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Sample Planning Calendar for a Press Briefing

This is a sample calendar to be adapted for your use based on your media outlets and deadlines.

Two Months Before an Event (or for an intern project to find general information)

Check with as many outlets as possible to find out their deadlines for listings, public service announcements, articles if you’re trying to get word into a special edition, etc.

  • Assess goals and audience.
  • Brainstorm media strategy for event.
  • Write and revise plan.
  • Contact event site to reserve date. (Should be done earlier, if possible, if event will not be held on-site.)
  • Begin to contact participants and speakers.

Five Weeks Before Event

  • Receive commitment from speakers.
  • Draft Media Advisory.

Four Weeks Before Event

  • Write/mail calendar listing to papers and PSA to radio/TV.
  • Begin to shape speaker remarks.
  • Plan and produce press kit components.

Three Weeks Before Event

  • Finalize speakers’ remarks internally.
  • Edit press kit components.

Two Weeks Before Event

  • Update media list with recent changes.
  • Begin to distribute remarks to speakers for editing.
  • Write/mail release #1 to weeklies (announce the event).
  • Begin to contact talk-show producers to set up interviews.
  • Send advisories out.

One Week Before Event

Remember, weekly papers are published on an earlier deadline than dailies. You may need to do outreach to them this week.

  • Write/mail release #2 to weeklies (announce speakers).
  • Send release #1 to dailies and electronics.
  • Media follow-up calls.
  • Call speakers to confirm their appearance at event and finalize remarks.
  • Finalize press kit components.

Week of Event

  • Weekly papers published.
  • Phone conference reminders.
  • Set-up feature stories and interviews.
  • Coordinate coverage.
  • Distribute release #2 to dailies.
  • Copy, collate, and assemble press kit.

Day Before Event

  • Call to remind assignment editors.

Day and Week After Event

  • Monitor news coverage.
  • Write/mail follow-up release.
  • Thank you notes and calls for good stories.
  • Debrief.

Excerpted from the American Library Association’s A Communications Handbook for Libraries, published in Summer of 2004. To see A Communications Handbook for Libraries in full, please visit: http://www.ala.org/ala/pio/availablepiomat/online_comm_handbook.pdf.

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  • msl.mt.gov