How to Establish a Pitching Timeline

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Different publications have different deadlines. In the PR business, these are referred to as lead times. It’s important to pay attention to lead times in order to make sure that you send out information in enough time for an editor to be able to use it.

For example, sending out a holiday- related pitch in October is simply too late for print magazines, but perfect timing for an online outlet.

Monthlies typically work anywhere from six months out for a large issues—like September or holiday issues. Daily newspapers and weekly publications typically work about a week in advance. Bloggers vary widely but can range from a few days to a week or more.

In most cases, a pitch can be used about three times, first to the print magazines, second to bloggers or monthly online publications and finally to daily publications that work on an immediate deadline.

Use Editorial Calendars Editors for major publications are bombarded constantly with hundreds of pitches daily from brands, publicists, stylists and writers all vying for their attention. Cut through the noise and effectively grab their attention by referring to the current editorial calendar.

Developed for advertisers and available in the advertising or media kit section of most major publication websites, this document will detail when the magazine is planning to write about certain stories or publishing a themed issue. Most often, editors only have time to write about or consider pitches that are relevant to this calendar, so make editorial calendar pitching your top priority.

Respect Editor Deadlines There is no quicker way to burn a bridge with a media professional than by forcing them to miss a deadline. If you don’t think you will be able to turn something around quickly make sure you inform the editor right away. It is much better to let them know you aren’t able to work with them on this particular request, than to let the request sit while your media contact is waiting for an answer. Leave an editor in a lurch and you will likely never hear from them again.

Also, if you are collecting information or are in the process of answering interview questions, send the reporter a brief email that lets them know you have received the request and when they can expect your response, and then meet that deadline.

When it comes to product requests, more than likely the call will come in toward the end of the day with the request to have the product as soon as soon as possible. This usually means that you will need to overnight the product or samples. Make sure you have enough inventory, business cards. and gas to make a last-minute dash to UPS.

Ready to get pitching? Here are some free templates to help you out!

Want free templates and helpful tips like the ones above plus more? Check out The Buzz: A Media Darling’s Guide to Press Coverage and get on the wait list for Hearsay’s soon-to-be-launched PR mastermind group.