanding the market and promoting accordingly.

Ensure you are in touch with your customers and know them better as you deal with them. Knowing your audiences better will help you promote and expose yourself to your goods and services better than you promoted before.

Keep the follow-ups on and continue to promote your goods and services to get more exposure to gain better publicity and more business.

Conclusion

Knowing the market and marketing accordingly is extremely important to be successful in your business. You can sell better only if your products and services are exposed to your target audiences better.

Target audiences can be your existing prospect or logical prospect customers.

Recommended Articles

Here are some articles that will help you to get more detail about the Media Plan, so just go through the link

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Financial Services Social Media Strategy Recommendations

Our financial services social media strategy recommendations and best-practice case studies put you in the driving seat to accelerate your financial services’ ROI from digital marketing

Social media is sometimes perceived as less relevant in financial services compared to other channels such as search, display, and aggregators. There are well-rehearsed objections to investing more in social media in financial services. However, we will see by the examples in this section that creative options are possible within the constraints of compliance.

Companies are recognizing that social media provides a wealth of value, enabling differentiation through human communication. They are driving value by integrating this with their CRM systems, tracking ROI, and ensuring compliance. To drive such value, organizations expect solutions to help them track ROI, integrate with CRM solutions, provide compliance, and offer best-in-class publishing tools. To address this, we have covered a number of trends and innovations in the financial services industry which, alongside social media trends featured in this blog, help marketers and managers an integrated marketing strategy for their financial services businesses.

Financial services social media for the affluent millennial audience

The rise and rise of affluent millennials has led to a trend of lower-funnel-focused programs where FS companies deploying a wide range of successful marketing tactics, as part of a full-funnel strategy to acquire new clients create a specialized program for investments that specifically targets the highest-value and most profitable customers.

Reflecting on their choice to use LinkedIn to achieve this one company Digital Advertising Manager said “LinkedIn provides us with the opportunity to target these potential prospects with self-identifying information through profile targeting, we can target these prospects based on post-secondary affiliations, their job functions, and also their job titles.”

Financial services marketing strategy

Below, we’ve put together our social media strategy recommendations for financial services marketers based on the current trends and innovations in the sector. Social media is a huge part of your business’s online presence, that’s why we’ve broken it down, channel by channel.

Moreover, Smart Insights offers financial services marketing strategy across all aspects of the marketing mix, plus strategy and planning for marketing leaders. You can download our free financial services marketing trends 2023 report to discover 8 further industry trends which we recommend considering as part of your integrated marketing strategy. Find out more.

Financial Services marketing trends 2023

Accelerate your growth in 2023 with trends, examples, and practical strategy integrated with our RACE Framework

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Instagram SoFi uses Instagram A cautionary tale – Influencer marketing on Instagram

There is a wide variety of different influencers that you could engage with, so focus your engagement on certain types of people that you feel will best communicate your message to your target audience. According to Onalytica, there are four key measures of influence that you should analyze to find the key influencers in your market.

While these elements are important you need to consider the message they will be sending in the wider context of your audience.

An example of where this balance was deemed to be “not in the best interests of the public” was an Instagram influencer campaign conducted by Klarna, the Swedish firm which allows staggered payments for products with no fees or interest and has proved popular among millennials.

The company ran a social media campaign on Facebook-owned Instagram in April and May of 2023 using four influencers to encourage people to use Klarna to shop to “boost their mood”.

While it was acknowledged that “treating oneself can elevate mood” the regulator felt that the promotion of deferred payments was not compatible with the intended message. As a result of this campaign and similar ones, the Financial Conduct Authority is looking at operators in the “buy now, pay later” sector as part of a wider inquiry into the unsecured credit market.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn remains the central social channel for financial services organizations, now reaching 590+ million professionals. 98% of the Forbes Fortune 500 list are using LinkedIn, with content amplification and connecting with prospective clients continuing to be the top reasons for use. FinTech companies, who have typically invested in Facebook as their primary channel, are investing more in LinkedIn with FS organizations increasingly using their CEO or senior leadership figures to amplify their content through personal insights and thought leadership articles.

Facebook

Owing to financial services organizations being rich in customer data, we are seeing an increase in the uptake of custom and lookalike audience modeling on Facebook. Mobile video is popular, including brand discovery via the Explore tab and the use of Facebook Groups, with encouragement from the use of AI. Messenger can also be used for one-to-one communication and branded Facebook Groups relating to personal finance and career topics.

YouTube Snapchat Twitter

Twitter is commonly used by financial services organizations for amplifying content, monitoring brand mentions and customer complaints, and locating buyer-buyer-ready signals. All of the Fortune 500 insurance companies, commercial banks, and financial data service companies have a presence on Twitter.

Financial services social media videos

Financial Services marketing trends 2023

Accelerate your growth in 2023 with trends, examples, and practical strategy integrated with our RACE Framework

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Consumer privacy laws: GDPR and ePrivacy

You will be aware that the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (Regulation (EU) 2023/679) came into force in all 28 countries in Europe in 2023. It is a regulation agreed by the European Union, which seeks to improve transparency and the effectiveness of data protection activities. The legislation highlights the importance of obtaining consent from new and existing customers, who subscribe to mailing lists and have their data stored in CRM and other systems.

But do you know the changes required by the EU ePrivacy law? In the UK, this will be covered by changes to the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR), originally enacted in 2003. We’re ‘flagging this up’ since this is due to be updated in 2023 with the UK having left the EU, but the situation and regulations are still relatively unclear as of the time of writing. One thing is for sure, it’s likely to have implications on your use of cookies, site personalization, and email marketing communications. To learn more about how Brexit affects your marketing and use of personal data, the UK Government website’s guidance pages are a good start.

Keep your financial services social media strategy consistent

Social media campaigns are most effective when each platform is working together consistently under a common theme, with the unique messaging and content types customized for each channel. Appreciating the strengths of each major social media platform assists financial marketers in establishing a focused and manageable social media strategy. A good example is TSB who has used social channels with a consistent tone of voice and frequent messaging promoting its brand position.

Our financial services trends report covers a great number of trends and innovations in the sector so you can implement an effective, integrated marketing strategy.

Financial Services marketing trends 2023

Accelerate your growth in 2023 with trends, examples, and practical strategy integrated with our RACE Framework

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How To Create A Social Media Budget For Every Size Of Business

Every business should have a social strategy backed by a social media budget. Find out how much you should be spending on social media marketing.

If you’re using social media to market your business, you need a social media budget. Here’s how to put one together — and how to ask your boss for the investment you need.

Bonus: Download a free guide and checklist to help you convince your boss to invest more in social media. Includes experts tips for proving ROI.

What is a social media budget?

A social media budget is a document that specifies how much you plan to spend on social media over a specific time, e.g. a month, a quarter, or a year.

How big should your social media budget be?

There’s no set rule for how much to spend on digital marketing in general or social media in particular. However, there are some general guidelines and benchmarks backed by surveys and research.

Overall marketing budget benchmarks

According to the Business Development Bank of Canada, the overall marketing budget varies depending on whether you’re marketing to consumers or to other businesses:

B2B companies should allocate 2-5% of revenue to marketing.

B2C companies should allocate 5-10% of their revenue to marketing.

Here’s the average amount each size of business spends on marketing per year, based on the same research:

Small businesses (<20 employees): $30,000

Mid-sized businesses (20-49 employees): $60,000

Large businesses (50 employees or more): more than $100,000

Social media budget benchmarks

According to the February 2023 CMO Survey, the percentage of marketing budget businesses will spend on social media in the next 12 months breaks down as follows:

B2B Product: 14.7%

B2B Services: 18.3%

B2C Product: 21.8%

B2C Services: 18.7%

The same research found the amount of marketing budget allocated to social media this year also varies by sector:

Consumer services: 28.5%

Communications and media: 25.6%

Banking and finance: 11.7%

In five years, the overall portion of social media in the marketing budget is estimated to be 24.5%.

Source: CMO Survey

Use these averages as benchmarks. Then, tailor them around your goals and resources (more on that below) when planning how to budget a social media campaign for your business.

What should your social media budget plan include?

Content creation

On social media, content is and always will be king. Many social marketers spend more than half of their social media campaign budget on content creation. Here are some of the line items you may need to include in this section:

Photography and images

Video production

Talent, i.e. actors and models

Production costs, i.e. props and location rentals

Graphic design

Copywriting, editing, and (possibly) translation

Costs will vary significantly depending on how custom you want your social media content to be.

For example, you can get started with photos and graphics from a free stock photography site, in which case you can budget $0 for photos. However, if you want a more custom approach, or you want to show off your specific products, you’ll need to hire a photographer.

A good guide to rates for copywriters, editors, and translators can be found on the Editorial Freelancers Association website. The median rates based on an April 2023 survey are:

Copywriting: $61–70/hr

Copy editing: $46–50/hr

Translation: $46–50/hr

Software and tools

Your social media budget will likely include some or all of the following tools and platforms. You can find more information about the costs associated with each category of tools in our curated lists:

Again, costs will vary significantly depending on the size of your business and your team. Some software tools (including Hootsuite) offer free plans with basic features.

Paid social media campaigns

Your social media strategy might start off using only free tools to share organic content and engage with fans across your social media accounts.

Facebook: $1/day

Instagram: $1/day

LinkedIn: $10/day

Twitter: No minimum

YouTube: $10/day*

Snapchat: $5/day

TikTok: $20/day

*YouTube says this is what “most businesses” start with as a minimum.

To calculate how much you should spend on your next Facebook ad campaign based on your revenue goals, try the Facebook Ads Budget Calculator from AdEspresso.

Influencer marketing

Working with influencers (or content creators) is a good way to expand the reach of your social content. Consider both how much you’ll spend to boost Influencer posts and how much you’ll pay the content creators themselves.

Influencer campaign costs vary, but the basic formula for calculating influencer rates is: $100 x 10,000 followers + extras. Some nano- or micro-influencers might be willing to use an affiliate commission structure.

Training

There are lots of free social media training resources out there, but it’s always worthwhile to invest in training for your team.

Social media changes fast, and your team’s roles can change and grow equally quickly. If your team members are ready and willing to invest their time in developing new skills, it’s a good idea to enable that through your social media budget. You’ll be the beneficiary of everything they learn.

Depending on your team’s skill levels and campaign needs, these are a few training options you should consider including in your social media budget:

LinkedIn Learning. LinkedIn’s business courses extend well beyond the use of the LinkedIn platform. They feature instruction from and interviews with subject matter experts including Sheryl Sandberg, Adam Grant, and Oprah Winfrey.

Hootsuite Academy. From single courses to certificate programs, Hootsuite Academy offers a catalog of courses taught by industry pros and tailored for businesses.

Hootsuite Services. Hootsuite Business and Enterprise customers get access to guidance and coaching, with custom training available as a Premier Service.

Industry-expert training. Social media managers are senior strategists, so training and education opportunities should extend beyond the specifics of social media. Hootsuite copywriter Konstantin Prodanovic recommends Hoala’s Professional Master Course in Brand Strategy and Mark Ritson’s Mini MBA in Brand Strategy.

— LinkedIn Learning (@LI_learning) June 28, 2023

Social strategy and management

While there are tools that make social management easier, and outsourcing is always an option, it’s good practice to have at least one person in-house supervising social.

Even if you outsource your social media efforts, you’ll need someone in-house to coordinate with your partners and represent your brand in discussions about strategy and creatives.

Your social team also engages with social fans, provides social customer service, and manages your social community. They use social listening to learn about your audience and alert you to potential threats and opportunities. They build a social strategy and — yes — manage social budgets of their own.

When building this role into your budget, consider the average U.S. salaries for social media managers, as tracked by Glassdoor:

Lead social media manager: $54K/yr

Senior social media manager: $81K/yr

Looking to hire or become a social media manager? Here are the essential skills every candidate should have.

How to create a social media budget plan

1. Understand your goals

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again. Every good marketing strategy starts with clear and well-thought-out goals. After all, it’s impossible to determine how much budget to assign to social media if you don’t know what you want to achieve.

We’ve got a whole blog post on effective goal-setting to help with this part of creating your budget, but here’s the gist. Especially when using them to create a budget, your goals should be SMART:

Specific

Measurable

Attainable

Relevant

Timely

Specific goals tied to measurable results allow you to measure the value of social media, so you can determine an appropriate amount to spend for each desired result.

Measurable goals also allow you to track and report on your success, so you can adjust your budget over time to better support the strategies that work for your business.

2. Analyze your spend from previous months (or years, or quarters)

Before you create a budget, it’s important to understand the current state of affairs. How much are you spending on social media now? If you’ve never made a budget, you may not be completely sure.

If you’re already producing social media reports, you’ll have a good source of information to draw from. If not, a social media audit is a good first step to help you understand where you’re currently spending your time on social media. (And remember: time is money.)

Next compile a list of all your specific social marketing expenses from previous periods, using the categories outlined above, so you know where you’re starting from.

3. Create (or update) your social media strategy

You’ve now got some good starting information to help build out your social media strategy. This will help you work out how you’re going to go about achieving the goals you set in step 1.

Then, by analyzing the amounts you’ve spent in the past and the efforts you want to make to achieve those goals, you can determine a reasonable amount to spend on each part of your strategy moving forward.

A summary of your social strategy is a good document to attach as a cover letter in your social media budget proposal, since it shows that the amounts you’re asking for are based on real data and solid planning.

4. Create a budget proposal for your boss

Now it’s time to get technical. The good news is, we’ve taken care of setting up a social media budget proposal template for you, so all you have to do is enter the information specific to your business and your plans.

Category: Content creation, software, etc. Create a section for each of the relevant items listed above, then break it down into specific line items for each individual expense.

In-house vs. outsourced expense: In-house expenses are based on the amount of staff time dedicated to social media. Outsourced expenses are anything you pay for outside your company, from consulting to ad fees. Some categories may include both in-house and outsourced expenses, so break these out into separate columns.

Spend per item: For each line item and category, add up the internal and outsourced costs to indicate a total spend. List this as both a total dollar figure and a percentage of your total budget so you (and your boss) can clearly understand how you’re allocating resources.

Ongoing or one-time expense: If you’re including any one-time expenses in your budget that will have value over the long term, it’s a good idea to flag these so your boss understands it’s a one-time ask. For example, maybe you need to buy some equipment to set up a video studio. Use separate columns to tally your one-off and ongoing costs.

Total ask: Add it all up to show the total amount requested.

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Why You Need A Holiday Social Media Advertising Strategy Right Now

The holidays are… sort of upon us?

In my family, the annual joke is that if my mother starts asking about the holidays one month earlier than last year, we’ll eventually be giving her our gift wish lists in January!

If your world is anything like mine, the holidays seem to come earlier and earlier every year.

No more than 12 hours past Halloween, we’re flooded with December holiday themes, nearly bypassing Thanksgiving entirely.

The days get shorter, service providers get busier, and every company with a retail item has something they want you to buy.

And while no one wants to be a Scrooge, it can be tough to think about building a holiday strategy this far out.

Especially because the global pandemic has shown us that each day can either drag on, or circumstances can change in an instant.

But that’s exactly why you should be putting together your strategy now instead of taking the “wait and see” approach.

You should be thinking about why you need to start earlier and what you can do to stand out.

And know the things to keep in mind as we move closer to the holiday season alongside a thick air of global uncertainty.

Here are a few ways this year is a little bit different.

Earlier Online & More Spread Out

We all have seen the numbers.

People are spending a lot more time on the Internet than usual these days.

After all, what else is there to do when you’re stuck at home on quarantine or you’re working and/or studying from home all day?

But more than that, people are understandably concerned about in-person touchpoints in their shopping experience.

This is driving more people to online purchases than ever before.

Suddenly, you’ve got a lot more lingering eyes on your shopping cart page than a year ago at this same time.

And people are finding themselves doing a lot more online shopping than usual.

You could say it’s due to a need for dopamine.

And the relatively new concept of “anxiety shopping” – anxiety over what the future holds and a need for present-moment comfort.

That is if you still needed validation for the new impulse buying habit you’ve picked up in the last six months.

People are also being encouraged to complete their holiday shopping earlier this year.

Brought about by concerns over COVID-related delays in shipping or supply chain issues.

All this compounded by the uncertainty over the future of the pandemic and whether jobs will stay secure.

This means that the shopping may start early and actually may be spread out throughout the holiday season, as changes materialize.

But the moral of the story is this: People are online and they’re buying so you need to get your brand in front of them.

And you need to do it now.

Tip: If you’ve been uncertain over whether or not to add a commerce function to your site, now is the time to make that happen.

People will be buying online.

And there is no way to guarantee that, two or three months from now, brick-and-mortar shops will even be able to stay open for in-person shopping (as we saw five months ago).

Salesforce research shows that 50% of all seasonal retail revenue is complete by December 3, meaning you can’t afford to delay.

If the first quarantine and decline of in-person shoppers caught you unawares, don’t let it happen again.

Invest in a commerce function on your website now, or at least start listing your products or services on Instagram, Pinterest, or another third-party shoppable site.

Make sure you don’t miss out on major online sales and all your shopping revenue.

DYK?

Recent studies show that the pandemic has changed our Internet behavior.

Desktop use is back on the rise, while mobile app use has suffered a bit of a dip.

If you’ve been taking great pains to fine-tune your mobile strategy, you don’t need to take the effort away from it (people are still using their phones).

But you do need to spend time to make sure your desktop experience is just as beautifully optimized for all the incoming traffic.

Why Spend Twice as Much for Just as Many

This is one preparation that never changes; but this year, it might just be amplified.

Every year in September, we start preparing our clients for the upcoming holiday season.

Why?

There are more and more businesses spending money for the first time, and more of them spending more money than they did all year long.

What does that mean for you?

Greater competition for the same eyes.

Prepare for things to cost more – and expect to get poorer results overall, on average.

But that’s every year.

Here’s where this year is different:

First of all, we’re in an election year in the U.S.

While there is always more competition for eyes during this time of year, it’s compounded by the amount of competition that only comes out once every two to four years.

There are policy changes or ballot measures as well as publishers reporting breaking news stories or running election guides.

You’re competing with far more than just other businesses. You’re competing with the fabric of governing structures.

And I don’t know if you’ve noticed, or if I’ve mentioned it enough in this article, but we’re in a pandemic.

So don’t be surprised if you have to spend more than twice your normal ad budget to get the same results.

Tip: Get in touch with your deeply creative side for this holiday season strategy.

You’re competing with a lot of noise that makes people nervous, afraid, exhausted – or it makes them feel assaulted with demands to buy products or donate money.

Give your audience something fun and lighthearted.

People need more happiness to hold onto.

Be the brand that gives it to them!

Don’t Feel Like You Need to Push Sales Right Now

Ah, but you don’t need to offer sales right now – it’s about so much more than that.

Think about it:

What do people know about your brand?

Do they know your brand at all?

What better time to start telling them all about your fabulous brand with its fabulous products and services than right now, before your holiday sales kick-off.

Even if the concept of the marketing funnel is supposed to be dead or something, it still serves a purpose.

You know that you have to keep the funnel full by adding more people at the top, unless you want it to eventually be empty.

So, run your Instagram Reels.

Make engaging Facebook (and now LinkedIn) stories.

Experiment and A/B test with carousels and GIFs and videos – but just make sure you’re in the game.

You’re getting people interested in your brand and leaving breadcrumbs along the way for your big holiday reveal.

And also, any sales you make in the meantime is gravy.

Today, more than ever, people are buying from companies that share their values.

So don’t be afraid to talk about them!

People are more likely to buy from a brand that has a message they care about.

Whether it’s supporting a nonprofit for Giving Tuesday or letting people know about the care that goes into designing and manufacturing or selecting products for sale.

Be Ready to Pivot

As a marketer, I know it’s en vogue to roll our eyes and groan about every new change delivered to us from the Advertising Platform Gods.

I get it.

I do.

It’s annoying.

But also, I get really tired of hearing the complaints, especially when they’re connected to stubbornness and a general refusal to make the changes necessary.

We’re marketers.

Pivoting, adjusting, and adapting is literally the job.

Right now, we’re in a constant global PR crisis of sorts.

There are fires and a pandemic, a general election, and justifiable civil unrest.

Every day is a new exercise in how our brand should respond to the current happenings, especially this year.

And then you should be prepared to completely scrap it at a moment’s notice.

We have zero idea what the last quarter of the year holds for us.

The business owners and marketers I’ve seen thrive this year have had one thing in common:

They pivoted early, often, and were ready to make changes at a moment’s notice.

They gave themselves a moment to grieve their previous plans, and then they got to work.

Conversely, I saw a lot of businesses and marketers struggle because they sat around doing the “wait and see.”

They stayed frozen and indecisive, hoping and praying day after day that the winds would change course and blow in their favor.

Don’t wait for a virus or a civil movement, or a natural disaster to tell you what to do.

It’s your job to figure it out early and quickly, and adapt.

So make the plan.

Just be prepared to scrap it on a dime.

Tip: Build pivots into your plan.

It’s good common practice to have a plan in crisis for both internal and external communications.

And this is a great time to flex that muscle.

No, seriously, what could go wrong?

Then plan for each possible thing.

If there is another quarantine and we have to move to ecommerce only, how will we adjust our language? Our retail partner strategy? Our own ecommerce strategy?

If there are more layoffs and fewer people can afford to make purchases, how will we change our messaging?

How will we respond with compassion, but also so that we can salvage our own business?

What happens if the Advertising Platform Gods change rules, regulations, or algorithms?

Force yourself to see the worst-case scenarios unfolding before your very eyes.

This holiday season will be fraught, no question.

Don’t stand by and wait to see if things work out the way you want them to so you can launch the strategy you normally do.

More Resources:

7 Canva Alternatives To Create Images For Social Media

Canva is one of the most popular web-tools to create images for social media, invitations, and more. In fact, it’s even used by Twitch streamers to create graphics for their gaming channels. However, if you’re bored of using Canva or find it limiting, there are many Canva alternatives you can use. So, here are 7 Canva alternatives (free and paid) that you should check out.

1. Microsoft Designer

AI is everywhere these days, including in Canva. However, Microsoft’s new AI-powered Canva alternative is definitely one of the best tools you can use. Microsoft Designer allows you to start off your design by simply typing in what you need. So you can write things like “an invitation card for a birthday party” and it will generate a bunch of templates that you can then customise to your heart’s content. In fact, you can get an even better head start by giving more details in your prompt. Type something like “an invitation card for Akshay’s birthday party on 23 May, at 8pm” and the generated card will have those details already included.

You can also use Microsoft Designer for creating YouTube thumbnails or Instagram Stories. In fact, if you mention “thumbnail for YouTube”, or “an Instagram Story” in the prompt, it usually adjusts the aspect ratio accordingly on its own so you don’t have to worry about setting the correct dimensions manually.

ProsConsEasy to useCan sometimes create drafts that aren’t quite accuratePrompts generate good quality templates

Pricing: Free

2. Adobe Express

Ask any designer, and they’ll likely swear by Adobe’s products for their designing needs. Whether it’s Photoshop, or Illustrator, Adobe’s tools are industry standards for a reason. So, if you’re looking for a high quality tool like Canva, you should definitely check out Adobe Express.

This free to use tool offers every feature you’d find in Canva, and then some. You can start off with templates for popular things like Instagram Stories, Facebook posts, thumbnails for YouTube, and more. It even has templates for flyers, logos, book covers, and more.

Apart from all the Canva-like features, Adobe Express also brings in tools such as image resizing, background removal, and more to make your editing easier. What’s more, you can use Adobe Firefly (check out) to use AI to generate images and use them in your Adobe Express designs as well. Adobe Express has a free to use tier, but you can also subscribe to its paid plan to get access to more features including Adobe’s Stock library, content scheduling, 100GB of cloud storage, and more.

ProsConsFeature packedPremium plan is quite expensive at $9.99/monthHas templates for pretty much everything

Pricing: Free tier available, $9.99/month premium plan

3. Picsart

Another Canva alternative you can check out is Picsart. Though you might have heard about it as an image editing app, it also has a web app that lets you create graphics and images for social posts. You can choose from a variety of image sizes, including custom templates for Instagram Stories and posts, Facebook posts, YouTube thumbnails, LinkedIn images, and it even has templates for Twitch banners and more.

There are a lot of templates to get a jumpstart on your design process, including custom ones for themes like Mother’s Day, flyers, posters, and more. Picsart will allow you to add photos, collages, text (with a bunch of cool fonts), background editing, and more to help you create the perfect flyer, poster, or social media post.

ProsConsVast library of templates to choose fromFree plan is quite limitedPre-built templates for Twitch banners

Pricing: Free tier available, paid plans start at $2 per month

Check out Picsart (visit)

4. Visme

ProsConsLarger template library than most competitorsPaid plan is quite expensiveFree plan has decent options, and unlimited usage

Pricing: Free tier available, paid plans start at $12.25 per month

Check out Visme (visit)

5. VistaCreate (Formerly: Crello)

VistaCreate is a solid tool like Canva that you can use to create designs for social media, websites, logos, business cards and more. It even has templates to let you create t-shirt designs, Zoom backgrounds, etc. You can also use VistaCreate to make animated designs. There are templates for popular ones like YouTube intros, Instagram video stories, Reels, and more.

ProsConsVersatile set of templatesCan be difficult to find free templatesCan create animated GIFs, video posts, and morePaid plan is pricey

Pricing: Free tier available, Pro plan priced at $10 per month

Check out VistaCreate (visit)

6. Kittl

Kittl is a solid Canva alternative if you’re looking for something that brings Canva like features, along with AI built in to help you create your designs. As far as the basic features go, Kittl has everything you’ll need. You can find templates for things like creating social media posts, logos, cards, labels, posters, etc., and there are a bunch of pre-made graphics for you to get started with.

Check out Kittl (visit)

7. Design Wizard

However, the reason Design Wizard is at the bottom of this list, is because it doesn’t allow you to download created designs in its free plan. Plus, the UI is definitely in dire need of a touch up. Still, if you’re looking for tools like Canva to help you create great looking graphics, and you don’t mind paying for the tool, you can check out Design Wizard as well.

ProsConsMultiple templates and sizes to choose fromDoesn’t allow downloading without a paid planSupport for layers

Pricing: Free usage allowed, paid plans start from $9.99 per month

Check out Design Wizard (visit)

How To Build A Content Marketing Strategy That Works In 5 Steps

A content marketing strategy is a must.

Building a content marketing strategy will help ensure that all your time, energy, and money are focused on reaching a particular goal that helps your business grow. Concentrating on this goal will prevent you from creating irrelevant content pieces that will stand in the way of attracting new visitors and listening to the needs of existing customers or clients.

Additionally, a content marketing strategy will help you reach a much broader audience and distribute your content more effectively to professionals, bloggers, and journalists.

A smart content marketing strategy will also help drive more organic traffic to your website on a daily basis. There’s no better source of traffic than organic search because it delivers relevant traffic with little or no additional investment required.

So how do you build one? Here’s a five step process for creating a content marketing strategy that works.

1. Define Your Goals

This is the most important step. It will put you on a path toward building the winning strategy.

Although defining your goals may sound easy, it isn’t always. You need to think about how you want content marketing to help you and what objectives you will accomplish once it’s integrated into your work schedule.

Your objectives might include increases in:

Organic traffic.

Unique page views.

Frequency of posts. This KPI is focusing on quantity when you should be focusing on what you get out of your content marketing. Squandering your potential by creating a myriad of posts that provide zero value won’t earn you readers and will be counterproductive to your marketing strategy because the investment needed to create all those posts will be extensive.

Brand awareness. This KPI is incredibly hard to measure through any one channel. Understanding how recognizable your brand is to a particular audience will require some intricate and costly research. Instead, consider much simpler metrics for gauging brand awareness, such as direct traffic growth and search queries for branded keywords.

2. Investigate the Competitive Landscape

Find out what kind of content your competitors and other industry leaders have produced, and how this content is performing.

You can use BuzzSumo to analyze specific posts and articles created by your rivals and industry experts. Not only will this tool tell you all about your SMM signals like shares and likes, but it will also tell you your number of links.

The only thing BuzzSumo doesn’t offer is organic traffic analysis. Thankfully, there are tools like Ahrefs and SEMrush. I prefer using Ahrefs’ Batch Analysis tool, which allows you to process up to 200 URLs at a time.

3. Find Out What Content Has Worked Best for You

When some people hear someone say, “Go to Google Analytics” out loud, shivers often run down their spines. But it’s really not that complicated.

Google’s support forum typically explains everything in a step-by-step manner. So, go to Google Analytics and check which of your articles are getting the most page views:

Find out which pages generate the most organic traffic. To do that, check the “Search Analytics” report in the Google Search Console:

After that, analyze your content performance using BuzzSumo.

4. Learn About Your Audience’s Interests & Needs

Tune into what your users are telling you using their keyboards. See what your target audience is searching for in Google using a tool called Answer the Public. This tool scrapes Google’s autosuggest search queries.

Humans are curious by nature. We’re always asking questions.

Twitter Audience Insights is another great source of information for getting to know your users better. This will give you an idea of what kind of content is highly appreciated in your industry.

5. Create an Amplification Plan

Use Paid Ads on Facebook

Pay attention when setting up your ad and selecting different audience interests. Use brands that your audience also likes. For instance, if I were creating an ad for the digital marketing industry, then for a post about ‘content marketing,’ I’d add the key phrase “digital marketing industry” as one of my audience’s interests.

I’d also select an additional interest for my target audience. Let’s say for the purpose of this example it’s Canva. Tweaking these details gives me the assurance that users who encounter my post are interested in its subject.

Targeting the correct audience also allows you to reach users who are already familiar with your product. If you have 10,000 emails in your user database, then your best bet is to create a custom audience.

If you don’t have that many users, then Facebook will charge you more for an ad like that. The smaller your audience is, the more you have to pay for a targeted ad, so it’s not always cost-effective.

Use the Power of Outreach

Typically, you want to look for articles related to your own. You can find them with the help of BuzzSumo. Besides that, you can get a list of referring domains (where your backlinks are coming from) using BuzzSumo, Ahrefs or Majestic.

Once you have a list of sites you want to connect with, then comes the most dreadful part: You need to figure out how you are going to reach out to them. There are a couple of ways to do that, and I want to go over the pros and cons of each of them:

Filling Out Websites’ Contact Forms

You’ll find these on most bloggers’ sites. Putting together a list of URLs with contact forms you can paste your information into seems to be pretty easy. One of the pros here is that it doesn’t take a lot of time to put things together, but the response rate might be next to zero.

Sending Emails

This is my favorite method of promoting content. Yes, you need to spend a horrendous amount of time finding these email addresses. But with the help of tools like chúng tôi chúng tôi or Slik.ai, you can save precious time and enjoy peacefully sipping your latte or watching your favorite show.

Another cool thing about sending emails is that you can check if the email you sent was opened or not, and follow up on the conversation when needed. Tools like Yesware, Mixmax, or Mailtrack will help you determine whether your email has been opened and read.

Using Social Media Channels

In case you decide to use social media to chase down an expert, I wouldn’t use Facebook to send messages because people rarely use this social network for work purposes. However, Facebook groups, especially closed groups, are the right place to do that. You’ll be able to reach your target audience and effectively promote your piece of content.

The same goes for LinkedIn groups. The only thing that you should keep in mind is to never share a link to your article without writing a short intro to your content. That would look abrupt and spammy. Ideally, you need to write a separate introduction for each group for which you’re going to publish your content, and that’s why it’s a time-consuming task.

Another option would be connecting with industry professionals and content producers on LinkedIn. This tactic has proved to be highly effective, and it can be used together with email outreach.

We also can’t forget about Twitter. Using BuzzSumo, you can find a list of users who have previously shared similar content. Those will be the people you want to talk to.

Outreach Mix: Emails & Social Media Channels

You can dramatically increase your email response and open rates by connecting with people on LinkedIn first (before you send them emails). Yes, it requires some extra time, but it’s always good to know you’ve established meaningful and potentially strong connections. People who have heard your name before will be more likely to respond to your emails.

Conclusion

Now you know how you can build a powerful content marketing strategy from scratch.

You need to know exactly what kind of posts resonate best with your audience and get strategic about your outreach plan.

Image Credits

Featured Image: Unsplash

In-post Images: Screenshots by Alex Tachalova. Taken June 2023.

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