It doesn't matter where you stand on the issues. What matters just now is your level of skill with op-eds, opinion articles that may be essay or letter length. (For example, the New York Times is currently encouraging 800-word essays from university students, professors, and administrators.) Fortunately, I have some catch-up lessons and cautionary tales to get you up to speed:
- Can everyone on your team write letters to editors and op-eds? If you're going to need to frequently counter or disprove what's out there, you need many utility infielders to handle the op-ed load. Letters to the editor are the short form of the op-ed, and both are on my list of 20 writing tests for communications pros.
- Can your op-ed land the one-two punch? This is the most basic test of whether an opinion article will work, and it's the first thing I look for when reading them. Protip: So do the editors to whom you are submitting.
- Op-eds take a range of formats in the social media age. Here is a quartet of options for social op-eds, and 8 more tools for the op-social world. They range from blogs to video, and everything in between. It's a good time to consider how to turn your social channels toward sharing your point of view.
- Sometimes all you need are some good examples, so here's why Warren Buffet's now-famous 'tax me' op-ed worked so well, from surprise to word choices.
- My 5 fixes for a lame opinion piece will let you save that op-ed that is never going to make it, and turn it into one you can place. And next time, use this list in advance, rather than as a rear-guard action.
Don't get caught unprepared, speechless, or without a message, but do catch me on Twitter, on Google+, and on the don't get caught page on Facebook--all great places to add your comments to the discussion. Subscribe to my monthly newsletter, Speakers & Communicators, to make sure you don't miss a thing on my blogs and get the first news about new workshops and projects.