How and why to create an editorial calendar

Successful PR starts with strategically scheduling content in advance around target publications’ schedules, key dates and industry events.

An editorial calendar is fundamental to any successful PR campaign.

Editorial calendars might not stir the emotions or elicit rapturous applause, but they are essential for securing coveted print, digital and broadcast coverage. The trick today is this: How do you plan in such a fractured media landscape?

Here are some quick tips to get you started:

Review your target publications’ editorial calendars.

If you want to work with your target publications, secure an interview with a reporter covering your niche or land a spot in that September issue, then look into news outlets’ editorial calendars.

Most reputable publications have a media kit, which should have an editorial calendar that outlines the closing date, issue theme and publication date for each issue. Use this as a guide as you craft your own content strategy.

Research important dates, holidays and happenings in your industry.

Does your restaurant celebrate Cinco de Mayo? Would you like to spotlight the leadership team at your woman-owned business?

Plan content around relevant dates that you can tie to social media content and public relations initiatives. Planning many months in advance prevents last-minute scrambling and helps you to piggyback larger events.

Make a list of where you want to be seen and heard.

Is your goal to become a go-to expert in your field? Is there a preeminent industry blog you’d like to contribute to?

List the sources and sites where you want to join the conversation. Contributing content on industry-centric blogs and reputable media outlets can enhance credibility and build your brand, but it won’t happen out of the blue. The first step is to sketch out a strategic timeline on your editorial calendar of which pitch you’ll send to whom.

Build a 12-month calendar.

Once you’ve gathered your research, it’s time to organize it all into an editorial calendar.

Take the leads from the publications you researched; the dates, trends and industry events you documented; the online hubs where you want your voice to be heard, and set up a yearlong calendar. Keep it handy, and delegate who is responsible for what. If you need a template, you can find plenty for free.

To maximize effectiveness, include the lead time of each publication. (Monthly publications often work three to six months in advance.) Include your own internal deadlines and planning to keep everyone on the same page.

Shannon Furey is M/Studio’s public relations director. A version of this post first appeared on the M/Studio blog.

Topics: PR

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