By Kristina Houck, Research and Online Content Specialist
Most reporters receive dozens – if not hundreds – of press releases and story pitches every day. So how do you get your release noticed? Send it when you know a reporter is seeking stories on a related subject. That’s how editorial calendars can help.
Editorial calendars are a great tool for public relations professionals to use to learn what types of stories media outlets publish and when. Editorial calendars outline the major editorial features that are planned for upcoming magazine and newspaper issues. If used correctly, they can help PR pros increase their chances of coverage.
It’s important to note that not all publications issue editorial calendars. But the ones that do are free and easy to obtain. Many publications have PDF versions of their calendars that can be downloaded from their websites. Editorial calendars are often found in the “advertise with us” section and included in media kits geared toward advertising and marketing professionals. If you don’t find the editorial calendar you’re looking for online, contact an editor at the publication to request one.
Once you obtain an editorial calendar, review it to decide when you should pitch your story idea. Look for issues that will feature topics related to those in your press release or pitch.
Ensure your pitch is truly relevant. Don’t pitch a publication just because your news is slightly related to the topics in the upcoming issue.
Also be sure to pitch with the publication’s deadlines in mind. Knowing the publication’s deadlines is one of the benefits of using editorial calendars, so remember to plan ahead! Pitch at least three to four weeks in advance for weekly publications and three to four months out for monthly publications.
Lastly, pitch your story to the appropriate person at the publication. Even if you pitch relevant news for a specific issue ahead of time, your release can be overlooked if you send it to the wrong contact. If you are unable to determine which editor or reporter to pitch to, contact the media outlet and ask to be directed to the appropriate contact for your story.
So for quick review, here are three tips when using editorial calendars to pitch:
1. Pitch relevant news
Use editorial calendars to learn when publications plan to publish topics related to your story.
2. Be aware of deadlines
Plan to pitch at least three to four weeks in advance for weekly publications and three to four months out for monthly publications.
3. Contact the appropriate person
Determine which editor or reporter would cover your story.