We at The Lowe Group enjoy a snarky article every now and then.  Fans of The Onion, we loved this headline, “CNBC: Anyone who owns a suit can come on television.”  It’s good to keep a sense of humor about the real challenges of getting your company and experts into the media.  Case in point: it is incredibly hard to place editorials.

This is why we were drawn to the sarcastic article by Tom Vogel that appeared in PR Daily: “Why Your Op-Ed Will Never Get Published.” Amid his litany of op-ed failures are some smart and valuable lessons on placing editorials.

Getting an editorial placed in a major national publication is a longshot, and it is no wonder these publications are extremely selective – they want to keep readers engaged on the topics that are most important to them right now.

Follow these tips to get your organization’s opinion in a major national publication:

  1. Make it timely. Your opinion may be valuable to readers, but it will be more valuable if you can tie it to what is in the news today, not two weeks ago. If it’s going to take you more than a day to write your response, don’t bother.
  2. Don’t regurgitate. Assume the reader has read the article you’re responding to. Start with your argument rather than reiterating theirs.
  3. Take a stand. Editorials should not be wishy washy. Instead of spending a lot of time describing the issue at hand, use the limited wordcount you have (sometimes only 300 words) to offer a clear opinion. Articulate why the opposing view is wrong.
  4. Provoke dissent. If everyone agrees with your point of view, then the editorial page editor is simply allowing you to sing to the choir.
  5. Let the big dog talk. Make sure you share a bio demonstrating bonafides. Editorials tend to come from CEOs, chairs, honorables, and other serious titles.
  6. Take a swing at the other side. Lunge at your opponent by identifying and addressing significant areas of disagreement.
  7. Channel your inner Hemmingway. Concise, well written prose is essential. Editorials can run anywhere from 300 to 700 words … not a lot of space.
  8. Take out your bullhorn. A call to action is essential. What steps should readers take to support your view? Describe the consequences of inaction.
  9. Don’t re-gift. While we love using well written educational and thought leadership pieces in multiple forums, try not to waste the editor’s time by submitting these as editorials. These are two different styles of writing, so make sure what you are submitting is written in editorial style.

Editorial pages are filled with outside voices. You can increase your odds of joining the debate by being a student of editorial writing and paying attention to these tips.