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Henry Stimpson’s PR and Marketing Tips
December 2004

‘Tis the Season – for Editorial Calendars

It’s the time of year when magazines release their 2005 editorial calendars. By reading editorial calendars, you can get an idea of who’s going to cover what, when, and get a leg up your PR planning. Some guidelines:

Figure out how seriously the magazine takes its calendar. At some publications, editorial calendars are sacrosanct. They really determine what the publication will cover in that issue. Others put out calendars as very rough guides. The latter aren’t quite as useful to PR people. It can be hard to tell which publication falls into which category, but the level of detail is a hint. Generally, the more detailed the calendar, the more seriously the editors take it.

How long a lead time? Some monthlies look for article proposals six months ahead of the issue date. Some weekly publications work on focus issues as little as seven to 10 days ahead. Most editorial calendars have a closing date for advertisements or materials, and this will give you a rough idea how far in advance you should contact the publication. It’s best to err on the side of caution. If you’re too early, ask the editor when you should come back.

What are they looking for? At many publications, editors look for both contributed articles by outside experts and for experts their staff or freelance writers can interview. But some publications only want one or the other. When you’re contacting the editor, find out whether he or she is looking for byliners, sources, or both and offer to help any way you can.

Put it in the tickler file. Put follow-up reminders on editorial-calendar items in a computer program, such as ACT!, that will automatically alert you at the appropriate time.

Our best wishes for a happy Holiday Season and a prosperous 2005!

copyright Stimpson Communications


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