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Editorial Calendars Can Help Get Your Utility News Coverage

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Andy Gotlieb's picture
Editor of a specialty publication, former public relations practitioner Freelancer

I hold 34 years of experience in communications, mostly in journalism, with a decade in public relations, too.  The first 17 years were spent in print journalism, where I covered, at various...

  • Member since 2016
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  • May 3, 2022
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Many people don’t know it, but most publications have what’s called an editorial calendar.

The calendars list the planned “special sections” the outlet will print in the year ahead. The sections are typically based around a specific theme: The theory is that would-be advertisers in a particular segment of the market will be interested in having their ads placed among relevant pages of content.

For example, a special section that features articles about trends in food and dining would appeal to restaurants, supermarkets, bakeries and so on. Or a section about spring might appeal to landscaping companies, home improvement places, hardware stores and garden centers.

These sections are becoming increasingly prevalent as media outlets look for new revenue streams. Some publications, such as mine, offer special sections every week – and sometimes more than one per issue.

For electric utilities, there are two paths to consider.

Assuming you have good relationships with the various trade publication, feel free to pitch what are likely to be hyper-focused sections. You probably can legitimately offer something in nearly every section planned. You can even help set future calendars by suggesting new topics.

The path is a bit steeper with mainstream and/or more general publications because there likely are few direct fits.

So, you need to be creative.

Consumer issues are a possibility; the media is always looking to write about ways the public can save money. You can trot out your evergreen sheet of tips on how to reduce bills.

For those aforementioned spring sections, perhaps a story about how people need to take care in trimming trees and shrubs when power lines are nearby or when digging would attract interest. Again, you have evergreen materials at the ready.

You can even tie into issues that aren’t directly related to the utility. How about a safety-related story about installing exterior lights? Or a holiday story about how a fancy Christmas light display won’t run up a customer’s bill too much?

Do note that special section deadlines tend to occur weeks before they debut; that’s because they’re often printed in advance.

Therefore, make your pitches a couple of months in advance. Considering that editors often despise special sections (they often are considered fluff and a hindrance to reporting on real news) good suggestions are always welcome.

Andy Gotlieb's picture
Thank Andy for the Post!
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