In this post, I am going to show you the exact steps on how to build a calendar for your PR campaign this year.
In fact, this is the template we use at Grow Public Relations to plan our clients’ campaigns.
But before we begin, it is essential to understand the type of PR angle(s) suitable for your business/brand.
Important (read first, if you haven’t): 6 PR Angles You Can Use to Attract the Media
Once you have taken the time to put up all the story angles that are relevant for your brand, what you need to do now is to work on an execution plan — how can you make sure that these stories are well-executed.
So, how do we get our clients featured in top-tier media channels, both locally and globally?
Well, PR is often about timing.
If it fits into a news agenda, then you have a higher chance of getting a coverage.
And even though this sounds like a game of luck, what you want to do is to create a structure that will improve your chances of getting noticed — by understanding relevant angles the media is looking for and by utilizing a PR calendar, you will skyrocket your chances.
The words in blue are an example to give you an idea of the possible stories that can fit into a calendar structure for you to pitch.
Grab our free PR calendar template (above) and fill in your own.
What is a PR Calendar
A PR (Public Relations) Calendar is a strategic planning tool used in public relations to schedule and organize all PR activities for the year. It outlines the key dates, events, press releases, content, campaigns, and other PR activities that a company plans to undertake.
The calendar is typically structured on a monthly, quarterly, or yearly basis, depending on the organization’s needs. It includes important details such as the type of activity, target audience, key message, responsible team or individual, and expected outcome.
Why You Need a PR Calendar
There are 3 reasons why you need to do up a PR calendar before you try to do anything else to get yourself featured:
- It gives you a system to pitch to the media and/or key opinion leaders
If you think that by brainstorming a few key angles for your business, then writing a press release and pitching to the media in a day will get you featured, then you are going to be sorely disappointed.
(You may get lucky of course but we are not playing the ‘game of luck’ here.)
That is not a sustainable system to get continuous media features.
- Opportunity maximization
By outlining all activities for the year, the PR Calendar helps identify opportunities for news stories, press releases, or events that can be leveraged to generate media coverage.
- Strategic planning
A PR calendar allows you to plan your PR activities in line with your strategic objectives. This also ensures that every PR action you take will properly contribute to your overall business goal.
In essence, the calendar will ensure that your stories are told in a timely, coordinated, and strategic manner.
4 Things to Note When Creating Your PR Calendar
1. Look for a special day/date that is relevant to your business
This is especially effective when your business is very product-led.
For example, if you are selling mooncakes, the most relevant date would obviously be the Mid-Autumn Festival.
2. Be agile
National conversation topics can arise at any point in time and your calendar should be fluid.
Change is the constant. Understand that it is okay to adapt to the situation if an impromptu event unfolds.
3. Media drops/experience(s) need to happen a month or two before the actual festive occasion
Festive seasons are very competitive because the media will be receiving tons of information and pitches from different brands. This is why you want to be early, especially if you are a B2C brand. In this scenario, the early bird will most likely catch the worm.
4. Story pitches on a topic must be pushed out a month before a special event
For example, during International Women’s Month in March, we will start pushing out stories at the beginning of February or even in January, to be safe.
How to Create a PR Calendar (Step-by-step)
Step 1: Identify your PR angles
I can’t stress enough the importance of doing up your PR angles first. If your angles are strong, half the battle is won.
If you haven’t gone through my “PR angles” guide, you read it here.
Step 2: Identify the type of media channels you are going to pitch to
These are going to be channels with audiences that are relevant to your business.
If you are in the F&B industry, it wouldn’t make sense to pitch to a tech journalist.
Knowing what publications your customers read and then pitching to the relevant publication will increase your chances of getting featured.
Don’t shoot blindly. Be specific. Aim like a sniper.
Step 3: Put all your angle ideas into the PR calendar template
Once you have your PR angles sorted out, copy and paste them into the PR calendar template (which you can download as a bonus mentioned above).
Your calendar should look something like this once it is done.
Step 4: Prioritize which stories should be worked on based on event dates
Do note that while it is important to have a list of what to do first, news and trends that relate to your business may occur at any point in time so it is good to be flexible and be opportunistic when this happens.
Step 5: Start working on your press release(s)
Once you’ve worked out your PR calendar, you will want to either:
- Allocate the writer for your pitch, or write it yourself
- Decide on the date of pitching
(Optional) If you want an extra pair of eyes (professional ones!) to go through your angles and pitch, feel free to contact me. Just drop me an email at [email protected] for a quick chat!
Now it is Time to Plan
Following my step-by-step instructions in this post, you can plan out a one-year PR calendar in one day.
First, download your free PR Calendar template here.
This is the template we use as part of our execution strategy in the PR campaigns we do for our clients.
Remember, pitching to the media is oftentimes an arduous process requiring multiple attempts. One-hit wonders are rare.
It takes persistence, strategy, and a well-crafted message to capture the attention of journalists and land meaningful coverage. Building relationships, refining your pitch, and adapting to feedback are key elements in this ongoing journey.
Keep pushing forward, and eventually, you will find yourself landing your first media coverage.