You’re ready. You’ve just developed a new brand or a new product, and now it’s time to get your message out there. It’s time to develop your engagement strategy.

There are many potential engagement channels – paid media, media relations, social media, internal communications. We’re going to focus on the paid component and how you can help your media buy dollars stretch farther.

Here are five ways you can make every dollar count.

1) Value-added opportunities

Ask your advertising rep if there are any value-added, no-cost (or low-cost) opportunities available to accompany your paid media schedule. Print publications may offer a bonus ad with a confirmed full-year schedule, websites may provide 100,000 free impressions with a six-month commitment, or a TV station may provide free banner advertising space on its website for the duration of your TV campaign. It never hurts to ask.

2) Media Relationship-Building

Keep in mind nonpaid media relations opportunities that might arise and how you can nurture those. If you’re opening a new sporting-goods store, for example, you may want to consider advertising in a neighborhood paper if it reaches and targets the store’s audience. The relationships built may lead to more editorial opportunities for grand-opening announcements and beyond.

3) Everything’s Negotiable

Is there a publication you’d really like to place in but your budget won’t allow for it? Let them know your budget is limited and ask if there’s flexibility with the pricing. If you have an amount in mind, let them know. Oftentimes reps are willing to work within your budget. After all, something is better than nothing.

4) Working Together, They’re Better

When you’re scheduling your campaigns and media buy, flight it out so that you have as much media running concurrently as possible.

Say, for example, you want to run the campaign over six months using online, print and television outlets, but you have a limited budget. It’s proven you need to see something multiple times before it registers, so you could instead run shorter, stronger flights incorporating all three media channels every other month (three months total) during that six-month time period. Scheduling the media to run together, you’re concentrating the campaign’s overall reach and frequency.

5) Plan Long-Term

As you plan for each fiscal year, develop a media-buy budget based upon your leadership and marketing teams’ planned initiatives for the coming year. If possible, break that overall budget out first by campaign, then by outlet/publication.

As you start to work with advertising reps to plan the year’s first campaign, provide them with the overall dollars you’re planning to spend with their outlet/publication during the next 12 months. They’ll be more willing to negotiate rates/pricing, incorporate frequency discounts or add in value-added opportunities if they know how much is coming their way over the entire year.

Note, if that overall budget decreases at any point in the year, they’ll likely prorate the invoicing to compensate if a minimum buy isn’t met.

Incorporating the above tactics into your media planning is sure to stretch your dollars. As you plan for your future marketing buys, it’s also important to build relationships with your advertising reps, be respectful to and show appreciation for what they do – just as you would with clients and colleagues.