ResponseSource Blog

Five tips to get the most from forward features lists

By Jamie McCandlish

25th June 2013

Category: How to...

Utilising forward features lists (also known as editorial calendars) as part of your PR campaigns can be invaluable in gaining media coverage in a wide range of media outlets. Using tools like Features Planner from the FeaturesExec Media Database allows you to find forward features quickly and easily, but how do you ensure you are getting the most from this activity?

Below are five things to bear in mind when creating a feature list that can turn your forward feature opportunities into media coverage

  • Be Specific. Tools like the Features Planner allow you to find upcoming features by different keywords but broad terms such as “IT” or “technology” can be applicable to a number of different industries. These may result in false positives, finding irrelevant  features that still fit your search criteria. Spend some time working out unique keywords and identifying and removing irrelevant categories from a search. You will get a more relevant list and have to spend less time researching less relevant media outlets.
  • Research the relevance of media outlets. You can further refine your results by taking a close look at the media outlets each forward feature comes from. Information such as audience/readership and regular content allow you to get a better idea of how a media outlet may be appropriate to your campaign. Target only those outlets that are consistent with your campaign’s objectives.
  • Prioritise the list. There is a common misconception in the PR community that media outlets aren’t producing as many feature calendars as they once were. Yet with over 48,000 forward features so far for 2013, you may be surprised at how many relevant opportunities you may find, particularly in the B2B sector. By identifying the opportunities that have the most worth to your campaign and making these a priority, you will be able to manage your leads more effectively.
  • Diarise the opportunities. Journalists are often working to strict deadlines. Similar to responding to journalist enquiries, making sure that you have the right information for the journalist at the right time can be the difference between getting coverage in a media outlet and missing out. When planning your campaign make sure to note the deadline date – this could be months before the issue date – and timescales required for preparing material and lining up spokespeople. Using calendar programs or task managing tools with email reminders such as the FeaturesExec Campaigns manager can ensure that you never miss a journalist’s deadline.
  • Talk to the journalist/pitch idea well in advance. Media outlets will often have a named contact that is responsible for upcoming features. You can increase chances of coverage by contacting them ahead of time to find out more about the feature and how you can contribute. It also presents you with the opportunity of pitching an idea or viewpoint for the feature that may not have been considered.

Forward features remain a significant opportunity for gaining media coverage. Hopefully these tips will help you get the coverage that you want.

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