July 26, 2017 - by Peter Evans
What do the iPhone, International Women’s Day and Donald Trump all have in common? They are all listed in an online database of editorial events and announcements called AP Planner. This handy software application curated by The Associated Press could hold the key to helping you build greater media awareness for your organization. If you are like most organizations, you have a roster of experts who can serve as media sources, however it can be a challenge to mobilize them for breaking and emerging stories. But what if you could get a glimpse into the future and a better understanding of key events that will have the attention of newsrooms? And what if you could find this information up to a year in advance?
AP Planner was designed as a central media planning solution that helps newsrooms identify important events on the global calendar. As the leading provider of newsroom content solutions for broadcast, newspaper and online media, AP needed to ensure that their customers have visibility into upcoming events. So they carefully curate a database of over 100,000 future events spread across diverse categories, including political schedules, financial and economic announcements, trade and consumer conferences, award ceremonies, holidays and more. They also organize these events into “daybooks” sorted by city and state.
This same information is critical for media relations professionals seeking relevant entry points into the newscycle. That’s why many organizations including universities, corporations, PR agencies, industry associations and governments use AP Planner to more proactively identify event opportunities.
So what kind of information can you find in AP Planner? Here’s a small sample of some events by category:
Commemorative Anniversaries “10th Anniversary of the iPhone”
Corporate Reporting e.g. ‘Netflix Q2 earnings released’
Financial News and Matters e.g. “Federal Open Market Committee meetings with interest rates decision”
Political Schedules e.g. “Senate due to hold procedural vote on health care reform bill”
Awareness Campaigns/Key Days e.g. ‘International Women’s Day, Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month’
Conferences/Meetings e.g. ‘National Rifle Association Annual General Meeting’
Given the number of events that AP Planner tracks and the need that journalists have for expert sources, it made perfect sense to join forces. Today we’re excited to announce our ExpertFile directory is now integrated directly into AP Planner, making it even easier for thousands of journalists to search for experts on over 25,000 topics. Here is a preview of what this functionality looks like.
In addition to integrating our expert database, AP has redesigned AP Planner to be even more powerful for a range of clients including newsrooms, universities, corporations, hospitals and governments. The new interface is even more intuitive and provides a more streamlined search function that yields quicker and more accurate results. There’s even new features to help you visualize and filter search results, and the addition of Google Maps, allows users to see venue locations and nearby events.
Having advance notice of these events in AP Planner, gives you a significant edge in helping you position your experts with the media when it matters most - when they are looking for experts. By the time newsrooms have assigned journalists to write stories you’ve already missed some important windows of opportunity if you aren’t proactive. And manually tracking thousands of events is simply an impossible task for most media relations departments.
So how can you be more proactive to increase your media coverage? Think about how you can mobilize your experts to help journalists tell their stories. They need access to credible and engaging experts who are well suited to the event they are covering. Using AP Planner here are a few power tips you can use to boost your media coverage:
Quickly identify key spokespeople by topic. Within minutes you can search for events in AP Planner by keyword and then save it to a spreadsheet to sort the most relevant opportunities that best match your subject-matter experts or faculty. Match this information to key opportunities such as research or publications your experts are publishing.
Promote your experts to media and conferences. AP Planner can help you quickly prioritize your media outreach to get a better response rate to your outbound pitches. It also can help you update expert content to generate better matches when journalists are searching ExpertFile. AP Planner also provides a large listing of conferences that you could promote your experts to for panels and keynotes.
Develop your editorial calendar. If you are generating articles/blogs as part of a content marketing strategy, AP Planner can help you generate more relevant content that is better matched to the news cycle. Just search on “Anniversaries” and “Awareness Days/Campaigns” to identify opportunities for outreach and aligning your organization to various milestones.
Optimize your content for search & social media. AP Planner provides additional details such as tags and other metadata that can help you predict what keywords media may be using to report on an event. It can also help you better understand what audiences will be searching on social media when news breaks and can help you better optimize your content for search engines.
Develop relationships with press contacts. Most entries in AP Planner include a media contact. Why is this helpful? Many events are interested in hearing from organizations that have quality content and are aligned with their mandate or market.
So is AP Planner right for you? If you are looking to build brand reputation and market visibility give it a look. It’s a solution our sales and customer success teams are recommending for most of our customers. As a media planning solution AP Planner is the biggest events database out there; it’s simple to use; and it’s affordable. And it’s better than ever with the recent integration of ExpertFile profiles.
Want to learn more? Click here to set up a quick demo of AP Planner and ExpertFile, We’re looking forward to helping you leverage the power of events to tell your organization’s story.