Plan Your Pitch With Editorial Calendars

If you have any magazines on your list of media contacts, you want to get a copy of the editorial calendars. Most magazines develop these calendars to let writers and advertisers know what topics they plan to focus on in each issue. Get a copy of an editorial calendar for each publication so that you can find out when they will feature a theme relevant to the public education campaign, such as health, workplace issues or stress management.

Here are some things to know about editorial calendars:

  • Most cities or regions have their own local magazines about families, parenting or women. Many of these publications have their calendars on their Web sites as information for advertisers. If you don’t see a calendar on a magazine’s Web site, call the publications’s office and request one be sent to you.
  • Editorial calendars for the upcoming year are usually released in the fall. So look for 2009 calendars to appear within the next month or two.
  • Remember that magazines have very long lead times, sometimes three or four months in advance. Calendars often list a deadline for submissions. If not, contact the magazine and find out. If the magazine is focusing on family health in February, you’ll need to think about a submission in October or November.
  • You still need to know the rest of the publication. Even if the theme matches up with a PEC topic, it’s important that you suggest an article that works with the framework of the magazine. Do they only use free-lance writers? If so, they may want you to write a full article. Would someone on staff write the story? Then you may only need to give a press release or pitch. Do they have advice columns or run just a quick list of tips?
  • Remember to use the templates in your PEC toolkit. These templates can be used at any time, which is helpful when you are submitting story ideas months in advance. Just update the material with the most recent figures from the Stress in America survey. If you need any help, contact Practice PR.

Here are some sample editorial calendars from magazines in various regions

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