Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Tips for Strategic Use of Association-generated Op-Eds


The email from a fellow association executive was a pretty simple request:

  • “Steve, have a need and considering doing my first Op-Eds (opinion piece next to editorial page). Purpose is to influence the Governor to sign one of ‘our’ bills. Any pointers you can share?”

Here’s how I responded


  1. Know your audience (or intended audience).
  2. For yourself, write down what you want your audience to do, not do or let you do when they’ve read your op-ed.
  3. Write in “their language” not yours. Make it compelling. Keep it short, sweet and easy to repeat.
  4. Proof it … if in doubt, cut it out. In reviewing, go back to what you wanted them to do, not do or let you do. 
  5. Test it ... if you have time, ask someone from your target audience to read and react to your piece.
  6. Select the newspaper or media outlet of choice of your intended audience and place the Op-Ed there.

But, Don’t Stop There


So, you’ve written and placed the Op-Ed piece, now what?

Presumably, your intended audience reads your Op-Ed piece ... but a high percentage won’t even see it because ...
  • they don’t read newspapers.
  • they don’t read the editorial pages of newspapers.
  • they didn’t read that newspaper on the day your Op-Ed piece ran.
So, to make your Op-Ed efforts work, you need to do more.

You need to take the next step: Market your Op-Ed piece:


  1. Using the URL link to the newspaper, feed the Op-Ed piece to your social media networks.
  2. Blast email to your members or at least your “legislative action list.”
  3. Convert the piece into a news release and send it to key media outlets.
  4. Convert the piece to a “letter to the editor” and submit to other news outlets.
If your association has been engaged in using Op-Eds to advocate association policy, what have you done? What else would you suggest to this association executive? Please share in the comment box at www.scdgroup.net.

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