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Beginner’s Guide to Media Buying and Media Planning

Your brand’s digital assets are crucial to your business. A business needs to build its brand through media content (images, videos, written content and podcast) to keep up with its competitors and expand its reach.

New media is always at the forefront because it helps build brand awareness, customer engagements, conversions; which in turn, increases revenue for the business. It’s not always easy keeping up with all those assets. You have to keep track of everything: plan, organize, distribute and analyze all media content so that everything goes out when it should and that it reaches the right audience. When it comes to media content, timing is everything. The best way to meet this challenge head-on is through media planning.

What is Media PlanningWhat is Media Planning?

Media planning is the process of asking a series of major questions for everything you share with your audience. Media planning helps to answer the crucial questions of your media content (how, when, where and why). A well-laid-out plan for your digital assets helps in knowing when to publish your content to best interact with your audience and turn them into customers. 

Your media plan could even align with the overall initiatives and campaigns for the business to maintain the key messaging. Media plans can also be standalone strategies that provide a well-detailed plan to leverage the media content to connect and engage with your audience.

What is Media Buying?

Media buying has to do with buying campaigns or ads on different platforms, paying for targeted campaigns and ads or working with appropriate vendors to get the media you want. Media buying is not a necessity with all of the free opportunities on social media, but media buying is a part of the media planning process. Media buying helps to leverage your reach, expand your market and gives you a competitive edge.

Media planning allows you to see if there’s space or funds for media buying. It sets the tone and lets you know the direction for what you’re trying to accomplish. Media planning allows the opportunity to strategize about how to get the media to your audience once the buying takes place.

Media Planning vs Media Buying

Media Planning vs. Media Buying

Media planning and media buying work closely together. Don’t plan to participate in media buying without a media plan in place. Media planning focuses on the strategy for the media content (how, when, where, why), while media buying involves purchasing campaigns and ads or negotiating with media vendors. Without the planning, the buying doesn’t happen.

Where to Start in Your Media Planning Strategy

First, you want to identify for media planning strategy is whether or not you have a budget. If there is no budget or you plan to utilize free media, this is a moot question. If you’re planning on a budget, you’ll need to know the amount of your budget before you do anything else.

Before you even start researching anything, including content and platforms, your budget should be set. Setting your budget before getting started, avoids having to shift later on because you realize you’re trying to do something you can’t afford.

The next thing you want to do for a media planning strategy is to consider the key messaging points you want the media you put out there to communicate. Know the main themes and work from this. Your main themes should come from your research.

What is a Media Planning Process?

The crucial steps involved in your media planning process include conducting market research, stating your media planning objective, determining your media planning templates, implementing your media plan and measuring your success. The conclusions you derive from each of these steps should be based on the unique needs of your audience.

Market Research

Market research is the first step involved in the media planning process. Market research allows you to customize the content to your target audience and their needs. Create your buyer persona so you know who your target audience and customer base are. From this information, you can determine a lot, like the type of media to develop. You want to create media that will resonate with your target audience. 

The buyer persona speaks a lot about them and what they’re looking for. Use that information to your advantage and create your media around it. The media should resonate with your audience on such a level that it causes them to convert and purchase from you. Market research will also help you decide the best platforms and channels to place your media for your audience. 

Media Planning Objective

Develop a few goals to help you stay focused on what needs to be accomplished for your media content. This can help you know the type of content to focus on, the platforms to use and which ones to stay away from. For example, if you want to create a media plan for two of your social media platforms (Facebook and Instagram), your objective could be to make your content more streamlined and in a timely fashion, and schedule posts on each of those platforms in advance.

Media Planning Templates

Take advantage of easy-to-use templates that are available to assist in media planning. There are templates for editorial calendars and templates for social media strategy. These templates ensure the efficiency and effectiveness of your strategy while working on all areas of your media content. They also keep your media organized, so it’s easier to publish and share with your audience.

Also, social media calendar templates are a great way to easily coordinate your content for multiple platforms like Facebook and Instagram. It boosts engagement and improves productivity for your team and the brand.

Execute Your Media PlanExecute Your Media Plan

Now it’s time to execute your media plan. For this to happen, all team members involved have to have the necessary details to execute seamlessly. All members need to be aware of their responsibility and fulfill their roles accordingly. If Facebook and Instagram will be the focal point for the location of media, ensure all the right people have access to the platform, as well as the media. Appropriate contact information for all team members should be shared.

Measure Your Success

Regardless of how small the media plan is, be sure to evaluate its success. Identify beforehand the indicators you want to reach. Also include simple response questions in your measurement tool, like, “Did the media plan help us achieve our goal?” and “Did the media planning templates add value to our overall strategy?”

Your evaluation indicators and your company’s goals should be directly tied together.

The Benefits of Media Planning

There are many benefits of media planning:

Get to know your audience: With media planning, you can get to know your target audience on a deeper level to connect with them effectively and connect them to your brand.

Decide the platforms to use: With media planning, you have the benefit of carefully selecting the media channels and platforms that you should share your content. These selections will be where your audience is located and will give you a broader reach for even more customers. Which platforms are your audience spending their time on? Which two platforms do they frequent the most?

Decide the time and how often: With media planning, you can determine the frequency of your media and the time you want it published. What time sets better with your audience? When are they on their platforms? How much time do they spend on it?

Keep up with trends: With media planning, you can keep up with the latest media trends and know what’s going on with your competition. What type of media are they posting? How often are they posting it? Which platforms are they utilizing? What recently has changed in the market?

Stick to your budget: With media planning, you can revolve everything you do around your budget. This way, you know you’re doing the maximum based on your resources. 

Conduct analysis: As with any though-out, detailed strategic planning, you can measure the success of your media planning based on engagement, clicks, views and conversions. This will help you know if you need to do something different or do more of the same.


Your brand may be well and good when it comes to media buying and media planning. You may have done everything highlighted above to the letter and feel you’re good with your planning moving forward. If you are, that’s awesome! Chances are there is probably at least one crucial aspect you’re missing. Take a minute to revisit the suggestions listed above to ensure you’re on the right track.

If you’re not on the right track, or if you’re not sure about what you should be sure about, you may want to contact OmniSocial Engine. At OmniSocial Engine, we believe your brand, media, and the basic messaging for your brand should be well connected. Take a look at how we tend to your content marketing needs. Contact us to learn how we can help your business.

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