May I interest you in a career in media sales?

Some of you may be enrolled in your first journalism course and others may be graduating in May. But there’s one thing we have in common: We are all future journalists, and our industry — and the skills we need — is shifting in real time before us.

I’m a senior at the Missouri School of Journalism working on a bachelor’s degree with an emphasis in media planning. Last semester, my classmates and I completed the school’s media sales course, which included selling advertising and event sponsorships for the Columbia Missourian and KBIA radio. I generated the semester’s highest sales of $4,020.

There are so many positions in journalism and strategic communication that it’s possible you don’t yet know what position is best for you. Your options include creative design, account planning, account executive, copywriter and media planning. If you’re interested in the extensive opportunities available in media sales, let me share with you five things I’ve learned to help you get started on your media sales journey.

  1. Media sales is more than just selling advertising. My experiences with clients make me realize that my job is more than the number of sales I make or the amount of revenue I can generate. It’s about my clients and using my skills to help them reach their goals. Realizing I was a key component to their success is what makes media sales a rewarding career.
  2. Know how to prospect. Networking doesn’t have to be formal. Reaching out to potential clients on platforms like LinkedIn allows you to form rewarding, valuable relationships that can generate success for both parties. Online networking gives you the ability to prioritize prospects to optimize personal goals. Of course, contacting people you know personally, along with their connections, allows you to grow your circle of potential business. Finding that commonality is the key to having a successful, rewarding career that you can always take pride in.
  3. Understand the opportunities of advertising. A recurring theme in many media courses is the importance of paid sponsorships and how they can create exciting content and generous amounts of revenue. The decline in TV viewership is a hot topic, as is how more young people are engaging in mobile consumption. More dollars are now going to mobile platforms such as YouTube and the NFL. According to Forbes, NFL sponsorships generated $1.25 billion in 2017. The future of advertising also includes native advertising. By understanding industry trends and utilizing multiple channels for placements, you’ll better understand the value behind what you do on a daily basis and allow your clients to succeed as well.
  4. Know the future of the industry. Trends and buzzwords to follow include programmatic advertising, transparency, fraud and mobile presence. Mobile ad inventory is a place where advertising opportunities will grow. With increasing demand at a low cost in previous years, the cost will increase in 2018.
  5. Be persistent. Don’t give up. The art of media sales isn’t difficult. When meeting with potential clients, the most important questions to ask are about their previous marketing effort and the desired outcome of a new campaign. Moving forward, it’s important to stay in touch with the client throughout the campaign to ensure you’re both in agreement on objectives, especially if those goals are tweaked during the campaign.

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