in: Public Relations
by: Sabina Hitchen
An editorial calendar can give you inside scoop into what a magazine will be working on in the next year and how you and your brand can be part of their story. Here is how you can use an editorial calendar to pitch your product or story, starting with the basics:
An Editorial Calendar, "ed cal" for short, shows the major editorial features that are planned for upcoming magazine issues, newspaper issues, and websites. They are used by marketing professionals to decide which issues to place their advertisements in, and PR professionals & businesses to increase their chances of coverage by pitching products/stories/experts/tips/themselves to opportunities they could fit into.
Because of the transient nature of editorial staff members, the best way to determine which editor to pitch to is to go by the category (beauty, fashion, accessories, health & wellness, etc.) that you or your business best fit into. For instance, if you sell organic granola bars, you will need a food editor. Lipstick? The beauty editor. Before pitching a magazine:
- Be sure you are familiar with it
- Have read at least two recent issues
- Are using the masthead in the first pages to determine which editor to contact.
If you cannot determine which media contact to share your information with, call the outlet's main phone number and ask for an editorial assistant. They will be able to direct you to the best editor to share your story with.
After you review editorial calendar opportunities, you can decide which stories or topics you can offer your services or products for, or which months you could offer tips, advice, or statistical information. Using your pitching skills, employ the 3 Pitching P's ™ (persistent, patient, and polite) and contact your target editor or the editorial assistant. Politely share your pitch, being sure to mention that you would love to have them review it for the specific editorial opportunity you are focusing on. Be sure to ask them for more information about this opportunity if you don't have the specifics, and also get their email address so you can send them all the information they need instead of using their time on the phone.
When sending your editorial calendar opportunity pitch, it's a good idea to mention trends, research and other developments that may be relevant to the editor's story that you can provide, or how your product/expertise fits into this category.
Finally, if you are a Tin Shingle member, be sure you track your pitch using the guidelines we have provided in the "Media & Pitch Tracking Template" Tin Shingle has created for you.
If you have a story idea you want to pitch, and an editorial calendar opportunity you think you are a good match for, DON'T WASTE TIME. Call the outlet or contact immediately. Explain how your story relates to the editorial calendar item. Be prepared to send in a press kit or facts/images and story outline ASAP. You must recognize that the Issue Copy Deadline is the date when the magazine closes the story and goes to print, so contacting them in advance is the ticket to your success. As always, the early birds get the worms, and there are several birds across the country hoping for the same worm as you are.
GAIN LISTS OF EDITORIAL CALENDARS:
Through this website, via membership with us at Tin Shingle, we do offer media contact information to a plethora of media contacts, and can pull from sources that are specific to your industry. We have organized them by media outlet and by what category they fit into. For instance, if you are looking for a Food editor at The New York Times, you can run a search and come away with a few names to pitch to. We also offer editorial calendars, and several other PR-related benefits, including PR Leads and our more. If you haven't "Gone Tin Shingle" yet and want to know more about how we can help you and your brand, click here.