How to Create a Press Release Calendar
The most important thing about publicity for your business is to keep in the public’s eye on a regular basis. If you are just starting out, this will help you extend the reach of your brand so that people know you actually exist and can, therefore, do business with you. As your business matures, your press releases will be related to new products, services, milestones, awards, and so on. The important thing is that they are real news, not just a thinly-disguised sales letter.
Many businesses use press release distribution services so they can send out one press release and contact thousands of media representatives. There are both free and paid services. The paid services will often offer bulk pricing, so the more releases you send out, the cheaper each one will be.
To make the most of this opportunity, however, you need an editorial calendar.
Creating your press release calendar
A paper calendar, such as a PDF printable, and a pencil can help you get started. On the calendar, mark any important dates you already know are coming up, such as a new product launch, your Christmas sales push, and so on.
Once you have marked those out, look at gaps in the calendar where you have no special dates.
Plan to issue a press release at least once a month in order to stay in the public eye. These releases might relate to a product launch, a new service being added, or a live event you are planning, such as a webinar or a live video stream. These are all part of running a successful business online, so chances are you will not really be “manufacturing” news in order to find material for your press releases.
Sometimes you really will have breaking news, such as an award, event or milestone. The more newsworthy the item is, the more it deserves a press release and a spot on your calendar. You can’t always predict these events, of course, but by having regular slots organized, you can ensure that you remain in the public eye.
Who will write the press release?
If you are a small business owner, chances are it will be you. If you have more than one staff member, assign the releases as needed.
Decide on distribution
When organizing your calendar, also make notes about what distribution services you will be using. If your budget is tight, you might only be able to use free services. But if a service is offering a good package deal, it might be worth considering. The paid services will always give you more visibility than free ones.
When you are first starting out, you might wish to try several services to see which one gives you the most “bang for your buck” in terms of time and effort. Over time, you will probably find you prefer one service and interface over another, as well. Each will have certain rules, such as how long it takes from the time you upload the release to the time it is reviewed by their staff at the distribution service and then published in the system.
If you have anything very time sensitive, be sure to mark it off on your calendar to be published several days or a couple of weeks before.
For example, if you are hosting a live event at your store and want to sell tickets/fill the venue, publish a couple of weeks ahead of time, and perhaps once more a couple of days before in order to drum up interest.