Lead times with different types of media

Are you wanting media exposure, but are unsure of when to pitch to certain producers, editors and reporters? It’s one of the most asked questions I get! How do you know the timing? The truth is, it can be tricky, but there are certain guidelines that we go by. I will explain a few.


Long-lead vs. short-lead media

When you are planning media launches, pitches, and campaigns, think about what types of media you would like to pitch. Are they long-lead or short-lead? Long-lead are typically printed publications that need more planning such as magazines. Most long-lead publications plan content 5-6 months ahead. Short-lead media can handle last-minute submissions and pitches. This includes online publications, radio, and local news TV stations. Short-lead time can be anywhere from 1-4 weeks, and some online publications working on deadlines will want content for a story the next day.


Magazines and newspapers

Printed magazines will typically want 4 to 6 months to get your content and see if it fits with their themed issues. Believe it or not, most magazines post their editorial calendar for what their theme for each issue is going to be on their website, so definitely check for appropriate topics to pitch as well as information on their deadlines. 

If a magazine has a weekly publication like a business journal, they typically have shorter lead times and close the week before publication. Newspapers typically have shorter lead times as well, but be sure to check their calendar for topics or themes ahead of time too. They will also publish online versions of their articles prior to the publication of the printed version; if you are releasing a story about a launch that you have planned and do not want it to be published early, make sure that you communicate that with the reporter or editor.


Online Publications

Online reporters and editors are responsible for publishing a large amount of content daily. This means many online sites have shorter lead times and some editors will copy and paste what you send them. That sounds great, but makes what you send in your pitch even that much more important. It’s important to write in complete sentences, use catchy headlines and elevated language, and think through what your responses look like. Alo, do your research and make sure that the content you are sending is in line with what the publication is looking for at the time.


News stations and network shows

Local TV news stations typically book guests 1-4 weeks in advance, so you will need to have everything sent in early enough for them to review. However, they often have cancellations and need to fill the slot, so keep following up. 

Network TV shows book guests anywhere from 1-3 months ahead of time and go on hiatus several times throughout the year, so check with them to see when they are airing and what their deadlines are. You can also reach out to contacts and plant seeds to follow up with them at a later date so that they know the pitch is coming.



Podcasts are generally pre-recorded and will be made live on the host’s schedule. They vary the most when it comes to booking time. They can book guests anywhere from a few weeks to 6 months ahead of time. If you are recording a podcast in correlation with a launch or campaign that is time-sensitive, check with the podcast host to ensure that the dates are in line with their schedule. 

As always, do not be afraid to follow up on anything that you send in! About 3 times, is a good rule of thumb.