If you work in communications or public relations, you’re used to the fast-paced timelines of press releases and social media schedules—along with the rapid results they can offer for you and your clients.

When it comes to Fifth Story’s earned media services, timelines function somewhat differently, both in terms of production, and in terms of results. Here, we give you a taste of what turnaround times to expect for a campaign and why these timelines can add unparalleled exposure for your brand and depth to your marketing strategy.

Production timelines 

Earned radio segments (or audio news releases ANRs) can sometimes be produced in as little as two weeks. But several factors need to come together for that to happen. More often, the turnaround time is three to four weeks from start to launch when you factor in approvals.

Fifth Story’s earned article services, which you may also known as matte stories, are distributed to newspaper editors on a monthly basis, and must be distributed as part of an issue month.

For both articles and radios, each step in the production of the service requires between one and three business days, but time is also influenced by several factors, including how much time a client needs for approvals, or if the project includes both English and French content.

For articles, the entire production process generally takes three to four weeks to complete.

However, the key point to remember about timing for articles (unlike radios) is that Fifth Story works two months ahead of the issue month.

For example, draft content for our October issue is due in early August. While the articles go live after they are edited and approved, they are also published together in our online magazine on the first of the month prior. For the October issue, the magazine is published September 1st.

This means it’s essential to plan articles well ahead to ensure you make it into the appropriate issue – for instance, Christmas content must be submitted in early October for the December issue (live November 1st) in order to realize the best potential for your content to be published.

Results timelines

Though we all wish results could be immediate, it will take approximately six weeks to report all results for a radio segment and four to six months for earned articles. For radios, you’ll begin to receive Media Ratings Points reports on results about two weeks after launch, while the majority of article results will occur in the issue month of the articles. This means you’ll see more results for October issue articles in October, after they have been available for a month or so.

Benefits of earned timelines 

With submission dates landing weeks in advance of publication and still more weeks from the majority of results, you might be wondering why it all takes so long.

And that’s a fair question. In our age of constant connectivity, shouldn’t people be seeing your content immediately and shouldn’t we be able to track that right away?

Well, in this case—no.

The purpose of an earned campaign is to reach those you can’t reach through more immediate channels like social media. Earned content is used by regional and community newspapers and radio stations across the country to fill their pages and airwaves.

While you’ll see online reach for articles, the majority of your pickup will be physical newspaper and magazine publications that have strict publication timelines of their own, since they need to budget extra time for layout, printing and more. This means they need to have access to your Christmastime content while they are planning their Christmas issue in November, and we need time in October to get the content ready for them to see in a format they prefer in November.

It’s a similar case with radio stations—though swifter than print timelines, radio stations do plan out their content somewhat, and they will repeat usage throughout a few weeks, too.

Timelines are great for your brand

Overall, these timelines are a boon for your outreach – working in the industry you know that it’s rare for your brand to have this kind of ongoing exposure to the public for such extended periods of time.

The advance planning means you can always have something in the pipeline that gives ongoing results. It can add consistency to your media planning process, and it is a unique opportunity for long-lasting results—adding depth and breadth to your more immediate and targeted outreach.

We’re here to help. To learn more about how we can help deliver your key messaging through engaging and valuable editorial content, contact info@fifthstory.com.