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
- Know your audience (or intended audience).
- For yourself, write down what you want your audience to do, not do or let you do when they’ve read your op-ed.
- Write in “their language” not yours. Make it compelling. Keep it short, sweet and easy to repeat.
- 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.
- Test it ... if you have time, ask someone from your target audience to read and react to your piece.
- 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.
You need to take the next step: Market your Op-Ed piece:
- Using the URL link to the newspaper, feed the Op-Ed piece to your social media networks.
- Blast email to your members or at least your “legislative action list.”
- Convert the piece into a news release and send it to key media outlets.
- Convert the piece to a “letter to the editor” and submit to other news outlets.