Did you know that organized marketers and PR professionals have a 674% higher chance of success? As a PR professional, try using a PR calendar to get in on the trend.
What Is a PR Calendar?
A PR calendar is a calendar that includes all the elements needed to pitch and secure coverage in your public relations plan. It breaks down your projects into tasks on a timeline.
Why Is a PR Calendar Important?
Public relations calendars are a crucial aspect of project management for PR professionals because they offer visibility into:
- All your planned projects: Even as you get involved in a new rush of pitches, you’ll have all projects plotted out, so you don’t lose track of them.
- Deadlines: An effective PR calendar includes deadlines for pitches, award submissions, and quotes to keep your projects on time.
- Publishing dates: You can also keep your publishing dates on your calendar to publicize new coverage as soon as it comes out.
Download a Free PR Calendar Template
Interested in making your own public relations calendar? Download our template to get started, and read on to learn how to use it.
How to Create a Public Relations Calendar
Here’s how to create your own public relations calendar in three steps:
Choose Your PR Calendar Tool
Three of the most popular public relations calendar tools include:
- Spreadsheets: You can create an effective and free calendar in your favorite spreadsheet software or download our template. This format lets you map out your PR plans with as many details as you need. But, it doesn’t have features like a calendar view that makes it easier to parse dates.
- Project Management Software: Project management tools like Asana and ClickUp have advanced features like project-specific tasks and reminders. However, they aren’t specifically designed for public relations teams or use cases.
- Content Editorial Calendar Software: PR pros like Spin Sucks use tools such as Marketing Calendar Free and Marketing Suite with PR-specific features for organization and collaboration. These tools are designed for content production, marketing, and public relations use cases. Content calendar software allows managers and content creators to collaborate and integrate their projects. Depending on your work style, you may need to invest in a paid plan to get all the features you want.
Choose Your PR Topics
Now that you have an empty calendar to work with, you need to fill it with your PR topics.
Have trouble coming up with ideas? Go back to the basics — take a break, read other people’s good ideas, and give yourself dedicated thinking time.
Think about the most common purposes driving public relations topics, too:
- Holidays: What kinds of events and gift guides can you promote during holidays?
- Seasonality: Is there a specific time of year when your product truly shines?
- Themes: Which of your company’s values and subject areas can you translate into ongoing themes for your PR projects?
- Industry Awards: What industry awards can you compete for, and when do you need to apply for them?
Brainstorm PR Ideas
With your topics in hand, it’s time to break them into ideas for action. This ideation process works similarly to generating ideas for content. You’ll need to work with your team and examine your market to find the most effective tactics.
As you brainstorm ideas, categorize them by type. Some examples include:
- Quotes for media coverage
- Influencer campaigns
- Collaborations with other brands
- Product samples for influential vendors
- Pop-up shops
- Press conferences
- Original research
When working with content ideas, choose topics that appeal to humans and SEO bots. Some basic SEO research can also inspire you to create new tactics.
How to Use a PR Calendar
You have your calendar and projects at the ready. How should you distribute your projects throughout your calendar?
Follow these two rules:
Define Your Schedule
One of the easiest ways to create a publishing schedule you’ll stick with is to create a cadence. You could plan to run one small event per month, for example, or look for pitch opportunities on certain days of the week.
Consistency matters. Even if you start small, you’ll create an easy-to-follow schedule that you can build on.
After making that base schedule, look for gaps and busy seasons on your calendar. You may need to add or remove tasks in those spaces to keep your workload manageable.
Add Ideas to Your PR Calendar
Once you know the tasks you’ll commit to on certain days, you can connect them to specific ideas.
Take your holiday and seasonal ideas first and find areas on the calendar where they’ll be appropriate. Plug in any awards season applications, too.
With all the time-specific tasks out of the way, fill in the rest of your calendar.
Consider scheduling ideas with similar themes close to each other for easier transitions between tasks. Or, designate different themes for each month.
Get in touch with your marketing team to see what plans they have for the year. You might find opportunities to coordinate on similar topics at the same time.
Public Relations Calendar FAQs
Some of the most common questions about public relations calendars are:
What Should a PR Calendar Include?
Your public relations calendar should include every project you plan to execute, broken down into manageable steps.
For example, you should name the specific task rather than listing “My Collaboration Campaign” on each day you plan to work on it. One day might have “reach out to collaborators for My Collaboration Campaign,” while another could include “contact press about My Collaboration Campaign.”
What Is an Editorial Calendar in PR?
You might notice an editorial calendar in the PR calendar template bundle you downloaded. What does it do?
Public relations professionals use editorial calendars to track and analyze their company’s content and coverage.
What Is Editorial Calendar Management?
Editorial calendar management is the process of maintaining your calendar.
Schedule a designated time every month to review and edit the tasks on your calendar. Update your existing tasks’ status, and fill in more of them based on topics you recently came up with.