Smart PR people and self-promoters know October is the month when magazines start releasing their editorial calendars for the following year.
Editorial calendars help advertisers know which topics will be featured in which editions. They also give Publicity Hounds a leg up on the competition because you can see instantly where your story might be a good fit. And you can pitch long before the deadline.
Advertisers, by the way, typically have earlier deadlines than editorial. So make sure you know which deadlines the editorial calendar is referring to. Look for editorial calendars on the magazine’s website, under an “Advertise with Us” link or in the magazine’s Media Kit.
Ebony Magazine’s 2013 editorial calendar, for example, gives you a bird’s-eye view of the entire year. Let’s say you want publicity for your company’s tech gadget for a guy. You can see instantly that November’s edition, devoted to men, would probably be the best fit because it will feature a special section on “Tech Toys and Gadgets.” You’ll want to pitch about six months before publication date.
Other Ways to Use Editorial Calendars
When I hosted the webinar on “How to Find Your Way into Glossy Magazines” last week, I explained how editorial calendars are road maps to publicity in so many other ways:
- Some calendars include valuable information on the magazine’s demographics such as the percentage of male vs. female subscribers, and the total household income. The photo above shows that that’s exactly what you’ll find in the editorial calendar for Jacksonville magazine.
- Some calendars, like the one for Jacksonville, will even tell you the types of vacations readers prefer, or the most popular models of cars they bought. Why is this important? Because if your story idea ties into vacations or cars, you can use the information in your pitch.
- Meg Weaver, who publishes the terrific ezine “Your Wooden Horse Magazine,” which features news for the magazine industry, and an inexpensive magazines database, says even old editorial calendars are valuable. “Savvy writers can get a lot of mileage even from this ‘outdated’ information,” she says. “First of all, reading the calendar gives you great insight into the kind of topics a magazine publishes.”
- Use last year’s calendars, Weaver says, to brainstorm ideas for competitive magazines, which you can often find listed in her company’s database.
The video replay of last week’s webinar is ready, and you can access it here, along with the bonus tip sheet, “11 Ways to Prepare for a Magazine Interview.”