A pitch calendar, or editorial calendar, is the guide to follow throughout the year when pitching your company or client to the media. An editorial calendar also is a useful tool to keep your monthly newsletter or blog posts on track. Developing an editorial calendar takes some time initially and requires a bit of follow up as the year progresses.
Identify your company’s most compelling story ideas, and begin gathering the information needed for your calendar. The idea is to match up your stories with similar anticipated topics in relevant publications. Make a list of the magazines, trade publications and newspapers you wish to target. There’s often an online media kit to review. These are designed for advertising buys, but if you’re lucky, you’ll find an editorial calendar as well that lists the topics the publication plans to cover over the next year. Take a look at the topics the publication will feature on a monthly basis. In addition to monthly features, there often are on-going topics and columns that might align with your story ideas.
If you’re creating your own in-house editorial calendar to help manage blogs or newsletter themes, simply brainstorm a list of topics that help convey your organization’s key messaging and organize them by month.
Create your editorial calendar in a spreadsheet, Word document or a calendar template. At Bottom Line, the editorial calendar for our blog posts is written on a whiteboard for all to see. Information to include would be the:
- Publication name
- Publication issue date
- Pitch deadline
- Editor’s name and contact information
Once the calendar is complete, keep it visible to review on a weekly or monthly basis. Many publications have a hefty lead time. An article about veterans to appear in a November publication might need to be pitched as early as June. Ask the editor what their deadline is. It’s also helpful to do a little research about the publication and target your pitch to the editor most lined up with your topic. With a little planning up front, you’ll have a pitch calendar to work on throughout the year. Patience and persistence will help get your story published.