Editorial calendars are a vital part of a successful public relations campaign. They give PR practitioners like me a glimpse into the future, granting us some foresight as to what opportunities for coverage we may be able to leverage for our clients that year.
Gathering them for review is absolutely critical, but I think I speak for most PR practitioners when I say that they are also a total pain to obtain. They are often difficult to locate on Web sites and posted at different times of the year by each publication, thus requiring an ongoing, repeated and tedious search.
Fortunately, my ongoing effort to attain editorial calendars has also been a surprising source of enlightenment. As I reflect on my first three months working at Articulate, I am struck by how much I have learned through this basic task. Here are just a few of the lessons that I feel will serve me well in all of my future public relations endeavors that I have learned through my labor:
- Go after every opportunity: While some editorial calendars are much easier to find than others, and it is often tempting to ease up on those that seem impossible to capture, I have realized it is necessary to pursue them all because you never know what opportunities you could find for your clients.
- Pay attention to detail: Many publication’s Web sites seem to almost hide their editorial calendars, burying them deep within the site’s content. But, if you carefully sift through, paying close attention, what you are looking for can often be discovered.
- Be patient: Not every publication releases their editorial calendar at the same time but most will eventually, so patience is key.
- Be persistent: If at one point you are unable to locate the editorial calendar you are looking for, don’t give up! Check back often to see if things have changed.
- When you need help, ask for it: Sometimes, despite your best efforts, an editorial calendar simply eludes you. In this case, contact someone at the publication or enlist the help of a coworker in your search.
These lessons correspond to the work we do for our clients at Articulate. We expand our horizons, looking for creative opportunities. We are detail-oriented from the planning process through execution and measurement. Where some PR professionals could become frustrated with the learning curve for our client’s technical subject matter, we love the challenge. Finally, we embrace team structures, understanding that not one individual could achieve the success that we do as a team.
While the seemingly never-ending search for editorial calendars will likely continue to mildly frustrate me until I am able to collect them all, I am thankful for the valuable lessons that the task of their collection has afforded me and I look forward to pursuing all of the great media opportunities they have indicated for 2010!
By Bess Hammitt