When thinking about landing publicity, it should not be a “one and done” approach for your business. In order to be successful, it’s important to plan an annual calendar for pitching the media and have an actual strategy in place. Media exposure is a game-changer for a business. Not only does it give you massive visibility, it also positions you as the expert in your industry. Understanding what happens in the media throughout the year will help you lay this out and allow you to have better opportunity for success when pitching the media.
Before we dive in on the seasons, it’s important to understand lead times when sending in story ideas. National publications are closed at least four months in advance. That means that in January you are pitching stories for May or June editions. Also, if you are trying to land your product in a holiday gift guide, that needs to be submitted in June. Regional publications are two months out. Newspapers and television are two weeks out for lifestyle segments and of course a few days for breaking news.
Before planning your annual media calendar, check-out a magazine’s editorial calendar to see what they will be covering during those months. This is a simple Google search [“magazine name editorial calendar”] This assures that you are pitching stories they will already be covering.
Season One: January – March
This is when the media is looking ahead. This is a great time to make predictions of the market for the year. It’s also a great time be provocative, even controversial, about your industry. If you think something is likely to happen that no one is seeing yet, now is the time to talk about it. You’ll look like a hero at the end of the year. Is there a new President being inaugurated? Will the new administration be good or bad for your industry? January is a time for resolutions, think weight loss/fitness and organization stories.
January –Trends, Predictions, Weight Loss, Organization, Resolutions, Superbowl, Inauguration
February – Valentine’s Day, President’s Day
March – St. Patrick’s Day, March Madness, The Academy Awards®, Spring Break Trips, Mardi Gras, National Nutrition Month, Easter, Passover
Season Two: April – June
There are no major holidays or big events this time of year so it’s a good time for general stories. Light or fun stories related to spring are appealing to the media now. Outdoor gardening, cooking, entertaining are good this time of year and Mother’s and Father’s Day ideas.
April – Spring Gardening, Taxes, Daylight Savings (Easter & Passover could be in April)
May – Cinco de Mayo, Kentucky Derby, Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, Prom
June – Graduation, Father’s Day, End of School, Summer Vacation, Baseball Opening Day
Season Three: July – September
This time of year is the easiest to land publicity, especially in August. Many people are on vacation. Marketing budgets are being reserved for holiday and 4th quarter. Reporters are looking for creative stories during this time. This is your opportunity to stand out before reporters get inundated in September with back-to-school. Build your relationships and pitch wisely during these months.
July – 4thof July, Summer Gadgets and Toys, Unique Family Vacation, New Laws
August – Back-to-School
September – Labor Day
Season Four: October – December
This is the busiest time of the media calendar and also the most competitive. Business media is looking for wrap-ups. What happened in your industry throughout the year? Business editors are taking stock of the market and the economy and how the year fared. If you aren’t a business-related industry think holiday season pitches. Anything from travel to cooking to gifting is good but remember this time of the year is tough to get coverage so you need to make sure you’re pitches stand out.
Did the predictions you made in Season One happen? If so, this is your time to shine.
October – Fall, Halloween, Columbus Day, World Series
November – Elections, Veteran’s Day, Thanksgiving, Gratitide
December – End of Year Wrap Up, Best Ofs, Hard News, Holiday
Plan your media calendar accordingly. Prepare a strategy and see yourself in the media throughout the year.