Media kits for 2020-2021 will likely need to include room for much more flexibility

By Elaina Hundley

As you reevaluate your media kits for the upcoming year, the uncertainty of the current crisis will likely play a role in how you frame opportunities and will definitely impact the options you are able to offer partners. As we evaluate our client media kits, we are paying special attention to how our thought processes around them as well as marketing opportunities have shifted in response to all the changes the COVID-19 pandemic brought about. Regardless of how and when things fully reopen, it’s important to keep in mind that the culture in our country and across the globe will likely feel different following this experience— and factor that into your planning.

Offer Room For Evolution And Customization

Even prior to COVID, we’ve always thought about media kits a little differently—especially as we’ve seen greater demand for customized marketing. We believe in the value of offering advertisers opportunities tailored specifically to their goals. And while the media kit should absolutely serve as an introduction to your organization, publications and event offerings as well as a menu of opportunities, they don’t necessarily have to be comprehensive. Meaning: they don’t have to detail every single option you’ve ever offered. Instead, we approach media kits as a material piece of collateral used to pique the interest of a new lead, clearly articulate the organization’s audience, provide deadlines where possible and give a general sense of pricing. Incorporating a catch-all message like “Get in touch today to discuss existing opportunities and custom programs…” allows for flexibility and gives your reader a clear call to action.

This approach definitely lends itself to the present moment, when game plans continue to shift as our post-COVID way of being becomes more apparent. Moving forward, event planning, media schedules and more may not be quite so set in stone—after having nearly a year’s worth of scheduled events disrupted, many organizations are altering their approaches in order to be more prepared to go with the flow. Your media kit should reflect that flexibility.

Emphasize Digital

Obviously digital opportunities have been in vogue for a while now, but amid the COVID-19 pandemic, your publication is probably not the only offering that should include a digital component. With most conferences either being cancelled or converted to virtual experiences, the option to sponsor a webinar or host a digital focus group will be more in-demand. These opportunities may even be more fortuitous for sponsors as they may end up being more well-attended than in-person events—the expense is much lower for attendees, making professional development more feasible for more employers.

Think Beyond Your Normal Schedule

If you manage a trade publication that is scheduled to correspond with an annual event or have historically put on one large meeting per year, it might be time to rethink. With people feeling hesitant to participate and many states continuing to prohibit large gatherings, small format events or sporadic digital ones may be the wave of the future—long after “reopening” occurs across the board. And, while some budgets have been slashed, many advertisers are also more cognizant of how important it is to stay top of mind all the time, not just leading up to or during a big trade show. We at Blue House Sales Group are interested to see the long-term impact of the pandemic on marketing strategy—and how associations will adjust their event and publication schedules accordingly.

As states cautiously reopen and it feels like business is coming back in fits and starts, it’s clear that trade associations (like all organizations) will most certainly be rethinking many mainstays of their media kits and calendar years. Most companies were wholly unprepared for the consequences of national shutdowns—but, in planning for the remainder of 2020 and 2021, we hope that many more will seek to position themselves in such a way that allows them to reassess and pivot as needed.

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