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Write an Op-ed (For You or Your Client)
And Raise the Odds of Getting It Published

Four facts and a special offer.

 
Rule #1: Don't write your op-ed for the people who read the paper. Write for the editor of the op-ed page.

That person is the only barrier between you and getting published -- no one else, no other thing, ever. If you can’t get past the gatekeeper, all your planning for "appealing to the reader" won’t matter because the reader will never see it.

With that in mind, here are four facts you need to know to get the approval of the op-ed page editor:


 
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Editors look for a connection to a topic already in the news. Raising something out of the blue is usually a sign that the writer is peddling a personal interest—an advertisement, really—instead of making a contribution to public debate. Smart op-ed writers lead with a news peg.

Editors need to know quickly what the piece is about. A 750-word piece whose big idea doesn’t pop up until you're halfway through tells the editor that the piece is wordy, unfocused, or both, and likely not worth publishing.

Editors demand structure. Clear organization—claims followed by evidence—shows that a writer knows how to organize information in a way that readers will want to follow.

Editors expect you to make a fact-driven case that leads readers to a conclusion. Make people feel the value of your argument by presenting facts that promote such a feeling; do this by making clear the connection between cause and effect. Build a case, and don't declare that one thing “clearly proves” something else. The reader will be the judge of that, not you.
 
You can learn how to apply these ideas in my new course, How to Write the Op-ed and Get It Published.
 
You receive nearly 90 minutes of instruction in a series of short videos, each of which takes you step by step through writing, polishing, and pitching a professional op-ed suitable for publication. This is the method I teach in the graduate PR program at Georgetown University and in seminars around the world. My students and I have used this approach to get published in The Washington Post, The New York Times, USA Today, and more.

In Part I, I'll show you how to
  • select a timely topic and state it in language that gets attention,
  • write a compelling first paragraph (in the form of a peg, problem, and promise) to show an editor that you know how to write for publication, and
  • present your ideas so that readers want to keep reading.
In Part II, I'll get you over the finish line. You'll learn how to
  • construct arguments that make readers engage with your ideas,
  • find, test, and arrange evidence to maximize persuasive value, and 
  • write a short, pointed closing that confronts readers with a clear choice.

You have to impress just one person, the editor of the op-ed page.


Buy it now, own it forever.

I hope you'll buy this course and invest in your skills. Click here and start learning right away.

(Here's a bonus: use the code OPED40 at checkout to reduce your price to $40.)


 


Mike's Calendar
Topic Organization Date Location
Creative Writing Georgetown University Through Oct 28 (admission now closed) Washington, DC
Private Session: Individual Speaker Coaching Federal Government October Washington, DC
October Writing Webinar Members of Mike Long's The Magic Show October 9 Online
PR Writing Series Trade Association October 14 Washington, DC
Proposal Writing Series Engingeering Firm November Washington, DC
European Festival of Political Rhetoric European Speechwriters Network Nov 6-27 Online
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