Wouldn'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.\u00a0 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.\u00a0 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.\u00a0 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.\u00a0 Success! So remember - you can increase your chances of getting media coverage by utilizing Editorial Calendars.\u00a0 It takes a bit of work, but the results are worth it! * * * * * About 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.