Summer officially kicks off on Friday, but here at Paws PR, we’ve been spending a lot of time talking about November and December. Why? Because our clients want to see their products featured in holiday gift guides in newspapers, magazines, and online. We understand that if we want our clients’ products to be featured, the time to pitch the media is now!
There are two types of media: long lead and short lead. Long lead media, such as print magazines, actually have their issues ready to print 3 months before they are issued. Furthermore, magazines typically hit newsstands the month before their issue month, meaning that the December issue is available to readers in November. This is why if you want to pitch a story for the holiday season, you must get it to the editors by their print deadline, 4 to 5 months in advance. Right now, the editors at national magazines are working on their Nov/Dec issues, and many have Holiday Gift Guides that we want our clients’ products featured in.
The online components of print magazines, however, are short lead. Other short lead media include local and regional TV, radio, daily and weekly newspapers, and anything online. Unlike long lead media that needs to be pitched months in advance, short lead media can be pitched anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks beforehand for a planned feature. Some blogs and online components of media outlets will run stories up to the minute, because in a 24 hour news cycle they need to keep content fresh.
In order to not miss those long and short lead deadlines, we suggest you lay out all of your seasonal stories in advance, using an editorial calendar that looks similar this one:
- July – Pitch national magazine Holiday Gift Guides for the November issues of magazines.
- October – Start reaching out to short lead media such as local newspapers who do holiday gift guides. You can pitch gift ideas right up until the week before Christmas for all those “last minute holiday gifts!”
- October – Pitch long lead media for Valentine’s Day themed items.
- November – Start pitching long lead media for your spring line.
- Next May – Pitch to promote for Halloween.
Meeting media deadlines doesn’t have to be difficult as long as you know how to strategically plan ahead!