Hand Building an Editorial Calendar – Part 2, Media Relations 101

Wouldn’t it be great if you knew what a reporter wanted to write?  Well, you can know, if you look at the editorial calendar.

The editorial calendar should be found for most publications right in the Media Kit.  This is what the sales people use when they are selling ads. (“Hey, June is our special printer edition!  If you sell printers, you should buy an advertisement.”)

PR people use the editorial calendar to plan out when we need to contact a reporter because they are working on a relevant topic.  News publications will not have an editorial calendar – i.e. the Wall Street Journal – for their regular coverage because they follow the news, not drive it but they still usually have a features section calendar.

The editorial calendar spreadsheet should contain:

  • Publication name
  • Reporter name
  • Reporter or publication contact information
  • Print date or issue date (when the article is scheduled to appear
  • Publication frequency (daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly or blog, i.e. any time)
  • Any deadline information we can get (sometimes we just work backwards from our knowledge of the publication’s frequency)
  • Topic or title of the article
  • A notes section about their coverage.  (I.e. only cover public companies with more than $250 million in revenue; only cover members of our organization; only cover news on the local restaurant scene.)

Each publication’s editorial calendar may generate more than one editorial opportunity, or just one, or none.

I usually print out the editorial calendars and highlight the relevant articles.  Entering them into a database or spreadsheet makes them searchable and sortable.  Want to see all the articles targeted for April?  Push the button.  Want to see all of Computerworld’s 2010 schedule? Push a button.  Want to see what Joe Smith, reporter, has on his docket? Push that button.

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