Tips for placing your op-eds
- Keep it short and sharp. Opinion pieces usually run between 500-600 words. Make sure your piece gets to the heart of your message in the lead paragraph, and keep your message tight-focus on the solution, and paint a picture that describes why healthy communities matter.
- Submit online, then follow up with a call. It is fine to use the typical online submission form, but a phone call to the opinions editor will exponentially increase your chances of placing a piece. Call the main number, ask for the opinions editor and explain why your piece is timely, relevant and unique. Offer to edit or tweak your piece to garner placement. You can only submit an opinions piece to one venue at a time-tell them you'd like to hear back from them within a few days so that you can submit somewhere else if necessary.
- Practice, practice, practice. Don't be discouraged if your first submission isn't published. Like any skill, it takes time and effort to write a well-crafted op-ed, so stay focused and try again!
Tips for submitting letters to the editor
- Move quickly. Read an article worth responding to -- good or bad? Aim to submit your letter to the editor on the same day (ideally, no later than the following day). There are some exceptions to the one-day rule. Responses to articles in publications with longer cycles -- like a weekend magazine or the Sunday Times -- have a longer shelf life.
- Do your research. Find out the media outlet's specific word limitations and style rules. Each publication has its own word limit, but letters to the editor are typically no more than 150-250 words.
- Hone your skills. Stay sharp by writing comments on online news stories and articles -- reporters and editors read them, and some online outlets will highlight popular or well-crafted comments or include them in future coverage.
- Don't be afraid to be controversial. Letters to the editor and op-eds are much more likely to be published if they provide a unique perspective on the topic at hand. It's important to speak from your own perspective -- authenticity should come through. Letters that sound generic or common are unlikely to be published.