Editorial Calendars Can Serve As Key to Unlock PR Success

Monday, March 08, 2010 14:02
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Editorial Calendars Can Serve As Key to Unlock PR Success

Most here have probably noticed that many topics in publications that are a good fit for their marketing/PR efforts seem repetitive and/or routine. What they may not realize is that there's an easy way to get in on a publication's future plans with enough time to have an opportunity to position yourself to contribute.

 

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Special sections in newspapers and magazines have a two-fold purpose, which is not only to focus the content on a particular topic, but also to target advertising sales efforts toward likely advisors who feel the projected audience would be a good fit for their marketing efforts. Planning for these sections often begins weeks, if not months, in advance so that both advertising and editorial staffers have ample time to prepare for these in addition to their regular duties.

 

These sections are often scheduled an entire year in advance, meaning both ad and editorial staffs know what's coming down the pike. In an effort to drum up ad sales, publications also often publish ads containing their upcoming special sections, hoping to motivate readers to call their ad representatives to place a targeted ad. These ads can also serve as your cue to pitch reporters and editors who handle these beats, since the ads usually have both an editorial deadline -- meaning when the stories must be finished -- as well as a deadline for ad sales.

Knowing the specific reporters/editors to be pitched for these sections can be a bit tricky, since the copy itself may often be written by freelance contributors who don't regularly work for the publication. Given that, a safe bet is to contact an assistant business/finance editor -- or the actual editor if the staff is small -- and ask how story suggestions can be submitted. One caveat: It's best to never assume there's any tie between ad sales and editorial coverage. While this isn't always true, especially in the case of small trade publications, most reputable publications that will actually drive your business do maintain a solid wall between ad sales and editorial coverage.

Regarding story suggestions, while it's nice to think up something new that's never before been featured, it's not always possible and isn't even always what the publication may be looking for. Readers have short memories, so publications are always looking to remind them of issues/events they may not be thinking about as important dates approach. This is especially true when it comes to financial matters -- something of which most Americans don't have a firm grasp.

If your story idea is accepted and/or you've been picked to serve as a resource for a story they're already planning, be aware that the interviews may occur a couple of months or so before the actual publication appears. Because everyone associated with special sections also generally works in another capacity at the publication, it can take a while before everything's put together and sent to print.

 

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