Editorial calendars: the perks and pitfalls
Editorial calendars are documents created by a publication to show editorial content for the next year. Although often created to attract advertisers, they can be a good guide for pitching stories to media. Here are our tips for using editorial calendars.
Editorial calendars can:
- Identify hot topics and trends in the industry. Make sure your PR strategy is on track and relevant to editors.
- Show if a publication is relevant to your clients (although there is nothing better than an in-depth read).
- Give timings and deadlines to work to so stories can be prepared in good time.
- Identify key events, so materials can be prepared for them in advance. Show-based materials have a higher chance of being published as they are timely and relevant.
- Give you a starting point to work towards. Proactively pursue media opportunities rather than send out information without direction or research.
- Help your pitching success. Stories about automation have a higher chance of being published when an editor is preparing an automation feature.
Editorial calendars are a useful tool when it comes to proactive PR, but there are limitations! Here are some things to remember when using editorial calendars:
- You can’t plan the whole year in advance. Things are not that simple. Products change, priorities shift and some articles will not be accepted. Editorial calendars should be used as road maps, giving you a route but not deciding it for you.
- Advertisers get priority. Topics can change if someone will pay to promote their company.
- Don’t just rely on information from editorial calendars. Read the publication. Find out what the journalists write about. Tailor your pitch.
- Your PR agency probably has a relationship with the journalist. Journalists are the key when pitching. Respect is earnt by giving them good, relevant stories.
- Pitch for relevant opportunities. What will help you reach your PR objectives. What message do you want to get across? Which products do you want to promote? Being published in issues that are irrelevant to your PR campaign decreases focus and consistency.
- Tools such as MediaMap, PRNewswire and MyEdCals can help you speed up planning and show you less obvious opportunities. Yet, most editorial calendars can be easily accessed. Going through them one by one will make sure you find the most relevant publications to meet your goals.