5 Steps to Op-Eds that Change Minds

Opinion journalism (a.k.a. op-eds) is an unmatched opportunity for your organization to speak through the news media directly to policy makers, your constituents and other target audiences.

This rare opportunity for you to frame the messages offers the potential to change minds, albeit usually over the course of time, with a series of op-eds. It’s an opportunity not to be missed!

But so many of you have told me that you’re intimidated by entering this realm, that I knew it was a must to outline the path to getting there:

Five Steps to Op-Eds that Change Minds

1. Identify your expertise and stick to it. Carefully think through the issue areas or topics in which your organization’s experts (program staff, leadership or volunteers) shine.

2. Stay informed.  It’s a must that you follow the general news as well as news related to your organization’s focus or issue arena to understand all points of view.

3. Pinpoint your message. Be focused and clear. What is your goal? Do you want legislators to do something or increase public understanding of an issue? Regardless of the goal, you need to be able to state your opinion in one concise sentence.

4. Back it up with facts.  For example, if your message is that legislators should not cut family planning services from the health care budget because it will be detrimental to women’s health, then you need to provide concrete back up. How many women use those services in your community now?

5. Write for the reader. The standard way to make an argument is to state your main point, present evidence to support that opinion, and then offer a recommendation or conclusion. The more direct, clear and conversational you can make the writing, the better.

Read the full article to learn more about these 5 steps and get a comprehensive outline for op-eds that change mind.

More creative media strategies here:

How to Write a Letter to the Editor that Gets Published and Read – Part Two – Letter to the Editor Tips from an Expert (Case Study)

How are you using Op-Eds? If you’re not, what’s getting in your way?

Please share your op-ed success stories, how-tos and/or the barriers that are keeping you from placing op-eds that change minds. Thank you.

P.S. Get more in-depth case studies, templates and tools, and guidance for nonprofit marketing success — all featured in the twice-monthly Getting Attention e-update. Subscribe today

Nancy Schwartz on September 7, 2011 in Media Relations and Press | 2 comments
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1 Cheryl September 12, 2011 at 6:23 pm

Great tips for writing op eds. On the same note, my coworker recently wrote a post about why nonprofit organizations should have a media relations plan. In a nutshell, mainstream media is still a top way that all generations learn about nonprofits. If you aren’t getting media play, you are missing out on your slice of the pie. Here’s the article if you care to read it: http://www.connectioncafe.com/posts/2011/09-september/i-heard-it-on-the-news.html.

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