Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Understanding media lead times

With our in-the-now mentality, it can be difficult to think a season ahead. But that's exactly what's necessary to successfully pitch media outlets with long lead times.

Lead times vary with how frequently a media outlet publishes an issue or runs a particular segment. Here's a quick guide:
  • Magazines:  Lead times are most important to consider when pitching magazines. Depending on the publication, lead times can vary from two to five months or more. If you're unsure about which issue the editorial staff is currently working on, feel free to contact them. They will provide you insight into how far ahead you should be in touch.
  • TV and Radio:  In general, broadcast outlets plan their coverage first thing every morning as well as provide updates throughout the day. After all, who knows when a fire or some other breaking news event is going to happen? If you're pitching an event, it works out best to send a media advisory a couple of weeks before the event and then again the day before the event. That way the media outlet at least will have the information to consider for coverage.
  • Newspapers:  Slightly similar to TV and radio, newspapers cover the news of the day. For regular features like business briefs, event calendars, etc., expect your item to take a few weeks to run. The best approach is to look at the particular section you want to pitch and see if there is information about how far in advance information needs to be sent for publication.
With some planning, you can successfully get your information into the media's hands at the right time.
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