While planning ahead isn’t always possible when it comes to the way your company is portrayed in the media, we believe that one of the keys to creating an effective annual media strategy is organization.

When working with Clients, we generally build our media strategies around earned media editorial calendars. Earned media can include everything from op-eds placed in newspapers to stories we pitch to local reporters. These are pieces that appear in media outlets as a result of your own efforts and put your company or organization in a positive light.

Planning your earned media efforts well ahead of time is important to ensure you’re spreading consistent and well-thought out messaging.

Prior to developing a media strategy, we suggest developing a thorough and well-established messaging framework. What do you want to convey to the public about your company? Which aspects of your organization are important to highlight, and which would you rather not focus on? Who will serve as the primary messengers to share those positive stories?

Once you’ve crafted your messaging, you’ll want to begin outlining topics and authors for future op-eds. You should align your media pitches with annual events, holidays or other things that may be happening that make your story more timely – and more likely to be covered by local reporters. Putting these ideas (including topics, authors and publication dates) into a spreadsheet or timeline can help ensure nothing gets lost along the way.

A consistent, steady stream of positive earned media stories can position your company or organization as a leader within your space. Regardless of how large or significant the story is, it is always valuable to have a year’s worth of positive media in your back pocket. You never know when you may need to refer to your company’s positive leadership as demonstrated through a year’s worth of positive earned media.