Media coverage is important to most of our clients. And it makes sense, considering a well-placed article is one of the fastest vehicles for drawing attention to—and shaping public discourse about—an issue. There are many approaches to generating coverage but if you have a specific issue you’re raising awareness about, a targeted op-ed placement is an excellent option for elevating your issue and generating broader support.
Short for “opposite the editorial page,” an op-ed is a written prose piece that expresses the opinion of an author not affiliated with the publication’s editorial board. It requires the author to write and pitch a fully written opinion piece to a relevant news outlet.
Below, we break down the why, when and how to write an op-ed with examples of placements we’ve landed for our clients in the past.
While an op-ed placement may require a little more upfront effort and may not be the brand feature you were initially envisioning for your organization, there are two key benefits to writing and placing an op-ed rather than securing a traditional news story by a reporter:
- You get to control the narrative and express your opinion about a certain issue in your own words; there’s no room for misinterpretation
- Publishing an op-ed positions you as an authority and resource on a topic and indicates to readers that your issue is important and timely
WHEN & WHERE
Timing is critical. Newspapers are most likely to publish op-eds about topics that are already happening in the news or are on the horizon (i.e., election season or holidays). To maximize your chance of placement, create a hook that provides a fresh perspective on an issue readers are familiar with or use an existing trend to make parallels to your issue and its impact.
Before writing your piece, identify 2-3 target outlets that you can tailor your piece around. Everyone wants the New York Times, but regional newspapers have loyal readers who trust their local paper—if your issue is geography-specific, it can even lead to greater action from the community too.
CURA has helped clients successfully place dozens of op-eds in national, regional and trade publications. If you’re thinking about writing an op-ed, here are our three tips to help get you started:
- State a single opinion and do it well. Use your personal, active voice to express your opinion. Do so in the opening paragraph and have a clear call to action by the end.
- Answer the question, “Why should readers [at this publication] care?” It’s best if you have a newspaper in mind to help answer this question. Bonus: We love regional placements for advocacy issues because regional newspapers have a loyal readership that’s ready to respond.
- Address the counter argument(s). To be a resource on the topic, you must acknowledge differing viewpoints. This gives you an opportunity to clarify and strengthen your argument as well.
From policy to consumer science, we’ve placed op-eds in a wide variety of publications to reach our clients’ target audiences. Here are just a few examples:
Psychedelics may ease cancer patients’ depression, anxiety
I was Kaiser Permanente’s infection prevention director. I sanitize my nose and you should too.
To lower drug costs, define ‘cost’ to mean net cost after rebates
Mental health crisis: We must speak with one powerful voice in 2020