With next year’s editorial calendar due just around the
corner, here are three tips for getting into the right mindset for planning and
By Marlene L. Hendrickson
The throes of summer are here and you’re enjoying a
well-deserved few days by the shore. Cool drinks, warm sun, family, and
friends…what’s your January/February cover story going to be again?
It is, after all, about that time to start mapping out your
magazine’s 2012 editorial calendar – and following right behind is wrapping up
your media planner. But don’t let editorial planning interrupt your cool summer
vibe. Here are three tips for getting into the right mindset, and for being
strategic about diving into your next editorial calendar.
1. Throw a party. OK, so this is more of a fun meeting. Even
if you think your colleagues at work might be less than enthusiastic about
contributing to an editorial planning meeting, rest assured most people like to
share good ideas, especially when there are cookies involved. (Hint: bring
cookies.) And when you ask your colleagues to contribute potential story ideas,
they gain a better appreciation for your association’s publications overall.
Think of this as part editorial planning, part bonding.
2. Reach out to the people. As publications and media
people, we don’t always have a lot of face time (or phone time) with the
association’s membership. Often, we rely on our latest reader survey results to
ensure we’re publishing the right stuff. But an association’s members are a
source of expertise we can’t afford to ignore, even though most of them aren’t
trained writers. Consider doing a Q&A series throughout the next publishing
year. This strategy gives your members visibility, provides an engaging
platform for your readers, and quickly helps fill your editorial calendar.
3.Think back and pick up the phone. Get out the final
program from your association’s last annual convention and think back to those
speakers who drew the standing-room only crowds. Or ask your meetings and
membership teams to share any buzz they heard afterward. Make a short list of
all the speakers – or even exhibitors – that did the best job of engaging
members. Forget about e-mail and get on the phone with them so you can more
effectively express your enthusiasm for their prospective contributions to the
magazine. Consider sending them an outline for the article you have in mind –
especially if you’re unsure of their writing abilities – and give yourself
enough time should the piece require substantive editing.
So now that you’re armed with these strategies, go back to
enjoying that poolside cocktail and pat yourself on the back for having your
2012 editorial planning well in hand before Labor Day.
Marlene L. Hendrickson
is director of publications for the American Staffing Association.