The PR Guru

October 8, 2009

Features Lists

As I mentioned last time, the key to securing the PR coverage you need is basically down to persistence.

However, you could be waiting some time – and making a lot of phone calls – if you don’t have a knowledge of the publication, radio station, website (or whatever) and the types of stories they’re looking for.

You can save yourself a lot of time, effort and subsequently money by researching media titles and looking for their features lists.

“But what is a features list?” I hear you cry. Well basically, as the name suggests, it’s a list of all the features that media title will be running over the next 12 months. Magazines put them together to help their advertising staff sell space, and focus their editorial team’s minds.

A feature is usually at least a page long and will often have images to break up the text. This is exactly the kind of coverage which will catch the reader’s eye, and therefore is more likely to bring in enquiries.

But even if it doesn’t, by choosing to place an article rather than an advert, you will have saved yourself thousands of pounds, and benefitted from the extra information included. And gained more credibility in the eyes of the reader.

A features list will also include information about deadlines. You will need to pencil them into your diary and contact the editor in plenty of time to pitch your story. At least a couple of weeks before the deadline, to give yourself enough time to put the feature – which will be 500 words long, or more – together and sort out your images.

So where can you find features lists?

Usually a magazine will host them on their website. Take The Grocer, one of the most respected magazines for retailers, for instance.

They have hidden their features list away in a media pack, which is in the advertising section of the website. Not easy to find, by any means! Click here.

It’s worth the effort, because it’s a goldmine of information. Along with the titles of features in every issue of the magazine – that’s 50 features as it’s a weekly publication – there are details of their advertising rates and contact numbers of the people to speak to about features.

Deadlines are not clear so you will have to put in a call to find out when they are.

Another example: Contract Journal, one of the UK’s leading construction sector magazines. Their features list takes some finding too! But I eventually got there by looking for features schedule on their site map. Click here.

They have not planned features for every edition, because they wanted to leave some room to manoeuvre should anything more pressing come up. But there is still plenty of info on the kind of subjects they cover.

Again you will have to contact them to discover their deadlines, but full contact details are included at the bottom of the page.

Editorial staff will begin to look at their features lists for 2010 over the next few weeks, so if you’d like a copy (and it’s not already on the website), now would be a good time to call and introduce yourself.

There are a couple more things to be aware of though – firstly, not all magazines publish their features lists. If that’s the case then you need to get in touch with the relevant editor and ask for a copy.

And secondly, some don’t even bother with features lists! If that’s the case they are more flexible and prepared to listen to your ideas at any time of year – so make the call and get pitching!

You should also be thinking about your PR campaign for 2010 now, and trying to co-ordinate your efforts to suit the magazines you want to be in – the magazines your potential customers will be reading next year.

Please note, this only applies to magazines, and rules out coverage in newspapers, on websites, and in radio and TV. To get coverage in those media you will have to rely on persistence and build those contacts.

See you next time.

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