Why forward features are still a key tool for PR campaign planning
By Phoebe-Jane Boyd
23 Jul 2020
Forward features are the editorial calendars created by publications to plan content coming up throughout the year. They usually comprise a list of topics with descriptions, deadlines for submission of content and publication dates. They can be seen as how-tos for getting the attention of particular editorial teams in need of specific contributions; instructions for what they need from their contributors.
Most of the magazines, websites and supplements that release their forward features lists will have planned for the upcoming year in October to December, making them vital tools for finding editorial opportunities and putting your PR plan for the year together in advance.
Forward features are subject to change as circumstances do throughout the year, but give a clear outline of the subjects media outlets in your key target markets will be covering.
Why are features as useful for PR as news?
While news stories are timely and report on what’s happening now, features are planned in advance and are usually longer in format, more detailed and researched.
Features can take so many formats – focused topics within trade magazines or regular themed sections within national newspapers or their supplements. They’re reliable; chosen and planned for in light of previous trends, popular topics, and most read or clicked-on content. They also help editorial themes align with advertising.
What’s the difference between a column and a feature?
Columns are like regular features, being recurring and based on particular topics. They can cover news in politics, reviews of technology releases or round-ups of fashion trends. Where they differ from regularly appearing features is that columns tend to be opinion-based, sometimes personality-based, and written by an expert in the field.
Why are forward features a key PR tool?
Instead of guessing what certain publications and journalists will be interested in over the next few months, checking a forward features list confirms which topics will be a focus for the media you’re targeting. They often also give the details of the journalist who will be writing key features and looking for relevant data, expert spokespeople or review products they can include.
Where can forward features be found?
If you have the time to go find them, forward features (some publications still call them ‘editorial calendars’) can usually be found on a publication’s website, sometimes under an advertising section and often in a media kit. Where they aren’t available for download, the publication’s advertising team is who to call and ask.
A quicker way of finding upcoming features you can contribute to is using a media database tool like the forward feature search on the Vuelio Media Database. Here you can find and save relevant feature topics into lists, split them by categories for each of your clients and set up alerts for changes that happen throughout the year.
If the opportunities that features lists open up for targeting the right publications sound useful for your upcoming campaigns, see how the Vuelio Database can help you find what you need to make plans for 2020 and beyond.