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How to write and place an op-ed piece

Op-eds (opinion-editorials) are a strong public education and advocacy vehicle. They are, therefore, a popular communications tool. Newspapers and sites gets lots of op-ed submissions — so, getting an op-ed published can sometimes be difficult. When writing an op-ed piece, you can increase your chance of getting it published by doing the following:

(1) Comment on and inform a current event or debate.

(2) Be timely. The news cycle moves on to the next story quickly. If you want to expand upon or comment on today's news, you will need to submit your essay today or within the next few days. All newspapers now accept submissions by e-mail. Check the editorial page of your target publication for submission instructions.

(3) Use the local angle. Your local newspaper will be more inclined to publish an essay by local authors. Remember that if you target The New York Times and The New York Times only as the place you would like to have your essay published, you will be competing with senior federal officials and members of Congress for op-ed space. Additionally, where you submit your op-ed depends on the audience you would like to reach.

(4) Write tight. The typical published op-ed is between 500 and 750 words.

(5) Make a unique point. Know what your target publication published recently about your topic, especially on the op-ed page, and don't repeat those arguments.

(6) Use behavioral science literature to support your argument.

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