As a new public relations professional, I would like to share with you one of the basic New Year’s preparation strategies that I have recently learned at our integrated marketing agency. Preparing an editorial calendar strategy is essential to your client’s success, as well as your own.

Knowing the prime opportunity to pitch your client to a top publication tier isn’t about random luck and it certainly isn’t impossible. Like Seneca said, “luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” So if you’re willing to put a bit of extra effort into preparing for the new year, I would like to introduce you to the importance of editorial calendars, how to stay organized and the best way to utilize them.

Let’s start with what exactly an editorial calendar is. According to freelance writer Allena Tapia, “An editorial calendar is the listing of planned themes, features and needs for upcoming issues of a magazine.” Advertisers, as well as public relations professionals, use ‘ed cals’ to have an accurate timeline of when editors will be working on certain stories and when those will be published. This is an absolute necessity for an integrated marketing agency such as lotus823 because we are constantly in contact with editors, discussing our clients and how their recent endeavors may be a fit for the publication’s upcoming stories.

So how do you go about finding these editorial calendars and putting them to good use? Below are some tips that I’ve used while prepping my public relations strategies for 2014. Follow these simple steps, stay organized and up-to-date, and you will head into the new year on a good note.

1. Build A Media List.

Compile a list of publications where you are looking to secure an opportunity for a client. These should focus mainly on magazines and trade publications.

2. Research Outlets & Request If You Need To.

Get on the websites of these publications and take a look on the “Advertise Here” page. If there is an option to view their media kit, you’re in luck! If not, you may have to reach out to them directly to request a copy of their updated Media Kit. Each media kit should have promotional information as well as an editorial calendar.

3. Create A Spreadsheet.

Once you have all of your media kits and editorial calendars, create a spreadsheet to keep them organized. I prefer to start organizing tabs by client-appropriate outlets and then continuing on with a breakdown of monthly events.

4. Print Ed Cals & Begin Organizing.

To take your organizational skills a step further, print out those editorial calendars and organize them in a binder. This may just be a personal preference, but I feel that going through the months we will feel a sense of accomplishment while crossing deadlines off the list.

5. Set Calendar Reminders.

Set reminders in your Gmail or Outlook calendars just in case you forget to take a glance at your spreadsheet and binder. Third times a charm!

6. Craft Rough Draft Pitches.

If you have time before the New Year approaches, draft up some rough pitches for the January and February calendar events. This will be a secure way to help you with a smooth transition into the New Year.

Share with us some of your techniques for utilizing editorial calendars.

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