by Greg Perry
Many public relations pros believe the best time to research editorial calendar opportunities is when the leaves begin to fall and football is in the air. While late fall/early winter is the most popular time for publications to release their editorial calendars for the coming year, there are lots of hidden gems you can find during other months that may have been previously overlooked or added to a calendar since the close of the year.
As of the writing of this post, nearly half of the half million story opportunities have yet to reach their respective deadline dates. If you’re just starting to think of the editorial calendar opportunities available or you have a new project or client, there are still plenty out there for you. This is especially true if you have a green energy, travel, sustainability or corporate responsibility story to tell as these are some of the top story opportunities published in editorial calendars for this year.
If you’re in the fashion or retail space, you are also in luck. While we’re late to the party for Mother’s Day gift guides, almost all the 2012 holiday gift guides are still pre-deadline. There are also hundreds of “fall fashion” story opportunities that are awaiting your pitch. And you would be surprised at how many non-sports related magazines have some type of “tailgating” issue in the works, most pre-deadline.
The great news is you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars for an up-to-date editorial calendar database – there are some great ones available for around $500 per year. If you are looking to go an even lower cost route, you can spend time searching the Web which has made editorial calendars more accessible than ever. It wasn’t so long ago that getting your hands on editorial calendars meant calling up a publication, asking them to mail you a copy, and waiting for it to arrive in your mailbox before finally getting to the good stuff. If you are fortunate enough to have interns or entry level staff, researching editorial calendars is a great way to introduce them into the wonderful world of media outreach and research. Here are some tips to get them started and to help accelerate their search:
- Make a list of your key publications.
- Research each publication’s website – this is where most will publish their editorial calendars.
- Find the diamond in the rough by digging deep and knowing the synonyms for your key message. For example, don’t just search for ‘green energy’, also search for ‘clean energy’, ‘alternative energy’, ‘wind’, ‘solar’, etc. It may sound elementary, but you’d be surprised at how many folks give up after a quick cursory search. Their miss could be your next media hit.
Once your team has compiled a list of available opportunities and you’re ready to start pitching, remember that when you introduce yourself to journalists, you should be clear about what you can provide to them, not just what you want from them. If you’re able to line up an executive level interview or a quote for their story, let the journalist know and be ready to deliver when the deadline approaches.
Make this spring your season for hunting and pitching rather than waiting for the fall to see what stories are available for next year. There is a lot of 2012 left to come and most of your competitors quit researching editorial calendars months ago. Take advantage of the opportunities still open and enjoy the hunt!