Editorial Calendars – The Forgotten PR Tool

There’s no time like the present to start planning for 2017 in terms of editorial writing and media outreach. An often overlooked tool is the editorial calendar. These calendars have been around for a long, long time but offer unique opportunities for PR. The calendars show what a publication or media outlet is planning for the next 6-12 months in terms of editorial coverage. Sometimes these calendars are geared toward advertisers but, even so, it gives you an idea of what the publication’s focus will be for that issue.

Start with your media lists and go online to the various outlets that are part of your targeted outreach. See what they have planned and how you can leverage the news you have to share. Here are a few tips to consider when planning.

  • Identify news about your company that will fit into the editorial calendar. Do you have a new product launch in healthcare that would be of interest to a reporter developing stories for a publication’s healthcare issue? Make sure what you’re pitching is helpful to the reporter. If you can offer them a new angle on a story with a credible source to interview, then you’re helping the reporter and the company. As a bonus, if you have high resolution photos, offer those to the reporter as well.
  • Research the types of stories the publication covers. And, research which reporters cover which topics. Sometimes publications will bring in a special contributor for a particular section. If your company’s news or industry isn’t covered by that publication, find one that does. There are hundreds of trade journals as well as general business and/or lifestyle publications out there. Find one that matches your company’s expertise and target audience. Make it a win-win for both your company and the publication.
  • Plan ahead. There are many monthly publications, especially trade journals, that work 3-6 months in advance. Any media outreach should happen early. If you’re pitching a great idea the week of a reporter’s deadline, you’re not going to get anywhere.

Editorial calendars are a great way to start planning your media outreach for 2017. These are long-lead pitches that you can supplement with more immediate news throughout the year. It also provides the opportunity to develop relationships with reporters who may provide in depth coverage of your industry.