Don’t Fear the Editorial Calendar

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By: Kelsey Marklund, Account Executive at The Agency | @TheAgencyKelsey

PR pros are known for their organizational and planning skills, and each fall we apply these skills to an important annual project: the editorial calendar.

As we near closer to the end of 2015, outlets have begun to release their media kits and editorial calendars outlining topics that they will be covering next year. These editorial calendars help us build our own client calendars in which we track and plan pitching opportunities that coincide with what outlets are looking to cover. Taking the time to build editorial calendars for your client makes it easier to pitch them for timely and relevant topics, rather than blindly sending out pitches on angles that reporters are not looking to cover.

For those of you taking your first stab at building client editorial calendars, here are a few things that I’ve learned over the last year.

  1. Start by collecting

Once you know what outlets you want to target for your client, track down their editorial calendar, usually found in their advertising media kit. More often than not, the media kit can be easily accessed on the publication’s website, but you may need to reach out to someone in the editorial or advertising department for a copy.

It’s also important to start early. I’ve made the mistake of waiting until the last minute to begin collecting editorial calendars, leaving me in a scramble to line up pitching opportunities for the beginning of the upcoming year. Here at The Agency, we begin pitching for next January in October, so our editorial calendar process begins as early as September.

Note: Editorial calendars for the upcoming year can be released anywhere between July the current year, to January the next… so be patient and check back frequently.

  1. Now build your own

At The Agency, we don’t have a fancy system for putting together these calendars – we use trusty old Excel. Also, as an agency, we have a number of different clients working in various industries. This means that each client requires its own specific editorial calendar, organized in different ‘tabs’ on Excel (or separate worksheets altogether).

As the editorial calendars come rolling in, I go through each publication’s calendar, one at a time, and look at every month for potential editorial opportunities. If there is something that applies to one of our clients, it gets added to their specific calendar (or maybe it could be an opportunity for multiple clients). Then I move onto the next calendar and do the same thing.

It can be a long process, but it’s an important one. If you want to find even more info on building an editorial calendar, check out this article from PR Daily.


 

What advice do you have for collecting and creating editorial calendars? Share them on Twitter at @PRTheAgency or in the comments below!

 

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