Your Opinion Needed: Make an Impact this Election Cycle by Writing Your Own Op-Ed
October 25, 2010, Arlington, VA—Believe it or not, voters in your community are interested in what you have to say about candidates and issues.  Think about it, when you need a dentist who do you ask for advice?  You will most likely ask someone you know and trust in your community.  So, it only makes sense that voters want to know how their neighbors feel about the candidates and issues that impact their lives, especially right before an election.  

Writing an Op-Ed for you local paper can help bring attention and credibility to the candidate or cause of your choice in your community.  It may even convince some un-decided voters to agree with your point of view.

Before you get started on writing your own Op-Ed, please keep the following seven points in mind.

1.    Relevant -- Make sure your Op-Ed is relevant to what is going on in your state or local community.  You may want to weigh in on the national political environment, but you are an expert at what is going on in your community.  So, choose a topic that is important to the readers in your area.

2.    Concise -- Be short and concise.  Your Op-Ed should be no longer than 700 words in length.  If you can get it down to 500 words even better.  Space in most publications is very valuable real estate and it is rare that anything longer than this will be published.  Also, choose only two main points and don’t get off topic.

3.    Clear -- Write clearly and use language that a majority of people understand.  So, please don’t use technical language or acronyms.

4.    Connect -- Emotionally connect with readers by personifying the issue you are writing about.  For example, if you are writing about taxes, make sure you explain how taxes affect businesses and families in your area.

5.    Research -- Back up your examples with rational and broadly accepted facts and statistics.  At this point before the election, editors have their antennae up for attack pieces and will most likely not include your letter if it resembles one.

6.    Recognize -- Acknowledge the other side.  There is a chance that the editors will also run a piece from someone opposing your point of view on the same page.  You don’t have to spend a lot of time on the opposing view point, but briefly touch on it.

7.    Reinforce -- Summarize your message and tie it back to your main point in the opening.  Use the ending as one last chance to reinforce your message.

Remember, you know what issues are most important to you and your neighbors. You know who will best serve your community’s interests once elected.  So, voice your opinion now before it is too late.  There is still time to make a big impact on this election.

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