I know that it’s the fashion these days to speak of print and online advertising as if it’s something like a VHS tape or a butter churner. I have never been one to stick to what’s trendy, however. I did not cuff my pants in fourth grade. I did not wear bell bottoms in high school (bell bottoms and the fear of wearing them were why girls cuffed their pants when we were kids, by the way). I am not going to be fashionable in this regard either, I’m afraid. In fact, I am going to buck the trend and tell you five ways that a traditional media plan can enrich and enhance a Social Media Marketing campaign.
1. The Editorial Calendar Concept: The editorial calendar is not a Social Media invention: One thing I found kind of amusing when I first started interacting with the online world was that many Social Media experts (legitimate and/or so-called) offered the advice of using an editorial calendar for blogging as if the editorial calendar had been made for this purpose alone. In fact, magazines (yes, those things that are dead, dying, or mortally wounded) use editorial calendars to tell media buyers and advertisers what the content of each issue is going to be. The editorial calendars are published usually right around this time, so sometimes there will be shifts throughout the following year, and the categories are broad so that editors don’t get pinned into a corner.
What I haven’t seen a lot of talk about is the fact that a publication’s editorial calendar can be an extremely useful tool for content creation elsewhere, whether it’s a blog or a company Facebook page or an e-newsletter. It comes back to the fact that your customers are still your customers, no matter how you are talking to them. The person who is reading a professional publication or a relevant consumer publication is the same person whom you hope will visit your blog. Now imagine this scenario. Your customer reads a publication. They see your ad. They go to learn more about your company and they see you have a blog. And what are you posting about? A topic related to something they just read in that publication. It will draw your ad, the publication, and your Social Media presence together. You don’t have to create your own editorial calendar. They are out there already.
2. Haphazard is not an option: Well, I suppose it is an option, and I’ll detail all of this later, but suffice to say for now that the most effective way to plan any kind of campaign is to look at the big picture. When you are laying the foundation of your traditional media plan, you will see where Social Media and other media could work together. For example, you will see when different publications will offer bonus distribution at key trade shows or conferences. “Oh, I’m going there,” you might think to yourself. Mapping out your Social Media around your key trade shows or conferences in advance will allow you to do neat things like at-the-show interviews, contests, asking your Facebook fans to post pictures, and other interactive activities that are hard to put together on the fly.
3. Segmentation versus Drawing Together: In traditional media campaigns, you look at key publications to see who they reach. You look at titles, at geographical distribution, and details like that. You tend to find that different magazines and websites strive to do different things. Just thinking about one occupation, nursing, yields countless titles for specific nursing niches. Your traditional media plan can help you reach very specific targets that are important to your objective. All of those individual tributaries can then be interwoven (with a fair amount of planning) into your Social Media efforts, which can simultaneously talk to all of those individuals while also bringing all of your audience together.
4. The Dog Days: Media campaigns help you analyze what the slow times are in your industry. Most publications have a couple of issues planned throughout the year that don’t really offer key editorial. They might be buyers guides or “industry forecast” issues. The topics are usually very general with not much hard data because those are times when the audience is otherwise engaged. In some industries, July might be slow. In others, February might be a deadly month. Analyzing how publications treat the ebb and flow in your industry can help you approach your Social Media marketing in a smarter way. If you know that the world gets a bit quiet during a specific time period, then you can take that into consideration and budget that into your traffic projections and sales projections. You can know that maybe you can cut back on the blogging during that time period. You can use your efforts and time in a more expert way.
5. You’re where you should be: I know that we don’t like to talk about this, but online, it’s really easy to say that you are something when you are not. Credibility and trust are always hot topics not because they’re fun to talk about but because they are so important. If your Social Media campaign hinges on your reputation as an industry leader and yet your competitors are ruling the roost in key publications, the chances for a disconnect are huge. If you are an expert, why aren’t you contributing editorial to that publication? Why don’t you have your case studies published in there instead of in the notes section of Facebook? And let’s be honest – an ad means that you are spending money. The misconception that Social Media accounts are free can mean people might not think you are really investing a lot into your brand. As much as we like to say that advertising in print is unnecessary, people still know that ads cost money. If you invest in ad space and keep your Social Media marketing moving forward, you will demonstrate your dedication to your customers, your company, and your industry as a whole.
Too often, companies are being cornered into choosing between advertising and Social Media, as if one will lead them astray while the other will lead them forward unhindered. In fact, I think this is one of the most disconcerting trends in the marketing world right now. These are just five reasons why.
Do they make sense to you?
1st image by Maria Li. http://www.sxc.hu/profile/sateda
2nd Image by Jan Willem Geertsma. http://www.sxc.hu/profile/jan-willem