What’s a foresight calendar? For media strategists and producers, a foresight calendar is a list of all notable events, usually for the upcoming year, that are newsworthy and could be opportunities to help capture engagement. Think of it as an eyes-and-ears template to feed ideas for your editorial calendar.
Whether you’re an editor, publisher, influencer, marketer or business owner, preparing an editorial calendar gives you time to be less reactive and more responsive. Keeping notable events on your radar helps you stay ahead of the curve and allows staff to explore creative angles to upcoming events that impact culture, society and politics.
To help pin down your editorial calendar, drafting a foresight calendar for your industry or genre of content gives you time to build a body of research and a repository of materials — relevant visuals, photos, graphics, timelines, studies, resources, info/access requests, etc. — resulting in more effective content that gives a bird’s-eye view of issues and trends. Also, it could help you secure and interview sources when you’re not bogged down with a tight deadline. Long-ranging perspectives in your visuals, quotes and stories give a sense of preparedness and depth.
“All things are ready, if our mind be so,” once wrote William Shakespeare, western culture’s leading content creator. Though seemingly unspectacular, a foresight calendar readies the mind.Get a head start on editorial planning with a foresight calendar of 500+ of the biggest newsworthy events through 2020. Great as a pitching resource too. #EditorialCalendar | #FutureEvents | #FreelanceWriting | #Marketing Click To Tweet
Tips to curating your editorial foresight calendar and keeping it current
- Each event should include: Start and end dates; name; event location; hyperlink to more information; searchable tags to allow you to sort through events by category.
- Limiting your event categories will help you search thematically and string events into forward-looking content that could track policies and trends that link events to purposes and outcomes your audiences are following.
- Being conscientious of the locations of notable events in your calendar allows you to tailor and scale your events coverage in different geographic regions. You might want to tailor your content to specific regional customer bases as well.
- If you work in a specific industry or sector, the categories you use and the events you include could be more aligned to main conferences and forums where industry influencers exchange ideas.
- Updating the foresight calendar should be a monthly task for someone on your editorial team.
- Use the foresight calendar during brainstorming meetings and as an idea tracker. When ideas are flowing, or new angles and perspectives are discussed, record them in the calendar with a mindset that content can be repurposed at different points in the year as well.
- Some go even a bit further with their editorial foresight calendar by attaching the writers to cover the events, mapping the content into categories (including keywords and meta data); and adding a “publish by” date.
- Actively seek out and create content calendars for your various distribution channels, like Sprout Social’s great #hashtag calendar.
Most anticipated events through 2020
Editorial calendars should be designed with flexibility and responsiveness in mind. To keep content managers nimble, one should always be asking:
- What cultural, political, scientific and technological trends in 2019 / 2020 will draw media attention and how should my editorial or marketing content teams be prepared for it?
- What events will challenge us to renew our thinking and stretch the limits of creativity?
- What events could affect my business, or be opportunities to promote it?
Here are eight anticipated events in 2019 to plan your content creation around up through 2020.
- Mueller Investigation looms large in early 2019: Post-mid-term elections, FBI special counsel Robert Mueller continues looking into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. Analysts expect more indictments and a report, but changes in the Justice Department leadership leave the investigation (and justice) in the balance.
- Go Grand marks the 100th Anniversary Celebration of Grand Canyon National Park on February 26, 2019: One of the most visited U.S. national parks (with some 6 million domestic and international visitors each year) this UNESCO World Heritage Site offers amazing, and humbling views along its rim, breathtaking hiking trails and unique natural, cultural and historical resources that inspire us to connect with nature. Given the reductions in protections to at least eight national parks under the Trump administration, a retrospective look into how national parks came to be would be an education your readers might be interested in, and want to take action on.
- Large Synoptic Survey Telescope to achieve first light by 2019: Touted for its novel 3-mirror design, the LSST would serve as one of the largest DSLR cameras focused on capturing the entire sky every few nights and making that data immediately available to the public. Scientific goals are to study dark energy and dark matter, map small objects in the Solar System, detect novae, supernovae and gamma-ray bursts and map the entire Milky Way.
- Total Solar Eclipse best viewed from Argentina on July 2, 2019: Awe-inspiring and eerie, total solar eclipses have faithful followers, drawing travelers to catch a glimpse of this special astronomical event every few years in a different place on the planet. Each seeker can feel the thrill of their hairs rise when the moon for moments blocks the sun and chills the air. To see those seeing quick flashes of light spouting from the sun’s corona, viewers claim a spiritual experience, and the goosebumps.
- 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, July 24 to August 9, 2020: Ticket sales have yet to be announced, but the world’s greatest sporting event will certainly draw many to Tokyo’s vibrant culture and ultra-modern city. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) agreed to add five new sports to the program, which are baseball/softball, karate, skateboard, sports climbing and surfing.
- Yokohama Triennale, Yokohama, Japan starting August 2020: Located in Japan’s foremost art institutions, the every-three-year-event showcases in vogue Asian painters, sculptors and photographers from throughout the region. With the Asian art scene rising, this event proves to be a draw for art collectors and art lovers seeking the trendiest artists and works.
- Mars 2020 aims to explore the Red Planet for previous life: Key questions about life on Mars remain, and NASA’s Mars 2020 mission hopes to find signs of habitable conditions on Mars in the ancient past and find traces of past microbial life itself. This dovetails into Elon Musk’s claim that he’s “70% certain to travel to Mars,” in that scientists also intend to test methods for producing oxygen from the Martian atmosphere and address other challenges of human expeditions before sending people out there.
- U.S. Presidential Election November 2020: As soon as a week after the Thanksgiving holiday in 2018, presidential candidacy announcements began for the 2020 Presidential Elections. No doubt after an extended mid-term election with delayed results and run-offs, some Americans may feel some election fatigue, but the momentum carries forward with forecasters predicting a Democratic female front-runner, or three.
Access a baseline editorial calendar template and start tracking ideas
The ClearVoice team has created an accessible editorial calendar template, a Google Sheet pre-populated with more than 500 notable events and gatherings that stretch across the globe, from January of 2019 through the end of 2020. Major events were picked from interest areas such as politics, arts and culture, technology, science, entertainment and sports. Trade shows related to marketing and media were included for ClearVoice’s audience.
Access our calendar here. (Yes, it’s the same calendar available via the form toward the beginning of this post. Congrats for reading the whole post! We like to reward readers.)
You can access and use it right away or create one like it with your industry-specific notable events. The foresight calendar is set up to be a baseline template that you can add to and extract from as needed, or that you can import into other apps to collaborate on with your team. Each event is set up using the tips above and includes a URL to gather more information about the events as needed.
How you decide to shape your editorial calendar depends largely upon the audiences you serve and the niche markets you want to target. What’s offered here will get you started.