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Time to Rethink Your Holiday Schedule

The winter season is upon us. Instead of dreaming of a thaw, you should be already working on warmer publicity.

Most magazines are already thinking of stories with a spring/summer angle. So you should be thinking that way, too -- if you want to beat the competition and get some coveted coverage. That means start focusing on Mother's Day, Father's Day and graduations.

Why so early? Because of many media outlets' production schedules -- most notably magazines --reporters often start working on seasonal stories 4-6 months in advance.

One way to find out when the media is working on spring stories is to contact the advertising department of the outlet and request a media kit.

This kit tells advertisers what stories or topics will be highlighted in each issue so that advertisers can submit their ads by the proper date. It's called an editorial calendar.

Editorial Calendars tell you what articles, feature stories, product reviews and other editorial content that a media outlet (publication - newspaper, magazine, web site, etc.) has scheduled to cover in the future.

Many media kits with editorial calendars are also offered online, so if you have a particular publication with a web presence, you may find what you need at their site.

Getting an article or feature written about your product may seem like a difficult and time-consuming task.

However, if you know in advance that a certain publication is going to be concentrating on your specific market or topic, reporters will be more willing to read information about your product and take phone calls from you. In fact, the reporter will probably be thankful because you have just made his job easier. Instead of him having to go look for information for his story, you will be bringing it to him.

The winter season is upon us. Instead of dreaming of a thaw, you should be already working on warmer publicity.

Most magazines are already thinking of stories with a spring/summer angle. So you should be thinking that way, too -- if you want to beat the competition and get some coveted coverage. That means start focusing on Mother's Day, Father's Day and graduations.

Why so early? Because of many media outlets' production schedules -- most notably magazines --reporters often start working on seasonal stories 4-6 months in advance.

One way to find out when the media is working on spring stories is to contact the advertising department of the outlet and request a media kit.

This kit tells advertisers what stories or topics will be highlighted in each issue so that advertisers can submit their ads by the proper date. It's called an editorial calendar.

Editorial Calendars tell you what articles, feature stories, product reviews and other editorial content that a media outlet (publication - newspaper, magazine, web site, etc.) has scheduled to cover in the future.

Many media kits with editorial calendars are also offered online, so if you have a particular publication with a web presence, you may find what you need at their site.

Getting an article or feature written about your product may seem like a difficult and time-consuming task.

However, if you know in advance that a certain publication is going to be concentrating on your specific market or topic, reporters will be more willing to read information about your product and take phone calls from you. In fact, the reporter will probably be thankful because you have just made his job easier. Instead of him having to go look for information for his story, you will be bringing it to him.

Here's the process:
1. Make a list of the publications that reach your best audiences/potential customers.
2. Enter the URL for the publication you are targeting. If the URL is not intuitive (for instance, The Wall Street Journal's URL is www.wsj.com ), use your computer's search engine to find the publication. Once you're on its home page, search for the section "About Us", "Media Kit" or, if you're lucky, "Editorial Calendar."
3. Once you've located the Editorial Calendar, scan it for entries that are a match for your market focus, product or service. Note the issue in which the story is scheduled to run, and the deadline date for submitting information and/or materials for that story.
4. If the editorial contact is not given on the Editorial Calendar, call the publication and ask to speak with someone in Editorial who can assist you in identifying the correct writer or editor to contact. If you can't reach Editorial, try asking the person who answers the phone. They sometimes know more than you expect and can be very helpful.
5. Repeat this process for each of your target publications, until you have a list of all scheduled stories for the coming year that look like they have potential for your company's involvement.
6. You may find it easier to keep track of your Editorial Opportunities list if you enter all the information into a spreadsheet, such as Excel so you can easily add, subtract, and sort opportunities as you act upon them.

Follow these tips now to gain more exposure when the warmer weather returns:

1. Create ways that your product or service can tie into spring and summer. For example, a landscaper can offer tips to get a green lawn. An organizer can show how to properly store winter clothes. A fitness coach can provide ways to get fit in a park.

2. Find reasons for gift-giving all year-round. Is your product or service something that would be a great gift for a mom, dad or grad? Find out which media outlets are doing gift guides and how you can get your product or service featured.

Here are some seasonal story ideas to get you started for the late spring/early summer:

May
-Gardening
-Mother's Day
-Spring Cleaning
-College Graduation
-Proms

June
-Summer Travel
-Father's Day
-High School Graduation
-Weddings
-Baseball
Source: Free Articles

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