PR Tip #3: Feeding the Edit Cal

A quick show of hands: Who knows what an Editorial Calendar is?

Thought so.  Nearly every magazine and many business newspapers produce an editorial calendar each year, targeting subjects that they will cover generally in any given week or month for the entire year— from regularly scheduled standing features and shorter stories to columns and other editorial content.  Plus many, like the weekly Business Journals that are in many major cities, also feature a Special Focus section each week in which stories are assigned on the pre-selected topics.  These can range from banking to health care to Human Resources to technology to green companies to minority-owned businesses to you name it.

The calendars are generally available as early as November and sometimes earlier in any current year. So, for example, for those reading this over the clang, sprits and gossip of your local coffee hang and having a hard time following my direction here, if you wanted to start planning for 2011 coverage, you could start it well before the new year rolls around.

These “edit cals,” as many of us call them in our breathless PR-speak (BPRS), present any company or PR practitioner a precise road map to follow. Follow it.  Editors are always in search of companies to profile, experts to quote, or ideas to share about the many topics listed in the edit cal for any week or month. Pitching your story or expert two-to-four months in advance is recommended (although some magazines have lead times as long as six months or more!).

Most publications will post their edit cals online. But sometimes the myopic minions who post these magnificently helpful tools (MMWPTMHT) will place them NOT in or under any editorial section online, but in the Advertising section.  Maybe they like to make a “Where’s Waldo?” sport of it, Where’s That Edit Cal?! Other publications will solicit your email address for you to obtain it. Go ahead, give it to them. You need the calendar more than you don’t want the aggravation of having your email sucked up by another online entity and having it bought and sold like so much college student information.

Edit Cals can be of great value as you execute your public relations line of duty.  It is the print world’s way of saying, as the monster plant in “Little Shop of Horrors” says over and over again,” “FEED ME” (I prefer the 1960 Roger Corman-directed black-and-white movie version, featuring a very young Jack Nicholson as the masochist), if you’re  following me here…

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