If you’re new to the term, an editorial calendar is a listing of the major themes or features planned for upcoming issues of a magazine. An editorial calendar is often in the Media Kit created by magazines (and sometimes newspapers) to attract advertisers. In theory, an editorial calendar tells you in January, what the magazine will write about all the way till December.
Sometimes they are made public so that writers and PR consultants (or even you, the small business owner!) can approach the magazine to send a media pitch in advance of the story’s planned publication. Think of the themes that Oprah has for her magazines every month like “Get Well” or “Gratitude” or “special reports” that appear in your local or national paper.
One of the services we provide clients in my technology PR firm is a listing of editorial calendar opportunities. Our database makes it easy for us to pull these opportunities up and have a systemized way of pursuing PR proactively throughout the year.
For example, an editorial calendar by eWeek tells us they are writing about Social Networking in the Enterprise, for their April 5 issue. Which means that we should be pitching the story now (lead times for weekly publications are 4 – 6 weeks out, monthly magazines can be 3 – 6 months out).
If you’re doing your own PR, what you can do is think about the key publications you want to appear in and see if you can find the editorial calendar on your targeted publication’s website, either on the writers submissions page, or perhaps even on pages targeted toward advertisers.
Here’s one by Fast Company, as another example. http://mediakit.fastcompany.com/ – download their media kit and in the editorial calendar section you can see that in June they are doing a story on “The 100 Most Creative People in Business” – dazzling thinkers, rising stars and bold names reshaping the future. If you’d like to be part of the story, you might start thinking of pitching the editors sooner, rather than later.
***JAN 2011 UPDATE: the examples above are for 2010 editorial calendars, so those issues have passed
It’s a great way to increase your chance of a successful pitch since the reporter is already looking for a source like you for his or her story.
Oh, and because I mentioned Oprah, it was interesting that on her site she offers a contact form to pitch stories but only serious queries for advertising (minimum $50,000) will be considered. Due to the volume of requests they receive, I don’t think they put out an editorial calendar – in fact I think this website here, is someone else’s clever ploy to capture your information. It looks like it’s from Oprah but on every page there is no info except for an opt-in form, and it is not on Oprah’s main site. I wouldn’t fall for it, you’ll probably get spammed!
Have you used Editorial Calendars successfully?
Elena is founder of a technology PR agency that works with startups to billion-dollar companies. She is passionate about helping marketers and small business owners with practical publicity strategies, which she's also using for her own bling flip flop company.
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