I am guessing that many association publishers have already produced their 2014 media kit as in my experience, most advertising prospects start their future year ad planning in early September. A good rule of thumb is to have the next year’s media kit completed and out to prospects as close to Labor Day as possible.
If my assumption that many of you have already created and distributed a 2014 media kit is true, you may think the timing of this article is not right. That is not the case: A media kit can be a living and breathing document that changes over time. The tips I am going to share can still be implemented and will impact your sales for 2014.
Any media kit must do three things:
- Tell the reader who will see their ads.
- Clearly state pricing and ad options.
- Make it easy for companies to reserve their advertising.
You can achieve these things by making sure you include the following must-haves:
Key information on who is reading your publication(s) presented in an easy-to-digest format. It is important to note that you want key information on who is reading your publications — not key information on your membership. For the majority of association publications, there is going to be a large overlap between the two; but if you are able to do reader research and report reader demographics, it will give prospective advertisers a better idea of who will be seeing their advertising.
The key information presented will vary based on what prospective advertisers need to know to understand that they are reaching the right people who will help them reach their goals. Some audience characteristics that seem to be important in almost every industry include level or title, budget size, decision-making authority, and type of organization. Other characteristics that may be important include location, years in the field, and possibly even age and sex.
Once you know what information you want to include, it is very important to present it in an easy-to-read format. Long paragraphs with audience information buried within them are not user-friendly. I strongly recommend bullet points, charts, and graphs, which are easy for prospects to read and understand.
Clear and concise presentation of the publications in which ads are available — including size and color — and the cost of the ads.Once a prospective advertiser has decided to advertise (since you reach an audience that can positively impact their business), they need to know what opportunities they have to advertise: what media are available (print, web, newsletter); what ad options they have (size, color vs. black-and-white, special placement); and how much it will cost to advertise (per ad, frequency discounts, additional cost for color, special ad positions).
The available options for advertising, prices, sizes, etc. should be presented in a way that is easily understood. Consider an individual section for each vehicle that accepts advertising that talks about the vehicle (frequency, format); presents the ad options and costs; and has examples of how each ad position would look in each vehicle. Examples of what an ad would look like are more important in electronic media as this can vary from association to association. I also recommend using charts to present ad options and pricing. Charts are clean and easy to read and typically do not confuse the reader.
Easy-to-use insertion order. Now that the prospective advertiser has decided to advertise and knows what ads they want to place, you need a user-friendly insertion order. It’s a good idea to have one comprehensive form that covers all ad opportunities. The order form should be broken down by publication and should have check boxes for any selections an advertiser has to let you know about so you understand what they want to reserve. For a print ad, that would include check boxes for each issue, check boxes for color and black-and-white, check boxes for special discounts, and any other options they might have. For a web ad, check boxes could include the available positions and the months of the year if that is how you do your reservations.
It is also important that the order form make it easy for the prospective advertiser to enter their understanding of the cost of the ads they want to reserve, their contact information, and their payment information. You want to be able to clearly see what the advertiser reserved, how much it costs, who the contact person is, and how they are paying for it. This is critical information; you don’t want to have to spend extra time clarifying this information once you have the insertion order in hand.
Bonus must-have: contact information for your ad sales person and your technical person. No matter how well you design your media kit, people are going to have questions. Since that is a given, it is very important to include contact information for the right people on every page so it is easy to find.
As busy association publishers, the information included in your media kit and the layout of your media kit is very important. If it doesn’t have the information that can help prospective advertisers understand (a) why they want to reach your audience; (b) how they can reach your audience; and (c) an easy way for them to reserve their ads, you run the risk of losing advertising revenue to competitors and/or spending a lot of time answering questions from prospective advertisers.
With the media kit must-haves presented above, your ad sales will go much more smoothly and revenues will increase.
Article originally published in Association Media & Publishing’s Final Proof