What deadlines do we have to meet?
On day one, we looked at the publications and media we want to target and, as we start to prepare our press releases or other material, we need to know what their deadlines are.
Three weeks sounds like lots of time, but it soon slips away. What if it’s just one week or one day or even today?
Most magazines will set deadlines far in advance. Even though we’re writing this as we approach August, the September issue of some magazines will soon appear on newsagents’ shelves and drop through letterboxes. Their deadlines could have been weeks or more than a month ago.
Similarly, weekly newspapers can have early deadlines. Although front page news can be added the day before publication, some sections of a paper will be laid out a week or more in advance.
If your news is time critical and you need it to appear next month rather than the month after, make sure you know what a target publication’s deadline is. This is critical if you are publicising events or a big opening or launch.
If you miss a deadline, that’s it. They won’t stop everything for you.
How do we find out deadlines dates?
Some publications publish their deadline date for their next issue.
Another option is to ask. Journalists are human and, if asked politely, many will answer you. They could also be impressed that you have taken the trouble to ask them when many people just send in a press release and get annoyed when told it’s too late.
As a journalist myself, I value approaches like this. It’s always a relief to deal with considerate people who make an effort.
It could also build a relationship and interest the journalist in your story. This will put you one step ahead of many others who just send in their press release and cross their fingers in the hope that it will be included.
Are deadlines useful?
Deadlines are very useful because they show you how much time you have. When you’ve got to write a press release, get a quote from a client, get it approved by the client and anyone else, and arrange a photograph, you need as much time as possible.
Deadlines focus our attention so we get everything done on time and keep on track.
Sadly, I often receive material that I can’t use because people haven’t asked and send in details of events or activities too late.
Finding out deadlines for your target publications is your #SillySeason PR task #6.
Good luck and do ask any questions you have.
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