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This article was written by Alex Sixt, an Entrepreneur NEXT powered by Assemble expert. If you are looking to take the NEXT step in your business then we encourage you to check out Entrepreneur NEXT powered by Assemble.

Do you want to grow your business and reach more audiences that convert into leads? Then a tactic that can help expand your business is paid media, a method of using promoted (paid for) content such as social media posts, video ads, pop-ups, etc. to reach target audiences. Essentially, paid media is content that businesses pay for to reach more people. 

For some, dipping their toes into paid media is intimadating, however, with understanding of best practices, you’re experience will be much more enjoyable. Here are a few tips to get you comfortable with paid media.

Establish goals. 

An excellent paid media strategy starts with setting goals. If you don’t know where you’re headed, how do you know where to go? To start building a paid media strategy, you’ll need a basic understanding of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). KPIs are a measurable value that indicates progress in achieving the overall goal. Some examples of KPIs are impressions, conversions, and website traffic. These metrics can give you insight that helps determine how well your content is performing.  

If you’re still unsure how to develop a list of goals and KPIs for your paid media campaign, consider what the overall goal is that you’d ultimately like to achieve through this content. What are you advertising? How are you hoping your business benefits from your ads? Keep your vision in mind and let it guide your objectives. 

Related: 5 Crucial Ingredients of a Sustainable Paid-Media Strategy

Build a keyword list.

Keywords are a tactic used to get your content in front of your target audience. The success of your paid media content depends on keywords because they help you reach as many potential customers as possible. Conduct extensive research into keywords to be sure they’re relevant to your business and advertisement. 

As you continue to publish paid media ads and campaigns, update your keyword list with terms that perform well. If a keyword hasn’t been successful in reaching your target audience, toss it out so it doesn’t affect your ads negatively in the future. 

Related: How to Identify the Best Long-Tail Keywords

Choose your channels. 

Not all of your audience loves Tik Tok, or any other channel as a collective group. Every consumer is different in their preferences, and you’ll want to cater to that by selecting the channels for your paid media carefully. Research—the magic word—can help you to understand which channels should successfully reach your audiences. Google is a great platform to include, but go beyond the obvious and search out what channels your audience spends time on. 

If you’re targeting ads at a Gen Z audience, consider Tik Tok or Instagram, which has become a wildly popular platform for paid media due to influencers and the visual aspect posts provide. Or, let’s say you’re advertising a service that’s used by working professionals—LinkedIn should be one of the first channels on your list. It’s overwhelming to think of all the places your audiences could potentially be (virtually) hanging out, but with some research and intuition, it’ll become easier to narrow down the list as you go along. 

Related: How Much Should You Spend on Social Media Marketing?

Create landing pages.

So, you’ve created a beautiful ad and a potential customer has clicked on it, but where do they land? The answer isn’t your website’s homepage (sorry to disappoint). The user should find themselves at a landing page. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, a landing page is a webpage that is dedicated to converting leads. Designing a landing page that is relevant to your paid media will keep a clean, consistent transition and experience for the user. 

Along with including content that is relevant to your paid media ad, make sure your landing page is engaging as well. Users should want to take the desired action on your page, whether that’s entering an email or purchasing your latest product. Track conversions from your landing page to help you adjust for better performance as needed. 

Related: 5 Ways to Capture Email Addresses From Landing Page Traffic

Optimize your ads.

As your paid media ads run over time, you’ll learn more about your audience and exactly how to reach them successfully. This information is like gold—and arguably more valuable. Use the insights you gain to improve targeting for future ads and campaigns. Tweaks you may need to make include refining your message or editing the design to make your ad stand out more.

Adjusting your ads as you learn more about audiences is crucial to building successful paid media content. There’s a learning curve to monitoring your audience’s behavior, but don’t let that scare you away. Any optimization you can provide for ads should help you generate leads, so keep your chin up and post on! 

Related: Why You Should Be Buying Facebook Ads Now

Measure your ads.

The only way to know how your content is truly performing is by tracking their success. Remember KPIs? Great, here’s where you’ll put them to use.

Measuring how your paid media performs is vital to the continued success of your ads. Decide your how often you’d like to measure your ads (weekly? monthly?) and study how your ads have performed against the KPIs you selected. 

Not all ads will perform incredibly as soon as they’re launched, and that’s okay. Learn from the results of your analytics and be easy on yourself; not everyone is an expert right away. Work through what works best for your paid media, and continue to build a strategy from there. 

Related: 3 Common Mistakes Companies Make With Their Social Ad Strategy

Hire an expert. 

If you’ve read the above and think you still may need more help beyond this blog, there are paid media experts that will take care of your content for you. Running a business takes a lot of time, and creating an effective paid media campaign is a full-time job. Paid media experts have extensive experience in this area, and can accomplish any related tasks without you having to do anything beyond hiring them. 

So, how do you go about hiring a paid media expert? You can either go through a service that offers paid media help or search for one on your own. Both are great options, finding an expert may be time-consuming and present difficulties when it comes to paperwork, expenses, benefits, etc. When choosing a service to find your expert, ensure they vet talent ahead of time and can verify applicable experience. 

Related: 7 Things to Look for When Hiring Experts

If you’re wondering where to begin with paid media, there are plenty of best-practice guidelines to help you start successfully. Remember to have fun with creating your content. Once you’ve done your research and established a foundation, experiment with various designs to help your paid media stand out. And should you ever need extra help, remember there are experts that can help with the task.

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The chorus of voices in unison with #StopHateForProfit swells; Facebook does damage control amidst falling shares.

Free Book Preview No BS Guide to Direct Response Social Media Marketing

The ultimate guide to – producing measurable, monetizable results with social media marketing.


2 min read


It has not been a great week for Facebook, but it’s not the only target of the Anti-Defamation League’s insurgent #StopHateForProfit social media campaign. Twitter has likewise taken its lumps as corporations — either out of conscience or calculation — ranging from consumer-goods giant Unilever to workout-apparel manufacturers Lululemon and ice-cream iconoclasts Ben & Jerry’s (see “Related” link below) beg off placing ads on social media sites until they take a definitive zero-tolerance stand against entities and individuals who use the platforms as megaphones for hateful and often falsified rhetoric. 

But Facebook has been the primary target, perhaps because Twitter has been viewed as a bit more assertive in moderating its more provocative content and exiling abusers of late. Or, possibly, because Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg continues to function as an avatar for the tech world’s historically laissez-faire approach to policing open forums. 

This past weekend was a bit of a bloodbath for the social media giants, as the likes of Starbucks (which has had to do a bit of its own image repair after returning a massive government-stimulus loan), Coca-Cola and global spirits titan Diageo all announced pauses on their social media ad-spend. (Though, somewhat significantly, none of those three companies chose to align themselves explicitly with #StopHateForProfit.)

Related: Ben & Jerry’s Joins Facebook and Instagram Boycott, Pushes for Transgender Rights

On Saturday, Facebook took the rare and prompt action of rolling out new warning labels and guidelines concerning hate speech and misinformation, although — like Twitter — it maintains that even inflammatory posts from figures like President Trump are newsworthy. 

Alas, that hasn’t helped the company’s valuation from taking a hit. Per Marketwatch, Facebook shares fell 2 percent ahead of open trading this morning (Twitter’s were down nearly 2.5 percent). 

Here is a complete list of companies specifically participating in #StopHateForProfit.

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There’s a new social media app trying to give Facebook and Twitter a run for their money — without the censorship.

Instead of using fact-checkers or a “third party editorial board,” Parler moderates posts based on FCC guidelines and Supreme Court rulings, Parler CEO John Matze told Fox News’ Neil Cavuto on Friday.

“It’ll feel very similar to Twitter, which I’m sure many people are accustomed to,” Matze said. “However … we take a really firm stance that we want to be unbiased.”

CONSERVATIVES USE TWITTER TO PUSH ALTERNATIVE PARLER APP AFTER TRUMP TWEET FLAGGED

If someone does post something inaccurate on Parler, Matze said the app would not fact-check it. Instead, other users would be able to comment.

“They can make any claim they’d like, but they’re going to be met with a lot of commenters, a lot of people who are going to disagree with them,” Matze said. “That’s how society works, right? If you make a claim, people are going to come and fact check you organically.”

“You don’t need an editorial board of experts to determine what’s true and what’s not,” he added. “The First Amendment was given to us so that we could all talk about issues, not have a single point of authority to determine what is correct and what’s not.”

WILL TRUMP SWITCH FROM TWITTER TO PARLER?

So far, Matze said Parler has gotten a lot of attention from conservatives — because “they seem to be the ones that are most affected by Twitter censorship or Facebook censorship” — but the website is for people from all places on the political spectrum.

“We’re a town square,” Matze said. “That’s how I view us. So everyone’s welcome, any kind of discussion.”

“We want people to actually have conversations again,” he added. “The country’s too partisan right now. And when you go on these sites, it feels like a battleground. And so the idea is that you’re going to get on Parler and have discussions with people.”

AG BARR ON TECH COMPANIES CENSORING VIEWPOINTS: ‘THERE’S SOMETHING VERY DISTURBING ABOUT WHAT’S GOING ON’

But it’s not just conservatives who are getting on Parler, Matze said.

“You’re going to see a lot of people on the other side of the aisle coming over very soon,” he said. “In fact, we’re seeing them in waves now. Not to the extent that they’re high-profile individuals, but you’re seeing a lot of people on the left who are actually curious.”

“They will come in bigger numbers and we’re going to see some bigger names come over, too, when they don’t want to miss out on the conversation,” he added. “They can’t resist.”

CLICK HERE FOR THE FOX NEWS APP

However, the app is particularly important for conservatives to have a place where their voices can be heard, Matze said.

“Right now, conservatives need this kind of place, right?” he said. “This is something that they need in an election year, when they’re experiencing censorship or some kind of bias against them, whether it’s perceived or real … People want a place that they can feel like they’re appreciated and their voice matters and they can speak.”

Several Republican lawmakers have already joined the app including Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan.

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FORTUNE is a trademark of Fortune Media IP Limited, registered in the U.S. and other countries. FORTUNE may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website. Offers may be subject to change without notice.
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Pitching seasonal stories is a great way of getting regular media exposure.

Free Book Preview No BS Guide to Direct Response Social Media Marketing

The ultimate guide to – producing measurable, monetizable results with social media marketing.


5 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


Seasonal stories are events that are celebrated, often worldwide, every year such as Valentine’s Day, Christmas, Black Friday, Easter, 4th of July, Thanksgiving, Chinese New Year, Halloween, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Seasonal stories also include the 4 seasons: spring, summer, autumn/fall, and winter.

Pitching seasonal stories is a great way of getting regular media exposure and as the event happens at the same time every year, as a business owner, you can prepare for them in advance and use the same or similar angle year after year.

How to link your business to a seasonal event and create a seasonal story

Journalists love story ideas that are current which makes seasonal stories very attractive to them and the good news is linking your business to a seasonal event and coming up with a seasonal story can be easy. Let’s take Christmas as an example, a dentist could come up with a story idea such as, ‘All I want for Christmas is bright, white teeth – 3 Christmas drinks you must avoid.’ Or a carpet cleaning company story idea could be, ‘How to Remove the 5 Top Christmas Carpet Stains.’ If you’re a nutritional weight loss expert, a possible idea could be ‘7 Easy to Avoid Foods That Cause Bloating at Christmas.’ All of these story ideas would be interesting to the right journalists around Christmas time as it would be educational content for them to share with their audience.  

Let’s look at another seasonal event, Valentine’s Day. Let’s say that you’re a florist. You could come up with a story idea, such as ‘Startling Statistics on How Many Roses are Sent Out on Valentine’s Day’. Let the TV channels know when you’re having a big delivery and invite them to come and take footage and run a story. TV love stories that are visual, so this really lends itself to be a great opportunity to get national TV exposure, but equally, this story idea would be attractive to local media and publications and radio stations too.

Let’s look at another example. Let’s say you’re a relationship expert you could come up with a story idea such as ‘How to Know if Your Partner is the One Before Proposing This Valentine’s Day.’ Or a jeweler could come up with a story idea such as ‘A Man’s Guide to Buying the Right Engagement Ring This Valentine’s Day Without Breaking the Bank’.

It also works for the less obvious businesses too

Let’s look at how a less obvious business can get media exposure for Valentine’s Day too, such as Estate Agents or Real Estate Agents. These people see house buyers fall in love with their dream homes all the time. They play cupid in matching the right people with the right home. Therefore, they could come up with a story idea such as ‘How to find the perfect home for you and your loved one this Valentine’s Day.’ Can you see how I’ve used the Valentine’s Day theme of love and romance and linked it to finding the perfect home?

Seasonal events

Let’s move on now to some seasonal event examples.

Let’s say you’re a cleaning company, a spring story idea could be ’10 Easy Spring-Cleaning Tips That Will Make Your House Sparkle Fast’. Or for an IT specialist, an example could be, ‘How to Spring-Clean a Computer That is Slow to Boot Up’.

For a dog trainer, a summer example could be, ‘How to Stop Dog Deaths This Summer’ or ‘Did You Know That Dogs Get Sunburn Too? Here’s What to do’.

A fall/autumn example for an image consultant could be, ‘5 Little Known Ways to Stand Out This Autumn’ or ‘How to Look Chic This Fall Without Spending a Fortune’.

If you’re a dermatologist a winter story idea could be, ‘7 Head to Toe Skin Care Tips That Will Give You a Radiant Glow This Winter’. Or for a health expert, ‘Get Ready for Winter: 5 Rare Herbs That Will Boost Your Immune System Instantly’.

Lead times

One thing to bear in mind when you’re pitching your story idea to either a publication or show is to consider their lead time. A lead time is the length of time a media channel works on story ideas prior to them being published or aired. Many media outlets begin planning their content at least a month in advance. A magazine lead time can be three to six months in advance, which means if you were pitching a Christmas story idea to a magazine that has a 3 month lead time, then you’ll need to pitch your Christmas story around August/September time in order for it to be timely to the publication.

So now it’s your turn…

What seasonal event is coming up that you could use as a hook to link your business to?

Once you’ve got one, contact a journalist who is interested in your topic and has an audience that is similar to yours and see what happens… you’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain!

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FORTUNE is a trademark of Fortune Media IP Limited, registered in the U.S. and other countries. FORTUNE may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website. Offers may be subject to change without notice.
Quotes delayed at least 15 minutes. Market data provided by Interactive Data. ETF and Mutual Fund data provided by Morningstar, Inc. Dow Jones Terms & Conditions: http://www.djindexes.com/mdsidx/html/tandc/indexestandcs.html.
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