The PR world requires a very specific skill: the ability to juggle and prioritize multiple projects year-round.  Within an agency setting, this skill is even more critical. From writing, pitching, partnerships and event planning, balancing these objectives for multiple clients requires a solid game plan.

This is where an editorial calendar comes into play. But first, what exactly is an editorial calendar and why do they matter? Editorial calendars are yearly schedules created by most print publications to identify themes and internal deadlines for each issue. They are often published in an outlet’s media kit around December or January each year.

Savvy PR professionals can utilize these calendars as a roadmap for generating coverage. Lou Hammond Group’s publicists find success in using these editorial calendars to create internal content schedules that guide our yearly plans for each client.

See below for a few of our tips for taking advantage of editorial calendars and using them to create a successful PR strategy.



Identify Themes

Once you’ve researched a few editorial calendars from major publications, you may notice quite a bit of overlap in themes, which are often tied to holidays, seasons or special events. This is great intel to see what the editorial coverage of your target publications will include. For example, odds are the November/December issue will somehow revolve around the holidays and the summer issue will focus on the outdoors. It is important to keep these themes in mind as you strategize your content in advance for the year and determine how to fit your client within the presented topics.


Track Deadlines

Editorial calendars typically include deadlines for buying advertising space in a specific issue, not for when to submit your pitches. While our lives would be much easier if they did, the deadlines they do provide can still be helpful. Keep in mind that when in doubt, sooner is better. Many print magazines finalize their content one to two months prior to the advertising deadline. So, if the summer issue’s ad deadline is in April, submit your print coverage pitch in February or March. Digital platforms do not involve such long lead times, so there is more flexibility with this coverage.



Establish Your Own Pitch Plan

So, you’ve noted the deadlines for your target publications and understand what their coverage will include for the upcoming year – now what? Create your own calendar focusing on your pitch topics. Each client’s calendar should offer a guideline for two objectives: what you are pitching and who you are pitching to. Your pitch calendar should be specific to the client, but work within the timeframe of the editorial calendars you pulled.


Identify Types of Content

Your internal pitching calendars will include two major types of content: evergreen and timely/seasonal. Evergreen topics include content that can be used any time of year. For example, if you work with a destination client with great outdoor offerings, you could pitch hiking in the destination for each season: fall leaf peeping, spring blooms, summer adventure and winter hikes. Timely/seasonal content, on the other hand, is tied to a specific date and cannot be used year-round. This can be a special anniversary, annual occurrence or holiday event. You can take your editorial calendars a step further by researching all yearly holidays, including some of the more niche ones, like National Hiking Day. If you work with a restaurant client, food holidays are great hooks for promoting a menu item.



The Result

By creating a comprehensive, yearly game plan for your media outreach, you can efficiently navigate proactive pitching, editorial pitching and consequently, reactive pitching. By setting internal deadlines, you can more efficiently plan for needed images, quotes and assets.

It is also important to remember that while all plans have the best intentions, you must be flexible. Deadlines change, themes can shift, and priorities can be altered, especially with news media. However, by having a solid game plan in place, you have the necessary framework to navigate the unexpected changes that pop up along the way.

Happy pitching!