An opinion-editorial, usually referred to as an op-ed piece, is an essay written for the newspaper page opposing the editorial page. This essay usually focuses on a single, newsworthy topic with broad social, legal or political implications. For example, a technology company could pen an op-ed on the importance of improving math and science curriculum among elementary and high-school students because this will afford a higher-caliber work force. If you haven’t used this among your public relations arsenal, considering adding it this year.
New Year-New Habit No. 11: Write an Op-Ed Piece
Here are tips and strategies to consider in developing an op-ed piece:
- The byline (“written by” designation) of your op-ed should be one of your top-ranking executives or board members. Newspapers prefer op-eds to be penned by someone cited as an authority and based locally.
- The essay should not be more than 750 words in length, depending on the newspaper’s editorial guidelines.
- Newspapers will not print an op-ed that appears to be self-serving; don’t promote your company in it. The best-written op-ed pieces balance facts and figures with persuasion and positioning.
- Consider offering your op-ed as an exclusive to one newspaper and ascertain if that paper is interested. If not, contact another newspaper, and another, until you have secured placement.
- Once published, leverage your good press by alerting employees, customers, industry associations, sales channels, local governmental officials, the trade media, analysts and social media communities. This could be done simply through an e-mail broadcast. You also should include a reprint of the op-ed in your company’s press kit.
Let me know how you’ve used op-ed pieces. I’ll feature you in future case studies. And while you’re at it, let me know what other PR and social media habits you’d like to develop this year.