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What are forward features and why are they useful?

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Forward features are the editorial calendars created by publications to plan their content throughout the year. They are usually presented as a list of topics including brief descriptions, submission deadlines and dates of publication.

Most magazines and many editorial websites release their forward features list for the following year between October to December. This means that when you are putting together your PR plan you can include key editorial opportunities far in advance.

Although forward features are subject to change, they can give you a glimpse into the types of topics your key media outlets are going to be covering in the upcoming year.


What is the difference between features and news?

Features are decided in advance whereas news stories are timely and based on something that is happening right now.

Features are usually longer than news stories, are more detailed using more extensive research and have a more human element than the “cold hard facts” of a news story.

Features can be anything from subtopics within a specialist magazine to generic topics in a national newspaper. Using previous trends, most read content and predicted popular topics, feature lists are created to get the best content together and help align advertising with the editorial topics.

Many media types, particularly daily and weekly publications, have regular themed features.


What is a column?

Much like a regular feature, a column is a recurring article based on a topic. Columns are usually opinion based and written by the same expert author in each issue. They can be anything from a political expert discussing the latest news in politics, through to a weekly technology review.



Why are forward features a key PR tool?

Forward features allow you to plan in advance and know when suitable topics are being included in your key media. They give confirmation that the subject is something of interest to a publication and if you call or email the journalist you can find out exactly what they are looking for and whether you can help.


Where can you find forward features?

Forward features can often be found on publications’ websites or if they’re not available you can contact the publication directly and ask for them.

Looking for the features for multiple outlets can be time-consuming, especially if you’re not 100% sure on the suitable publications.

By using a tool like the forward feature search on our Media Contacts Database you can find and save all suitable feature topics into one or more lists. This means you could create lists for each of your clients or split lists down into categories. Set up alerts for when new features matching your specifications are added to the database and get reminders two weeks before the deadline for saved features.


If you’re ready to open the door to more opportunities and save time compiling suitable forward features, see how the Media Contacts Database can help you by booking a demo with our team.


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