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How to Create Your Own Editorial Calendar – Podcast Transcript

Speakers: Lexie Smith

Lexie Smith 

Once upon a time, circa 2020, the world ending I had already spent hours crafting what I thought was an epic 2021 editorial calendar. And I hopped on Instagram and created a quick poll asking my audience who would be interested in a free copy? Realistically, I probably should have reversed this order. But within an hour, I got the DM to ask, what is an editorial calendar, Lexi?” This prompted me to wonder if this individual was alone or represented the masses. So in another Instagram poll, I asked Do you know what an editorial calendar is and how it can help your business? The results: 70% of people said no. Or sometimes people would DM me saying they’re familiar with a content calendar as it relates to social media. But then they wondered if that was the same thing. So today for our minisode I’m going to review not only what an editorial calendar is, but also the importance of using an editorial calendar, how to use one and how to craft your own for your PR strategy. So first and foremost, let’s address what is an editorial calendar. According to Wikipedia, an editorial calendar is used by bloggers, publishers, businesses and groups to control publication of content across different media. On the publishing side, outlets tend to make this data publicly available to both attract advertisers and control publication dates to ensure regular and planned content. Public relations professionals and PR savvy entrepreneurs like my clients utilize editorial calendars to strategically pitch stories per placement. I’m now going to ask you to do a little visualizing with me. I have pulled up in front of me to shape the magazine’s 2022 editorial calendar. Also if you want you can absolutely pause me real quick and pull this up on your phone or your computer to review along with me simply go to Google and type in Shape magazine 2022 editorial calendar and it should pop up somewhere near the top. All right. So what you are seeing or what you’re not going to visualize is a page that has sections broken down by month, so be up January in February, March, April, so forth under each month. The next thing you see is the closing date and the on sale date. Closing Date is generally referring to when they are wrapping up the issue in house. So this is a deadline for advertisers and often their writers. The on sale date is when we see a given publication hit the stands. So full pause right now we are talking about print editorial calendars, okay, print like tangible remember those you hold them in your hands right. So digital editorial calendars are typically different. So make sure you understand what you are looking at. Are you looking at the print version or the digital? Okay, back to our picture. Under the dates, you will see what that specific issue is focused on. So in March of 2022 and Shape magazine, for example, I see that it is the innovation issue where they celebrate the latest advancements in wellness and honor the inspiring woman influencing change in fields like stem.

Lexie Smith 

In April, I can see they are featuring the sneaker awards and clean living highlighting the most current research and news on green, clean, sustainable living including How to Be kind to the planet. Make smart choices to protect your health, and the products with strong missions and integrity, and so forth, right? So it continues on for May, June, July, etc, etc. All right, so here’s what you’re going to do with that information, you’re going to take out your own calendar, this can be either physical, or digital. And you’re going to mark down the close date of issues that you think you could or want to pitch for. You will then want to make sure you pitch ahead of that deadline, right? No one, there’s nothing an editor can do. If you slide into their inbox the day of their print deadline, sorry, not gonna work. So give yourself at least two to three months for print. Sometimes, big issues can be up to six months, digital go for a month or two out, there are just less technicalities involved when we’re talking digital. Now you may find in this process that you’re too early, or you’re too late, based on a particular editorial team. So just take note of such so that you know pitching going forward for future issues. This is how you utilize publications, editorial calendars to create your own editorial calendar that will allow you to pitch strategically and in a timely manner. Editorial calendars can often be found in the media kit of a given outlet, which usually lives in their advertising department. Quick pro tip: go to the footer on a digital publication to find that, generally speaking, but when in doubt head of Google and you can also just email their ad department directly and request a copy. Now, let’s break down how to use other editorial calendars to make your own editorial calendar step by step right. So let’s bring this home. Step one, go online, and gather and download the editorial calendars of all of your target publications. So no, this requires you having a media list first, right? Some are going to be available directly on the website. Some will be presented as a digital downloadable PDF. Again, do not forget to know if this is a print editorial calendar, or a digital editorial calendar. Okay, so step one, gather the other outlets, editorial calendars. Step two, take note of relevant and key publication and issue dates. Step three, calculate lead times or when you should begin pitching based on those close dates. And then step four, transfer these notes in dates onto your very own editorial calendar. Again, this can be a physical calendar or digital like Google Calendar, there really are no rules here. It just needs to make sense for you and your team. The themes should inspire your different pitch ideas and topics, right. So before you go brainstorming all your pitch topics, look for the editorial calendars, and it’ll give you a great place to start. And voila, right, it really is that simple. You know, back when I was doing PR and house and UN agencies. Quick reminder, you know, prior to launching my company that PR Inc. I started my career in agencies, I then went in house and I was the director of PR and marketing I then became a VP anyways, I did PR for quite some time before I had the audacity to teach it and talk about it as much as I do now. Anywho beginning in December, November timeframe, I began to hunt down editorial calendars and I would print them out, I would highlight and mark up the heck out of them and hang them all around my desk. I thought I was so cool. It was almost a ritual in a way. Probably not very green for me. But anyways, whether you’re a publicist or an entrepreneur looking to DIY PR, this too, should be part of your annual PR strategy practice. Maybe not the printing out and crazy markup but at least the collection of the editorial calendars and creation of your own. And don’t forget that if you’re someone looking for someone to help you create and activate a PR strategy, you girls your host is a PR coach, so feel free to reach out. That’s all I got for you today for our minisode so until next time, cheers!

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