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How to Use Editorial Calendars for Public Relations

How To Use Editorial Calendars For Public Relations
  • Media kits and editorial calendars are used regularly by some publications and not used at all by others.
  • However, if they are used by a publication, there are many ways that you can utilize these calendars to your PR advantage to pitch certain thought leaders or topics.
  • Tara Parsell is a OnePitch PRo contributing to The TypeBar monthly with how-to and feature pieces. See more of her articles on The TypeBar.

 

Dear OnePitch, I hear all the time that I need to be paying attention to publishers’ media kits and editorial calendars, but how do I pitch those?

Media kits and the editorial calendars within them are one of these weird enigmas of the PR/marketing/advertising world.

Some outlets use them, some don’t, and some put out editorial calendars and then change them based on the news cycle. They are mainly created to give marketing and advertising professionals an idea of what the issue’s focus will be so they can submit ads for the correct issues; however, PR professionals can often use these in their own planning, especially for trade-specific outlets.

For example, I have specific trade outlets I pitch regularly throughout the year, but, depending on their focus, I may want to pitch a certain leader for an interview in one issue or a guest article from a different leader in a different issue.

How do I pitch them?

Starting at the very beginning, you need to actually collect the editorial calendars. These can be found on outlets’ websites in the editorial or advertising sections. Sometimes they are included in media kits. Sometimes you can download them or just review them right online and other times you need to email the sales team and request it. And like I said, sometimes outlets simply don’t use them.

Pro tip: I like to create a spreadsheet of any opps, the months, and topics in my media list, so I can review it monthly without digging through the editorial calendars again.

Once you’ve collected a few, you can review the topics for things that may correlate with topics your businesses are focused on.

I want to be clear: this is not a short-term strategy. Editorial calendars plan out a publisher’s year, so you may see an opportunity in January for October and then it becomes a waiting game. 

Just don’t wait too long. It’s important to understand the outlet. If it’s a print magazine, it may be planning stories 2-3 (or even six) months out.

When you actually write the pitch, these can be short and sweet. You saw in the editorial calendar the coverage in (month) and wanted to suggest (targeted pitch here).

I’ve found that there may be times that an editorial calendar is specifically for sponsored opportunities, but have also placed about a dozen stories a year with this method. Definitely nothing to turn your nose down at!

May the odds be ever in your favor!

_______

 

Do you have a PR question you’d love to get answered by Tara? Send your question to info@onepitch.co for a chance to be featured and answered. Also, be sure to sign up for her newsletter, Media Pros(e), to get her unaltered thoughts and recommendations for navigating media relations in today’s world.

View all of Tara’s writing on The TypeBar to see what else she’s been covering!

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Tara Parsell began her career working as an assistant on a national news desk – where she experienced first-hand what works (and what doesn’t) when pitching media. With more than a decade spent in PR agencies, spanning the fields of healthcare, entertainment, startups, food, etc., Tara focuses on building the story behind the brand. In 2021, she founded Media Pros(e), a bi-monthly newsletter dedicated to media relations strategy and coaching.

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