Creating Media Pitching Calendars

Writer/Producer Tom Smuts formerly of Mad Men (now writing/producing on Amazin's Bosch) with Tamika Butler the Executive Director of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition in our story/image in the print issue of Momentum Magazine this September. Tom will ride to the Emmys again this Sept 20th escorted by the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition. Image by Mick Victor.

Did you know that the larger the print publication the longer lead time they take for planning stories? Lifestyle and travel publications like Afar Magazine take 6+ months putting together their editorial coverage.

On the above story I floated the idea to Tom probably last February. I originally pitched it to Momentum around then as well. I actually pitched it a couple of times before we got the green light that it would run in September. The photos were taken in June.

If we want to get serious about exponentially growing the number of positive, inspirational stories about the opportunities of biking, walking and taking public transit in the broad press we need to be focused and strategic about pitching our stories. Very importantly, we need to not only pitch the right stories for the right media outlet - we need to do so in the right timeline.

The big focus of my work for Pedal Love, our creative team and collaborators this fall and moving into winter is working on key media pitches to influential lifestyle and travel media.

Like many media professionals I create media pitching calendars for each of the clients I'm working with. In this sample media pitching calendar I use the following real projects I'm working on to illustrate for you exactly what I'm talking about. The projects I share are:

  • The California Dream Ride for the California Bicycle Coalition 10/28-11/4
  • Our Long Beach "Media Junket by Bike" 11/10 (this event page is a work in progress but you'll get an idea of what we're going for).
  • May 2016 Bike Month & Beyond

By creating a pitching calendar I can visually organize my pitches and get clear on what our creative team needs to put into play to make the most successful pitches. I never expect the media to come and find us. I know sometimes they will, but more often than not, and in order to have the story more focused the way I want it to go, I take all responsibility for following up with the media.

One of the things we do as much as possible is have our own original photography as part of the pitch to the media. This has not only made our pitches measurably more successful, it further helps us control the way we want the story portrayed. Early this summer we set up a new photo shoot for Kellie Morris with Allan Crawford and had her dress for fall/winter - thinking ahead.

For our November 10 media junket Allan Crawford and I recently rode around Long Beach with the talented and passionate Graham Baden of Founder of the Long Beach based Pedal Movement photographing him in front of the brand new Pow Wow Long Beach murals. He's one of the most dapper, visionary young bike advocates we know and I think his story would be perfect for media like G.Q. and Details and others. It was one of our hottest days so we really appreciate Graham being such a good sport!

I noted Afar Magazine in particular above because I've recently connected with a very talented young photographer in Huntington Beach who specializes in travel photography. He's worked with Afar already, loves the Long Beach story overall and the bike story specifically. And he's interested in collaborating with us to get more Afar story placements. Even though he knows we have a media junket on 11/10 he wants to get together earlier because Afar often works more than 6 months out.

Don't be afraid to reach out to talented creatives and ask if they'd like to collaborate with you on getting the story of the work you and your organization out to the media in fresh ways. 

As we move forward stepping up our game on media pitching here at Pedal Love I'll be sharing what we're doing and what we're learning with you.

If What We Do is of Benefit to You Will You Help Us Grow?

If you'd like to further catalyze your own media outreach with a great media list we've got a very special deal for you. Donate $50 or more to Pedal Love by October 15th and we'll share our newly updated and expanded media list with over 1,300 California local, regional, statewide and yes even national contacts. It'll be ready by November 3rd. Click here to find out more and donate safely and easily online.

About Melissa

Melissa is a writer, media relations specialist and speaker with the personal mission is to bring the connecting power of beauty, style and personally engaging storytelling to showcase biking, walking and public transit as tools for optimism. In the past two years Melissa has placed Women on Bikes California/, our events and our creative team members in American Bicyclist, Apparel News, Atlantic Cities, Bicycling Magazine, Bicycling Retailer, CNN Blogs,, KABC News, KCAL 9 News, KPFK, LA Observed, Los Angeles Magazine, Momentum Magazine, Sacramento Bee, San Francisco Chronicle, and more. Learn more about her here.