PR pros everywhere have developed unique methods for media relations planning, but we all should have one tactic in common: using editorial calendars for strategy creation. The benefits of consulting editorial calendars when building out PR campaigns are countless; it is an essential technique to staying relevant to editors as well as remaining on-trend in any given industry. Think about it: what better way to stay in the know than to monitor the upcoming themes outlined in the editorial calendars of your target magazines? In this blog post, we will explore the distinct advantages of editorial calendar research and helpful tips for PR planning.
Optimize Media Relations:
One of the biggest challenges of securing organic coverage for PR pros is standing out from the noise in an inbox. Editors are constantly inundated with pitch emails everyday, so it is our job to write emails that will resonate with editors based on relevancy, not only to their beat, but also to the editorial themes that are being focused on each month. For example, if Oprah Magazine’s editorial calendar indicates that the June 2019 Issue theme is outdoor summer entertaining, and you have a client with an awesome portable outdoor grill, you’ve hit the relevancy jackpot (as long as you did your research in advance)! Therefore, when creating your 2019 PR strategy, it would be beneficial to plan to pitch your client’s outdoor grill to the appropriate editor at Oprah Magazine 4-6 months before the June Issue goes to print. As the editor is working on the content for that issue, there is a strong chance they are looking for products that support stories with an outdoor summer entertaining theme. If your product is a fit for their story, you’ve just optimized your media relations efforts. Making that connection between what the editor is working on and what your client has to offer is one of the most valuable ways to leverage editorial calendars for media planning.
No one can predict what crazy fads will happen before they catch on, but editorial calendars are the next best way to anticipate what will be trending in any given industry. Keep in mind, however, that editorial calendars are living documents and as the year unfolds, editors may react to news that happens after the original calendar is published and will likely add in fresh concepts throughout the year. Therefore, it’s crucial to constantly reference the website for any changes that may have been made since the original calendar was posted. If all the stars align and the seasonal theme you’ve been intending to pitch is still slated as planned, then the next step is to make sure you don’t miss any deadlines. Most editorial calendars include an ad-close date, and some even include an editorial close date (yay)! In the case of only seeing an ad-close date, do not rely on that as your editorial deadline. Many magazines will accept paid advertisements down to the last week before an issue goes to print, but they almost never add in new editorial content at the last minute. So be mindful of planning to pitch well in advance of ad-close deadlines as you are preparing your 2019-pitching calendar.
Now that you understand the benefits of researching editorial calendars and the importance of keeping up with evolving trends and getting ahead of deadlines, it’s time for the fun stuff. Editorial calendars provide an outline, or an agenda of sorts, that allow PR pros to brainstorm creative concepts and story angles correlated to the planned seasonal themes that can help get our placements for our clients in top tier magazines. Take advantage of the information provided in the editorial calendars and run with some fresh ideas on how to position your client to these editors. Maybe it’s the road trip must-have you didn’t know you needed in “The Travel Edition,” or the beach bag essential you’ll no longer leave the house without in the “Summer Vacation Issue.” Think of your pitch subject line as a story title, and the contents of the email as the executive summary. Paint a picture and tell a story to the editor; this will entice them to get to know your brand and open their eyes to the idea of featuring your client’s product with the angle you provided.
All in all, taking advantage of editorial calendars will leverage your client in a relevant and meaningful way, and will buy you some time to get creative when planning your story.