Create Your Reverse Calendar
Backwards planning is your best friend when deadlines are involved!
I hope you have begun gathering the deadlines for editorial submissions or advertisements. Once you have these you can begin creating your backwards calendar.
Let’s do a simple example. First, mark your chart with your publication’s distribution dates. We will use a weekly newspaper as an example. You are planning an event for Friday, January 31. The weekly paper is distributed to homes and newsstands on Thursdays. When do you need to get the materials by? In this instance, I would recommend you get your materials to the publication in time for two issues prior to your date at a minimum, which would be for the January 23 and January 30 issues. So, you need to find out when the publication needs your material for the January 23 issue. The deadline is usually the Friday prior, which in this case would be January 17. If you are running an ad, you need to find out when the insertion order needs to be provided. Second, you need to ask how much time will it take for your public relations and/or graphic designer to get an image and a write-up together. How much time will you need to review the drafts/proofs and have edits made? Do you have a photo ready? Will a photo shoot need to be planned? For this phase, you should allow at least two weeks if possible. Thus, you are looking at date such as today – January 8.