When it comes to media strategy for non-profits and religious organizations, one of the most important considerations is media buying. Getting your TV or radio program placed in the best and most affordable time slot on the right channel or station is critical. Too many good programs die when they’re put in a bad spot. Plus, I’ve seen times when ministries are having financial challenges, so they cut a significant part of their media time. Problem is, when you cut that pathway to your audience, it’s difficult to recover.
And let me say this – if you think you’re saving money by keeping your media buying inside the ministry, then chances are you’re not saving anything. The 15% commission that good media buyers charge is more than worth it, because they know the right buys, and are on the phone daily with stations across the country. They know far better than you what’s available, when’s the best slot for your program, and what it’s worth. Remember, they’re bringing volume to local stations and networks, so who’s going to get a better deal – you, who bring a single program, or a professional buyer, who’s bringing multiple programs?
So I asked Steve Newton, Founder and CEO of Newton Media in Virginia Beach to share the 5 most important steps to manage your outreach successfully – when it comes to media. In today’s competitive marketplace of media management, these are the things to consider to wisely use your media funds and reach a larger targeted audience with your program:
· Know Your Audience – Before you even think about a media plan you need to have a firm grasp on your core audience. The more details you understand, the stronger your media buys will be. Clients that tell me they are trying to reach “the whole world out there” will essentially spend wasted media dollars in markets or on media outlets that won’t be effective. Research shows that only certain demographics on specific media outlets (listeners or viewers) will be interested or attracted in your particular type of program. Knowing your audience is key.
· Timing is Everything – While no one knows exactly the right time to buy media, there are many tools available that will help you plan the best time to launch a new program especially a Direct Response spot or program. Factors are diverse and range from local area events to national holidays and historical response rates for a given time frame. This is one area where a savvy media partner is invaluable and will be able to help you avoid common timing mistakes.
· Look for Creative Media Options that Fit your Goals – 10 years ago television and radio program response was much easier and less costly to come by. Today with scores of cable networks, subscription platforms, satellite TV and radio, video email blasts and a host of other media buying options, reaching your target market is more difficult than ever before. Ministries that are wise with their media funds should be using a multimedia approach to leverage their media dollars and to reach more audience with the Gospel. While television and radio are still effective and efficient media tools to reach a target core audience…there are many other proven outlets that must be considered and added to the media mix.
· Added Value – Look for ways to create added value for your program. This includes a unique positioning of your message or product offer. Product up-sells or Free Offer premiums, Tie-ins, Cross Promotions, local events and outreaches, PR campaigns, and guest appearances can all bring added value to a program’s effectiveness and response.
· Seek the Best – Not all media buyers are created equal. Do your homework and evaluate the top players in the field. We recommend you develop a questionnaire that you can go through with each potential candidate to use as a yardstick that will allow you to compare your top contenders. Key topics for consideration include: Relevant Experience, Response Tracking Systems, Industry Reputation and Client Service and Client References.
Steve Newton is the founder and CEO of Newton Media, a full service media planning and buying company headquartered in Virginia with offices in Dallas. Founded in 1995, Newton Media’s team of seasoned experts have become leaders in both Ministry and Direct Response TV and radio. Since its inception Newton Media has helped its clients acquire donors, increase donation revenue and sell close to $500 million in product sales – marketing products through Direct Response Television and Radio, Internet, and Print media outlets. You can reach Steve at 757-547-5400.