For decades the media industry has used editorial calendars (ed cals) as a way of planning content that will be published during the upcoming year. Typically, ed cals provide information about issue dates, ad close and ad material timing, editorial feature themes, events, conferences, and more. Some may say that ed cals are an antiquated or an ‘old school’ PR tactic (and that may be true in some instances), but if used properly, they can enhance your PR strategy and be very useful. Below are some helpful tips to get the most out of using them in your next PR strategy.
What is an editorial calendar:
Editorial calendars are created by publications to map out their content for future issues. Editors typically create these calendars with potential advertisers in mind, but they can also be useful for PR professionals to see what topics / themes the outlet will be covering throughout the year.
Where to find editorial calendars:
Media outlets typically publish their editorial calendars for the entire year at once, so advertisers and PR professionals can plan in advance. Most outlets post their media kits in an easy to find area of their website (typically in the advertising section). If it is not clearly visible, you can email the Editor and request a copy. The most important step after receiving the editorial calendar is to do your research and read the magazine to understand the type of content they accept and the style of their articles.
How to use editorial calendars:
Editorial calendars can be used as a way for PR professionals to plan and craft tailored pitches based on themes that are in upcoming issues. They can also be used to position clients as thought leaders if a particular upcoming topic aligns with their area of expertise. Referencing an editorial calendar helps map out long-lead pitches in a PR plan and can help support the overall strategy.
For example, say you are working with a client in the commercial real estate space, and you see that in April there is an award nomination for Influencers in Real Estate and then in November they are looking for predictions and trends for the following year. Having this knowledge in advance can allow you to plan accordingly with the client and work against the publication’s predetermined deadlines.
When all is said and done, ed cals are another tool in the toolbox that PR professionals can use to strategically target reporters with relevant content on behalf of our clients.