October 31, 2014

The Secret Weapon for Getting More Publicity

Editorial calendarWouldn’t it be helpful to know what topics publications would be covering throughout the year, so you could offer story ideas that would tie into those topics? The goal, of course, would be to get publicity for you or your business.

You may not realize it, but this information is readily available in many cases, in the form of a media outlet’s Editorial Calendar.

Approximately 7,000 publications in the U.S. and Canada publish Editorial Calendars, according to Eric Hill, Executive Vice President of sales and marketing for MyEdcals. New and small magazines often don’t have editorial calendars.

Editorial Calendars list topics and special editorial coverage to be included in each issue.

Typically, Editorial Calendars can be found in advertising sales kits.  The calendar topics are included so advertisers can tie their ads into topics covered in the publication. You can sometimes find an Editorial Calendar in the advertising section at the publication’s website. If you can’t find it there, contact the publication’s marketing/sales department and ask them to send it to you.

How to Use Editorial Calendars to Gain Publicity

Savvy small business owners will find Editorial Calendars extremely useful when pitching story ideas, so you can tie your story ideas into those topics.

Here are some tips to make the most of your story pitching:

  • Research the publication. Understand the publication’s focus and how your product or service might fit in. If you can tie a pending editorial calendar opportunity together with a story idea, you will have a far greater chance of receiving coverage.
  • Make sure that the Editorial Calendar topics are still relevant. “More than 50% of publications with Editorial Calendars will change those calendars throughout the year,” notes Hill.  So confirm topics by checking with the advertising department or using the free trial of the MyEdcals service.
  • Offer story ideas with enough lead time. The lead time for publications varies, and can be as much as six months or more.  If you’re not sure of the lead time, assume three to six months.

Example of Creating a Story Angle Using an Editorial Calendar Topic

Here’s an example of how this might work. Let’s say you look at Entrepreneur Magazine’s Editorial Calendar and see that in October, 2009, there will be a feature on Serial Entrepreneurs.

Since you have started up several businesses, you would be considered a serial entrepreneur, and can offer advice to others.

You confirm that this topic is still relevant, and also find out that the lead time of the publication is 3-6 months.

You pitch a story that ties in your experience with advice on weathering the current economic climate and ultimately get editorial coverage.  Success!

So remember – you can increase your chances of getting media coverage by utilizing Editorial Calendars.  It takes a bit of work, but the results are worth it!

* * * * *

Margie Zable FisherAbout the Author: Margie Zable Fisher is the President of Zable Fisher Public Relations, a small business public relations firm, and is the founder of the WBO American Dream Program. She offers free award-winning Public Relations tips at www.zfpr.com.

25 Comments ▼

Margie Zable Fisher


Margie Zable Fisher Margie Zable Fisher is the President of Zable Fisher Public Relations, helping small businesses connect with clients and potential clients online and offline through Public Relations, Social Media and Marketing. She offers free, award-winning tips at Zable Fisher Public Relations.

25 Reactions

  1. Margie, It’s interesting that you should write about this. I get asked about our editorial calendar every now and then. And I’ve thought about creating one — or at least a loose version of one for special events. But I’m always afraid it is going to ham-string us too much, as we like to address timely articles, too.

    Anita

  2. Anita, what does ham-string means? Why this editorial calendar publicity will lead you to that?

  3. Margie Zable Fisher:

    That’s an interesting way of using an editorial calendar. Do you think I will get a call from a sales rep. trying to sell me an ad later on?! ;) I have talked to sales people who “almost” had promised a write-up article and coverage of our business, if we placed an ad with their paper.

  4. Marketing will become the area that will make the difference between success and mediocrity, no matter what field you are in. The definition of marketing is simply the process of telling other people what you do so that they have an opportunity to do business with you.

    It used to be that you only marketed for your business when times were slow. Small businesses, both online and off, would wait until they had very little business and then employ marketing techniques to attract more prospects and clients.

    Those days are long gone. Now it is best to make this a part of your daily work schedule and to learn as much as possible about online techniques and methods.

    There are so many ways to let people know who you are and what you do. Article marketing is one of the best, but it takes some time to start working. You write a three hundred word article that discusses an aspect of your business. Submit that article to the free directories and it will circulate all over the internet.

    Internet radio is another good way to use online marketing. Have someone interview you for thirty minutes to give you a chance to tell the world about your business. That recording can then be sent out as a podcast or given out as a link on your blog or website. This is a completely free service.

    http://www.clickandinc.com/

  5. Hi Margie, what a smack in the head your article is for me! Formerly a marketing/sales art director for a major publishing house, I regularly created sell sheets, the most popular of which were the editorial calendars for a variety of publications. To actually *use* the edit calendars for my personal business gain, well until this morning I hadn’t taken that leap. Thanks for flipping that switch for me!

  6. Interesting thought. I didn’t know anything about editorial calenders and now will have to give it some consideration. Thank you for helping us think out of the box. :)

  7. This is an insightful post and I’ve learned a thing or two here. Smart, smart, smart! Thanks for sharing this. You’ve given me something to think about . . .

  8. Margie, the way I understand it your pitch will be published after 3-6 months? Did I get it right?

    If YES: Isn’t that too long to wait for your pitch or your company or you, gets the publicity that these editorial calendars can offer?

  9. This is an excellent idea and I, too, want to thank you for sharing this with us. I like your suggestion of making sure the piece is still relevant. It doesn’t surprise me that more than 50% of the calendars will change throughout the year. One never knows what will crop up next, therefore, its best to “stay loose” about it and do your homework first. I imagine the extra effort is worth it. Who would’ve ever thought the information in an advertising kit could be so valuable?

  10. Hi Margie
    I love using media kits and editorial calendars to plan various marketing strategies and to also just use them as a finger on the pulse of what trendwatching editors are thinking about. For many years, we trusted top editors and journalists to keep a watch on the trends. In some industries, that will still be true.

    Over at the NFIB post Anita made yesterday, Barkri posted a good focused list for writing/blogging/marketing purposes:
    http://smallbiztrends.com/2009/04/small-business-optimism-is-down-but-sharp-upturn-expected.html#comment-657736

  11. It sounds like this would require a lot of time and research. However, if done right I’m sure that the benefits outweigh any amount of hard work done before hand. This is definitely something I would not have come up with on my own. Good job. This is exactly the reason why I read blogs like this. You never know what interesting ideas you can come across.

  12. I guess the question that I’ve had come up from small biz clients, Margie, is this:

    “So, I’ve published, I’ve been quoted, but I’ve not been able to prove an increase in sales to any of it.”

    I had a successful small biz owner turn me down for helping her guest post and publish with almost exactly that sentiment. And in response I can honestly say that I have received new business inquiries from such efforts, but most of the time I have not. Do I do it only for the direct sale, no. Do I expect such efforts to help me succeed (which does equal new revenue and sales, for sure!), yes I do.

    As Don noted — it is a lot of research and work. The question is how to make it lead to sales or enough of a brand impact that you see more web traffic or community participation or new subscribers. How do you prove or demonstrate these sorts of things for clients now?

  13. The biggest issue for me would be the 50% of changes in the editorial calendar during the year – that would be a time waster trying to chase down the changed content/topic. Still a good idea because I think you could really use it to differentiate yourself from your competition – if you can get your message out at the right time and in the right way. Thanks Margie!

  14. Looks like a useful product but I’m not sure it something small business use. Minimum price for edcals and media contacts is 1,999 annually. Sticker shock on my end. Would have liked to be able to do a free search on edcals to see what it turns up.

  15. I recently put together some Editorial Calendars for 2010 (these are available online – just take time to find them). They are part of my new program, 29 Minutes to Publicity. You can get more info at http://zfpr.com/29minutes.htm.

  16. TJ –

    Just catching up on my comments – now that I’ve cleaned up my inbox :)

    You asked:

    I guess the question that I’ve had come up from small biz clients, Margie, is this:

    “So, I’ve published, I’ve been quoted, but I’ve not been able to prove an increase in sales to any of it.”

    I had a successful small biz owner turn me down for helping her guest post and publish with almost exactly that sentiment. And in response I can honestly say that I have received new business inquiries from such efforts, but most of the time I have not. Do I do it only for the direct sale, no. Do I expect such efforts to help me succeed (which does equal new revenue and sales, for sure!), yes I do.

    As Don noted — it is a lot of research and work. The question is how to make it lead to sales or enough of a brand impact that you see more web traffic or community participation or new subscribers. How do you prove or demonstrate these sorts of things for clients now?

    My answer:

    Publicity and P.R. can lead to short-term and long-term sales. For instance, a guest post that I write for Small Business Trends or being quoted as a P.R. expert in the media can lead to someone going to my Website and purchasing a DIY PR product – an immediate sale.

    In the long-term, someone might read about me, and decide to sign up for my newsletter, or follow me on Twitter. Eventually that person might buy something from me.

    Finally, the credibility gained from exposure on reputable blogs and Websites, as well as the media, can be useful in many ways, and can ultimately lead to sales, writing and speaking gigs.

    Does that answer your question?

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