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What's Your Op-Ed?

By Harry Hoover
Posted Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Everyone has an opinion on something, and you can leverage the opinion of top executives to heighten the visibility of your organization. How? By getting them to write so-called op/ed pieces for newspapers.

Of course they'd love to be in the New York Times, but that typically is the purview of the mega-corporation. So, let's start closer to home at our local newspapers.

Here are a few key things you should know in order to write a successful op/ed feature.

* Check your local newspaper's website to learn about their op/ed policy

* Tackle a subject currently getting coverage. This improves your chances of getting the piece published

* Include a short bio, and your contact information at the end of the piece. Also, have a head and shoulders photo available

* Focus on a single issue or idea

* Don't waffle: take a strong stance

* State your conclusion first and then support it with your strongest points in descending order, building to a compelling conclusion

* State your opinion at the outset and support it with facts from other authorities, and solid first- or third-party research

* Write tight. Remember, this is a newspaper piece, not War & Peace. A piece of 750 - 1,000 words has the best chance of appearing in print

* Don't use jargon

* Don't commit an act of literature. Limit adjectives and adverbs as well as flowery language

* Use a personal and conversational approach

* Write in active voice

* Be controversial, but reasonable

* Summarize and state your call to action

* Publish. Repeat

About the Author
Harry Hoover is managing principal of Hoover ink PR, (http://www.hoover-ink.com). He has 26 years of experience in crafting and delivering bottom line messages that ensure success for serious businesses like Brent Dees Financial Planning, Duke Energy, Levolor, North Carolina Tourism, Ty Boyd Executive Learning Systems, VELUX and Verbatim.