A primer on editorial calendars

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By Linda Forrest

The truth is that all media channels have original content in the hopes that it will capture and maintain the audience’s attention enough so that they see the paid advertisements. Print publications, including trade magazines, are no different. That’s not to say that the editorial content is not valuable or does not have the potential to move your market, it does, but at its simplest: no advertising revenue, no media channel.

Editorial calendars are an integral part of the media kit for print publications. In addition to the document’s purpose of mapping out what editorial coverage will be happening and when, with what focus and responsible writer or editor, it also provides the advertising sales department with a compelling reason to target specific companies with particular product or service offerings at specific times.

For our purposes, as a company that focuses exclusively on securing earned, as opposed to paid, media coverage for our clients, we are interested only in the editorial aspect of the calendar. That doesn’t stop some sales people from pitching us for advertising dollars, but that’s another story.

Editorial calendars begin to emerge in the autumn and winter for the year ahead. The gathering of these ever-changing calendars is a cumbersome task indeed and as such there are a number of subscription-based aggregators through PRNewswire and other independent providers like MyEdCals. These aggregators can help one find those opportunities that may be less obvious, opportunities in those publications that are not primary targets for the ongoing campaign.

Some editorial calendars have all of the pertinent information one would need to pitch the editor while most have just a phrase or subject and require more intensive follow up with the publication to assess the opportunity. Even if an opportunity seems as though it would be appropriate for your company, it’s important to gather information about the nature of the opportunity – is it a case study? A bylined article? A Q&A? A product review? A ‘bake-off’? – and whether your company has the resources to participate in the article if the editor is interested. If resources are tight, you should be able to turn to your media relations agency to develop content on your behalf, mediate interviews and case studies with your customers or handle the logistics of submitting a product for review.

While certainly not a comprehensive view of all opportunities to spread your message in the marketplace, editorial calendars are another useful tool in the PR practitioner’s toolbox.

/// COMMENTS

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  • Scott

    December 06, 2007 11:29 am

    Hi guys…why don’t you email me a your blog logo per these specs and I’ll add you to the Spin Thicket scrolldown menu.

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