I’ve always thought the op-ed was one of the most underrated PR tools. A well-written op-ed piece can be useful for newsjacking, getting your name out there, stirring up controversy, and establishing yourself as an expert in your field. Unfortunately, many people either don’t know how to write an op-ed, so what they end up with is a piece that finds its way into the trash can.
What can you do to write a great op-ed that offers a slew of PR benefits? Here are 7 tips to help you out:
Get to the point—You aren’t writing an essay. You’re not building up to your conclusion. With an op-ed, you want to state your conclusion right from the beginning. The first paragraph of your op-ed should briefly make your major point, and the rest of the op-ed should support that and flesh out your argument.
Have a clear stance—An op-ed is not a place for fence straddling. You must have a clear point of view. You need to come down firmly on one side of the issue. Don’t waver. Make your case and stand your ground.
Fact-check carefully—Of course, if the facts you include in your op-ed aren’t actually facts after all, your argument falls apart and you lose all credibility. Above all else, make sure you check your facts to verify their accuracy before sending your op-ed.
Adhere to the publication’s guidelines—Each publication has its own guidelines for op-ed pieces, detailing things such as word count and type of language allowed. Make sure you read these guidelines and adhere to them to give yourself the best chance of getting published.
Provide unique insight—If you want people to see you as an expert and a thought leader, you need to provide them with insight they can’t get anywhere else. Your op-ed piece should be educational. It should help the reader better understand the topic. Don’t just regurgitate someone else’s argument. Have some original thoughts.
Include a bio—Make sure you include a brief bio with your op-ed, so people see your name and learn a little more about you. Also, include your email address, website URL, and phone number for the editor.
Have you ever written an op-ed piece? Would you consider it a success?