Why forward features are your forgotten friend
A little forward planning can go a long way, especially when it comes to forward features, of course.
Indeed, no matter what sector you work in, there’s a high probability that it has a variety of trade magazines relating to that particular market segment, and more importantly, appealing directly to many of the people you need to be in front of.
Inside these magazines are an assortment of features that have been planned for months in advance, for instance seasonal stories relating to the time of year, and these present an editorial goldmine of opportunity for those who know about them in advance.
What are forward features?
Many magazines plan a year ahead using a structured monthly editorial calendar. This highlights when they are going to feature certain topics and stories.
And the good news is that a lot of publications make these editorial calendars showing their forward features freely available and openly welcome editorial contributions.
How do you find them?
To start with, look on the publication’s website and search for headings like ‘media information’, ‘media pack’, ‘editorial’, ‘editorial features’, etc.
These will provide a summary of each month’s theme, when the publication date is and, most importantly, the editorial deadline date so you know when you need to submit your feature by for possible inclusion.
If you can’t find these details, then a simple phone call to the publication or an email should provide the forward feature details you need.
Remember though, that editorial calendars can change and the features alter as well, so make sure to regularly keep up-to-date with what’s required.
Editorial features are normally published free-of-charge, however, this means that there’s no guarantee that your submission will be featured.
Editorial discretion might also mean that only part is featured, that it is included in the same article as other submissions or that it could be amended to suit the tone and style of the publication.
This means that you need to make your feature stand out from the crowd. Address the topic head on, provide some new information or insight, include third-party quotes or case studies if appropriate, supply good quality images, etc, and you stand a better chance.
Don’t treat it as free advertising and just rehash previous marketing material as editors will see straight through this.
Features position your company as experts in your field. The information and insight provided shows that you have something interesting to say and that others should listen.
Of course, it also positions you in front of an influential audience, e.g., the readership, many of whom could be key decision makers, and so in turn, can help open doors which might previously have remained closed.