Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Making the Pitch with Editorial Calendars

Following on from yesterday's post on how to find editorial calendars, here's some advice on how to make use of them.

Which magazine should you pitch to?
The short answer to that is as many as possible. By working with several editorial calendars simultaneously you should be able to plan your year so that you are pitching ideas every month. Let’s say you have researched a subject for magazine A, knowing that magazine B is going to have a similar theme a month or two later means you can use your research twice. But do make sure the two articles tackle the subject from differing angles.

Articles that you have already had published can be reworked to suit new markets. For example, if you’d had an article published on celebrating St Patrick’s Day in New York’s Irish pubs, you might find two or three magazines that intend to use St Patrick’s Day as the theme for their March issues.

Clearly you cannot submit the previously published article, but you could use the information from it to make two new pieces. One could be on how and why Irish pubs have appeared all over the world, from PĂ©rigueux in France, to Cape Town in South Africa (both places do, in fact, have Irish pubs). The other could be on Irish traditions and how important they are to the expatriate Irish.

• Editorial calendars will tell you which magazines to approach with the ideas and which month’s (or week’s) issues to target

• Other information in the media pack will assist you in deciding how to deal with the topic

Finding New Markets
Searching for editorial calendars online can lead to many new markets. If you type ‘Editorial Calendars’ into a search engine, literally thousands of pages come up. Of course, most of these will not be of any use to the average freelance writer, but if you refine your search to include your particular areas of expertise and/or interests, then the search becomes much more interesting.

I write, amongst other things, travel features. Using Yahoo’s search engine and putting in ‘Editorial Calendar’ returned a total of 1,470,000 pages. When I refined the search by using quote marks “Editorial Calendar” and adding ‘travel’ (outside the quote marks) this brought the number down to 2,510 –much more accessible.

But I decided to refine the search still more by adding countries that I feel confident I can write about. ‘“Editorial Calendar” travel France’ produced 341 pages, substituting ‘Spain’ 248, ‘South Africa’ 91 and ‘Canada’ 491. From this list I may only find four or five calendars I can use, but the initial research took less than fifteen minutes and I found magazines I hadn’t known existed.

More advice on how to make the most of editorial calendars will appear tomorrow.

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