The information in this article was taught to me by the excellent Daniel Nisman, an independent journalist and political commentator on the Middle East, and founder of Levantine Group, a geopolitical risk and research consultancy.
So you want to be seen. To be heard. To be acknowledge for the genius that you most certainly are.
The most traditional way to do this is by posting content to your own blog.
The second most common way is to publish press releases and hope someone picks them up and writes an article about you.
And the less common, but often more effective approach is to write an op-ed for a newspaper.
Why write op-eds in the first place?
An op-ed, short for “opinion editorial” is the part of newspaper that is open to the public to express their own opinion instead, of the paper’s unbiased *cough* journalistic view on a matter.
There are several key benefits to writing an op-ed:
When writing an op-ed, the best thing is to get into the mindset of an editor, and determine the appeal of your op-ed from their perspective. In general, they will be looking at the following criteria, in order of importance:
When thinking of a creative approach to an op-ed you want to write, it helps to remind yourself that although you may be an expert on a subject, most people may know nothing about it. Don’t underestimate your knowledge! explaining something that is simple to you in a creative way might be the only thing you need to do.
There are basically two types of op-eds, opinion pieces and analysis. The former will have more of a personal bias, arguing both sides of an argument but ultimately concluding with your own personal opinion on the subject being discussed. The latter simply analyzes both sides of a subject, but doesn’t result in a personal opinion.
Of course, you analysis of a subject might be very different than other people’s, but you don’t go about imposing your opinion about the steps that should be taken. Here’s an example of a conclusion of an opinion piece: “therefore, it is imperative that the US invade Iraq”; versus an analysis: “the US possesses military superiority at this time and need not be afraid of repercussion in the case that it decides to invade Iraq”.
Different newspapers prefer opinion pieces over analysis, and it helps to have this in mind in advance – the New York Times for example, rarely publishes opinion pieces.
Here are some things to keep in mind when writing an interesting and engaging op-ed.
So you wrote the most wonderful post in the world. Now, how to get it approved and published? Here are some key strategies to keep in mind to increase your chances of getting published by a newspaper:
Two final notes: don’t submit more than one op-ed per month to a given newspaper. And keep on trying to get your op-eds published; study the styles that each paper covers, read well-written op-eds for inspiration, and don’t be afraid to ask a rejecting editor what changes you could make in the future to fit his or her needs.
There you have it, a wealth of tips on how to get write an op-ed that will get you published and win you fame and fortune beyond your wildest dreams.
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