Confessions of an Account Exec.: 5 Steps to Pitch on Time
Bridget M. Forney | MediaBuzz
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could read an editor’s mind and know exactly what kind of content they wanted and what sources they were looking for, so that you could tailor your pitch accordingly? With an editorial calendar at your fingertips, you don’t have to be a mind reader.
An editorial calendar shows the major editorial features, sections, themes, and needs planned for forthcoming issues of a magazine, newspaper, or online outlet. Most publications provide them freely either online or through the advertising department and using them as a resource tremendously increases a PR professional’s chance of coverage and media interest.
The main goal of editorial calendars is to attract advertising (the main source of revenue for magazines) based on subjects they plan to cover. Lucky for us, it also helps to schedule pitches to media that may be related to the topics already scheduled for publishing: a tribute to the art of issuing relevant and timely information to the press. Here are a few tips for using editorial calendars to your advantage and pitching on time for once:
Step 1: Make a list of publications and online outlets you regularly reach out to, or would like to target for a specific client.
Step 2: Do a little digging. You may have to do some extensive Googling, or make a few phone calls to get the calendars you want or even find out where they are. Keep your eyes out for the “About Us” “Advertising” and “Media Kit” sections when perusing on newspaper and magazine websites.
Step 3: Organize your findings and start reviewing the calendars for opportunities that pertain to your clients.
Step 4: Research each opportunity. Know the publication you are pitching and the editor/reporter responsible for the specific feature or section before you make the pitch. One size does not fit all and if you’ve made it this far, the last thing you want to do is spoil the pitch by addressing the wrong person or using the wrong email address.
Step 5: Pitch with deadlines in mind: yours and theirs. This means paying attention to the deadlines listed on the editorial calendar for publication date and “due by” date. You should also keep in mind any appropriate lead times such as pitching up to three weeks in advance for a weekly publication, and up to three months in advance for a monthly.