Should You Do An Op-Ed? Answer These Questions First

Flickr Creative Commons photo by  Jon S .

Flickr Creative Commons photo by Jon S.

Newspapers don’t have the same clout that they used to.

But, in some cases, newspaper placements still wield quite a bit of influence.

This is especially true for op-eds.

In the past, a printed op-ed had a limited reach. Today, a published op-ed can be quickly shared and distributed worldwide.

As a result, getting an op-ed placed in a national outlet — or even a small local paper — can bring a lot of value to organizations that are looking to advocate, raise awareness, or change public opinion.

'It’s no surprise, then, that many communicators still see the op-ed as a powerful tool, especially if thought leadership is a priority for their groups.

And they often devote a lot of time and effort to drafting and attempting to place op-eds on behalf of their organizations’ leaders.

But as someone who has ghostwritten more than my share of op-eds, I can tell you that this is not always an easy process. 

A sharp, well-written op-ed takes time. And there’s no guarantee that the hours (or, in many cases, days) you spend writing your op-ed will pay off with a placement.

So before you decide to try to pen an opinion piece for your top executive or hire an expert ghostwriter to do the job for you, take some time to assess whether an op-ed is the right choice for what you’re looking to accomplish.

There is no set rule for when you should choose to write one, but answering these three questions can help provide clarity:

  1. Is there widespread misunderstanding or lack of awareness about the issue you’re looking to address?

  2. Do you — or does someone in your organization — have a unique perspective or experience that can help make a compelling argument?

  3. Is there an urgent need to change minds or move people to action on your issue?

If the answer is yes to any or all of these, an op-ed is likely worth considering.

Before you take the next step, though,  check out our free e-book, The Op-Ed Option: 5 Simple Steps to Opinion Pieces That Change Minds and Inspire Action.

It’s full of great tips that will help make sure the time and money you invest in your next op-ed is well spent.