Why Op-Eds Matter
Op-eds can be persuasive and emotional in tone. For example: if your goal is to encourage your community to advocate for safe, healthy transportation options, you could ask a local parent to write an emotional op–ed about the impact of Complete Streets on their child’s overall health.
Public commentary has long been one of the most powerful ways to broadly communicate ideas. By having an opinion editorial, commonly called an op-ed, published, you’ll be able to convey your campaign’s essential messages to legislators, journalists, and the community through the voice of one of your volunteers or advocates who is passionate about your cause.
In the past few years, competition from expanded news and information sources like blogs and social media has made publication easier, but competition for attention tougher. This means that you’ll have to offer your best thinking and most influential voices in order to maximize your chances of having a newspaper print your op-ed—and have people care who you are and what you have to say.
A sample op-ed is available below and in the Resources section.
- Choose your signer carefully. Having a local leader’s signature on your op-ed can help increase its chance of being published.
- Be brief, and check your target publication’s word limit for op-eds. Usually, 500 words is a good target.
- Op-eds can be either rational or emotional, depending on the story you want to tell.