An effective PR campaign is a result of a good strategic plan. That begins with creating a plan of earned and branded content, as well as deadlines, milestone events, and industry events. Planning is crucial to successful PR results and one essential element there is a PR calendar. And it’s a secret weapon of many PR agencies and PR managers.
Think of it as your content roadmap that guarantees a steady flow of media coverage, even if you don’t know yet the major news announcements. Creating it is not something flashy or creative, but very important for a strong media placement schedule. Here, in this post, you’ll discover why you need to start using a PR calendar and how it can boost earned media outcomes, track goals, and keep all the components of a PR plan aligned.
What is a PR Сalendar?
A PR calendar is a schedule or plan of your project or campaign that shows all the main parts required to pitch and assured PR or media coverage. It can also highlight them in relation to your other important marketing campaigns and business events, so you can track how your PR schedule aligns with the rest of the business plan.
An important note about a PR calendar is that it’s not just a table with dates of publication or final deadlines. It breaks down the different parts of the process and all the tasks associated with them into a handy timeline.
All the minor deadlines, tasks-related meetings and appointments, and requests for visuals from the design team and content from the executives should be there. All the tasks and activities you can think of in advance are required to put great coverage.
Why Do You Need a PR Calendar?
You probably know about and have already business calendars, content calendars, marketing calendars, and more. Why do PR calendars need to be used as well, and why should you and your company have one? Is it just to stay more organized? Yes, and no. It’s able to give you much more, that just land all your thoughts and plans to one place.
It will help you see more clearly what you are doing and when. You’ll have a quick view of where you have to concentrate in both the short and long term. This means that you can put all your time and efforts into activities that need your help and will help you to achieve your brand objectives and target the right audiences more effectively.
PR calendar will be handy in coordinating public relations with other business activities. Imagine it as the different calendars in your Google Calendar as different parts of your PR plans and marketing. They each provide you with a separate vision but by merging them, you may get the whole view. The general business calendar is the main part that everything else should be based on. The marketing calendar is the second part — how you present your main calendar to your clients or managers through things like launches and campaigns. The PR calendar can be the third part that shows what activities you’ll use to execute your PR strategy and particular campaigns.
It will assist in planning PR around holidays and events. Another way a PR calendar will make your whole team’s work better is through the capability to be prepared in advance for any seasonal holidays or events your team might want to participate in for higher reach, awareness, and a stronger image. Thousands of events and holidays could bring your business some attention with collective promotion, so make sure you look beyond your average activities. Remember to use the relevant ones though. Those important, time-sensitive activities can catch you at a bad time when you are not ready for those. So the preparation work they require mapped out in advance becomes very important.
Drawing attention to the dates that are specific to your brand (such as launches of new products, collections, or brand initiatives/anniversaries) will help you plan, align, and schedule activities to promote them. It will demonstrate to you who your targets are and how many weeks/months in advance you need to reach out to them about your forthcoming news – giving you plenty of time to start planning that perfect pitch.
It’s helpful to set up easier internal and external partners as well. When you’re partnering as much as public relations requires, you have a lot of different individuals of which you are accountable — external collaborators, like reporters and publishers, colleagues and co-workers, and freelancers collaborating with your brand. So a PR calendar will help you avoid delays, budget overrun, and more.
A PR calendar will create a steady flow of activities that is much more successful than ‘one-off’ PR hits. Constant PR effort can feel tiring but continuing to do it will keep you visible and relevant. The more activities you have, the more coverage you may acquire and share that success with your followers, clients, and media network.
How to Create a PR Calendar?
If you’re not having the awareness you planned or you’re feeling like you’ve done everything you could but your efforts are still invisible then it’s time to recreate your strategy and choose the appropriate strategies.
Once you have your plan done, it’s then a time of creating a PR calendar. Where do you get started? Here’s how to make it:
1. Choose your format
Create an Excel spreadsheet. You can also use Word or another program but many people find Excel handy to use and work well in being able to change things around and link things together more visually.
Your events, posts, and other activities will be listed in one column below each other (look at the examples at the end of the article). The months of the year will be on top of the columns from left to right.
2. Decide on your content types
Once you’ve chosen where you will fulfill your PR calendar, it’s time to begin creating your campaigns and processes inside it. One of the first steps you’ll need is to detect are the types of content you’ll need to implement and amplify your content and PR coverage.
The topics to include:
The details of what you need to put inside your PR calendar will, of course, depend on your business and you’ll need to do some research before inserting what is relevant. A successful monthly or annual plan contains quite a bit of preliminary work before you start filling in details on the calendar. Make a brain-storm with your team, research the elements. Here are some ideas to help you get started for the types of activities to think over and include:
- High-level dates to include here may be the start and end of the financial year, budget deadlines, planned product launches, the company’s anniversary, and major annual events.
- Highlight exhibitions the company plans to attend, as well as conferences and speaker opportunities. Does the company participate in a sales conference, an annual think-in, or a corporate team-building exercise? Also include that.
- Press releases: new products, services, initiatives, collaborations
- Awards deadlines
- Topic/theme focus for key publications
- Awareness days/weeks
- Annual events where relevant (for example, the budget)
- Seasonal events where they are appropriate (Easter, Halloween, New Year, Christmas, Summer, start of school, exam time)
- Events – you will be hosting or participating in
- Speaker opportunities – to pitch yourself
- Feature article placement
- Guest blogging
- Reviewing/updating materials
- Reviewing/updating website
- Newsletter – hard copy/digital version
- Monitoring competitors and news stories
- Social media posts
- Keeping in touch with key bloggers, influencers, and media contacts
By planning out your PR activities in this way you can maintain and keep in contact with others. Putting the calendar together is functioning alongside doing some research for each part – to find the right opportunities and also to find specific contacts to collaborate. Finding the right media contacts who will be interested in partnership with you, and how to get them interested, is a key part of your PR strategy. If you want to make your job easier, check out the PRNEWS.IO service.
PRNews.io is a budget-friendly service for creating content, discovering and pitching relevant journalists, distributing your content. PRNEWS.IO has years of copywriting and journalism experience in writing engaging articles, advertising posts, and professional press releases. Creating and distributing the content is their service and the team does it successfully. You can be sure to have your content written, checked, approved by you, and sent out within two days.
3. Keep moving parts organized
Finally, you need to present the calendar to your team, use and maintain it. It seems to be obvious, but checking the PR calendar when you start working each day is a new habit your should obtain.
Here are a few ways you can make a building that routine easier:
- Set color-coding guidelines to make the information easily perceived for “quick checks”.
- Block off time to update the calendar every week.
- Use the calendar in team meetings (or directly after).
PR Calendar Examples
Here are the templates for better understanding, but, of course, that one, that was crafted by you will be the perfect one.
A PR calendar will remove the traction and overwhelming feelings of juggling multiple projects in multiple steps. However, only when you use it, you can achieve your PR goals and realize your planned tasks on time to the fullest extent. If you don’t have a calendar yet, it’s time to start building and introducing it to your team now.