Creating a media calendar will help you find story ideas because it is a ready-made list of events and dates you can build as story around. This calendar will fit into your PR plan.
A media calendar sets out all the potential stories for the year. If you go to http://www.ourcommunity.com.au/calendar/ or nationalcalendar.com.au you will find a gold mine of story ideas based around key events and days throughout the year.
A calendar will help you prepare your media story in advance – say you work as a life coach and you know at Christmas, many people are isolated and alone. You could prepare a story about how to overcome loneliness (finding new angles on this story based on your expertise). Or throughout October, it is Girl’s Night In – perhaps you work in the beauty industry or health, you could come up with a story about looking after yourself, why having ‘me’ time is vital to long-term health.
Without the calendar, you will have no idea what is coming up. Use the worksheet below to start creating your media calendar for media outlets. I use an excel spreadsheet with columns for event, date, and details … and story ideas I can leverage off these events.
Step 1: Who’s your ideal client bestie?
Step 2: Identify which media outlets are best suited to your bestie and list them in a column called “Media Outlet”, e.g. Cosmopolitan Magazine, SBS, School Newsletter. Or you could also start with column 3 “Key Dates” and complete the rest of the table based on specific marketing days such as Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Christmas, etc.
Step 3: Over the next one to two weeks, review stories running in these media and note what type of stories are making the headlines/feature stories and note this in a column “News Sources”.
Step 4: Do research on the media outlets and try to get a copy of their publishing calendar – note any key dates down in column 3 “Key dates” below. For example, Valentine’s day editorials are due by December the previous year.
Step 5: Think about what stories you could come up with for your business to tie into the media outlets editorial calendar and the type of stories that they run.
Step 6: Use online event calendars to use as leverage for your business – key dates such as Valentine’s Day, special United Nations days, World Diabetes Day, Supermarket Free Month to tap into. Add these dates into your calendar.
Step 7: I also add another column for “Type of Story’ – might be a hints or tips story or a rant or a case study.
Go forth and stand out.