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