Create some buzz

If campaign development and rollout is done well, an advertising and public relations (Ad/PR) campaign can create some buzz, increasing brand awareness, building trust, educating prospects, and driving sales.

Getting started…

Goals and objectives should be specific and measurable. See setting objectives for more background on issues to take into account.

Budget should cover a mix of online and offline communication vehicles and public relations activities to reach your target audience.   Typical expenses include:

  • Preparing the ad – image and messaging – may require the services of a graphic designer
  • The venue (magazine, website, etc.) location, number of image colors (for print advertising), and number of placements
  • A writer and/or graphic designer for creating the ad messaging or news article if outsourced
  • Message testing with focus groups or multi-variant online ad testing to ensure messaging resonates with the target audience
  • A production company, actors, script writers, and/or audio production may be necessary for television, online videos, or podcasts ads

Ideally, you want to reach customers via as many touch points as possible within a short time frame to increase product/service recall and effectiveness. In this context, “reach” refers to the number of different people who are exposed to a particular message.

Use a variety of communication channels

A variety of communication channels or vehicles should be used to reach your target audience with your message. For example, encourage a magazine article to point to your website for more information or for readers to sign up for your newsletter.  You could have a banner ad with a promotion where the user clicks on it and is directed to a special URL for ordering product at a discount.  Maybe you could place online ads encouraging users to take a picture or video of themselves using your product or service and ask them to share it via social media for credits they earn toward an upgrade version of your product.  The possibilities are almost endless.

Issues to consider

Advertising Public Relations
With advertising, you determine the message, graphics, and placement. Make sure the following aspects meet your objectives.

  • Ad reach is sufficient
  • Target audience values align with your offering
  • Deliverability isn’t a concern
  • Your customer profile resembles the venue’s customer attributes
  • Maximum exposure to the ad can be achieved
  • Legal restrictions and online/offline access are not a concern
If using public relations, you cannot control the message since a third party is responsible for writing and/or disseminating the information about your business.  You can influence how your offering is perceived, however, by:

  • Focusing on positive aspects when interviewed for an article or media segment
  • Leveraging relationships to influence third party descriptions
  • Offering to blog or act as an expert or resource in the field your business represents
  • Pitching a story to the editor of the publication you would like your business mentioned in and drafting the article for them, knowing they may make changes

Make sure you have enough lead time

Ensure creative aspects (graphics, video production, voice, and layout) are given enough lead time to be developed properly; think of them as part of your message in that they convey subtle information about your company similar to product or service information. Your campaign rollout should:

  • Ensure consistent product/service branding.
  • Incorporate multiple ways to find and share information about your company, leveraging relevant social media capabilities, website URL, QR codes, etc. to maximize impact. Ideally, you want your ad to go viral where prospects share your ad with their friends, which means it needs to be original, funny, or pointed.

When planning your advertising campaign, be sure to consider the time frame for display and the frequency of placements to encourage recall.

Print advertising

If you pursue print advertising, ask for a media kit.  The media kit will provide details on who their subscribers are and how many they have.  You’ll find detailed information on image requirements, costs for various ad sizes or displays for a set frequency along with logistics for providing the information. When you talk with the venue about your advertising interests, be sure to ask about merchandising credits, which may allow you to take advantage of complementary advertising opportunities such as web banners or use of an email/direct mail list.

Advertising online

There are different types of media formats to consider when advertising online.  Be sure to evaluate the context for where your ad appears.  Pricing will vary accordingly, but tends to be based on popular methods such as Cost Per Click (CPC), Cost Per 1000 impressions (CPM), Cost Per View (CPV), or Cost Per Interstitial (CPI). Similar to print advertising, view the publisher’s media kit or ad network’s media kit to ensure their target audience meets your requirements.


Branding should be consistent with other communication deliverables (collateralwebsite, business stationary, etc.).

Some definitions to get started:

  • Interstitial ads – enable visitors to see your ad only before linking to their desired content to maximize exposure.
  • Banner ads – typically across the top of the webpage (leader board); they can be rotating with other vendors or constant.
  • Text based ads – use simple and straightforward text and can be placed in different colors or sizes and placed key places around the circumference of the webpage.
  • Inline text link ads – typically appear with a mouse-over a word or phrase, popping up an advertisement and is usually directly related to the text that enables it.
  • Pop-ups and under ad – typically ‘pop’ for the user as they display the main content. Pop-ups typically appear near the top of the webpage appearing more intrusive than pop-unders, which appear at the bottom of the browser window.
  • Native ads – are advertisements that integrate into a social media user’s feed and appear to be organic content. As Business explains, “In-stream native ads look, feel, and function seamlessly across mobile and PC, which is precisely what brands want, as they seek to build cross-device campaigns.”1

Follow the law and industry guidelines

Ensure you don’t overstate product or service benefits and if offering a discount, make sure you have enough product on hand to reasonably fulfill demand. Copyright and trademarks should be adhered to along with any legal restrictions with touting testimonials – whether promised to the client – or portrayed to potential customers.

Make sure your online ads are seen by following IAB guidelines for digital advertising. See IAB standard ad unit portfolio for more information.

Track results

You’ll want to make sure you track the actions of those you advertise to by looking at sales figures, call volume from that region, website hits on a special landing page and conversion rate, QR code tracking, and social media site rankings. Over time, develop your dashboard of results to see where improvements have been made or should be made.

Discover more…

  1. Beltis, AJ. “How to Prepare an Advertising Plan [Free Template].” Hubspot Inc. (blog). Last modified May 12, 2020.
  2. “Best Digital Advertising Platforms.” Accessed January 3, 2022.
  3. Duncan, Apryl. “10 Steps to Make an Effective TV Commercial.” The Balance. Last modified April 11, 2018.
  4. Hessinger, Shawn. “How Much Do Small Businesses Spend on Advertising and Marketing?” Small Business Trends LLC. Last modified April 24, 2018.
  5. Ingram, David. “List of Ethical & Legal Issues When Advertising.” Hearst Communications, Inc. Accessed February 14, 2022.
  6. Koetsier, John. “State of Digital Advertising 2018: Adobe Analyzes 345B Emails, Website Visits, And Video Views.” Forbes Media LLC. Last modified April 4, 2018.
  7. “Online Advertising and Marketing.” Federal Trade Commission. Accessed February 14, 2022.
  8. Veyna, Helen. “63 Digital Advertising Terms Every Marketer Should Know.” Act-On Software, Inc. (blog). Last modified November 25, 2019.
  9. Williams, Roy H. “Calculating Your Ad Budget.” Entrepreneur Media, Inc. Accessed February 14, 2022.
  10. Ward, Susan. “19 Advertising Ideas for Small Businesses.” The Balance. Last modified April 12, 2018.
1 Cooper Smith, “The Native Ad Rush Is On: Social Media Budgets Are Pouring Into In-Stream Ads,” Business Insider Inc., last modified October 19, 2013,

Share this with peers & choose your platform!