PR 101: The Editorial Calendar

Hey fellow PR newbies! On Today’s addition of #PR101 I am going to talk about the almighty editorial calendar. Why? Well, let me tell you a little story (gather ’round children as I put on my Mother Goose hat): A few days ago, I was at an intern “meet-up” kind of deal (you know, networking and general schmoozing) and there were several other PR interns there and I mentioned trying to get some information on an editorial calendar for a magazine and 80% of them did this:

Yea, I was pretty upset about it too, Taylor Swift. So editorial calendars, it is. In the wise words of Slick the Rick heeeeere we go:

Everything you ever did not care needed to know about Editorial Calendars:

  • An editorial calendar is a…well, a calendar (DUH) that editors, journalists, bloggers, etc. use to organize and the major themes or features planned for upcoming issues of a magazine; in theory, if you have this mystical calendar, you’ll know in January, what Vogue plans to talk about in December (I  already know: overpriced gifts and plastic surgery…see? I’m a silo of information).
  • Why is this important to PR pros? Simple: it helps us get our clients coverage (see how I inserted myself into the “PR pro” group? Yep); let me give you an example: Say a PR pro get a glimpse at the New York Times ed calendar (“ed” being short for “editorial” which I get tired of typing, heck, even saying it sometimes) and they see that a writer has a story about diapers (random alert) and hey, Huggies is one of their clients and they are releasing a diaper that changes itself! BimBamBoom, you got an angle for the journalist and you can provide a diaper expert (-_-) for the story and get a plug for the new auto-diaper. You, my good friend, are a great publicist.
  • So how do you find this information? Good question, some publications make parts of their ed calendars  public info because they are trying to get ad (“ad” being short for “advertising” I’m abbrev cray today!) dollars and you can get it that way, or maybe you’re just really good friends with the editor of NYT (my, aren’t you well connected?) OR try to get your hands on a media kit (this is another #PR101 post, but it’s what people give to their advertisers to try and get money). Either way, having the editorial calendar puts you way ahead of the game…of life. Or just PR, either way.

Well, what did we learn about ed calendars today? Well, we learned that “ed” is short for “editorial”, for one thing…we also learned:
-Ed calendars are published once a year, they give an entire year of a topics and themes; here’s an example from PRSA’s magazine, Tactics PRSA Ed Calendar
-Ed calendars help PR pros because they allow us to see stories and themes from a publication, which can help with more targeted pitching, leading to a higher chance of placement and coverage.
-Ed calendars also give us an idea about lead times; a “lead time” is the amount of prior to a story’s publication that deadlines usually are, the rule of thumb: monthly magazines are 3-6 months, weekly publications are 4-6 weeks and blogs/news websites are 2-8 weeks.

Well kids, that was fun. I love an editorial calendar…I really think it makes it easier for people (read: PR pros) to effectively pitch timely and targeted stories and created coverage. As usual, I have a few links for you, so you can do some independent research:
How To Use an Editorial Calendar to Get PR
What is an Editorial Calendar?
EdCals, Powered by CisionPoint
Tips to Building an Editorial Calendar for PR

XOXOXO, Jess_AsPRing


9 responses to “PR 101: The Editorial Calendar

  1. I think that part of the problem is that if you haven’t done at least one internship in a public relations department or agency, you’ve probably never heard the phrase “editorial calendar.” It’s mainly used by people with journalistic backgrounds so without the exposure, young PR pros would never know. Good topic choice.

  2. Editorial calendars are also useful to use when planning out your social media postings- that is something I’ve been recommending to people new to managing their Facebook/Twitter for business accounts. It helps you to feel more in control & your posts appear to work together rather than against each other.

    Great post, Jess!

    • Thanks Elly1321!I didn’t even get to delve into the many benefits of creating an edCal for social media purposes, I would LOVE to hear more about your thoughts on it, perhaps a guest post? Let me know.

      • I definitely plan on posting about editorial calendars for social media, and you are more than welcome to use it on your blog as well. I’ll contact you- going to your about me page now :).

  3. This is a large part of the reason I am glad I chose to major in journalism. How can you effectively practice public relations without knowing what an editorial calendar is? Or other important journalism lingo like lead-time, copy-edit or AP style (yes, i have met pR majors who don’t know what these terms are). Great post!

  4. Reblogged this on My Blog and commented:
    I enjoy your humorous approach to this topic. Great read!

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