Do This to Get Your Op-ed Published
Step One: Follow directions.
Do you know why most op-eds get rejected?
It isn’t because of the opinion. It’s because the author didn’t follow the rules.
When you try to publish an op-ed, it isn’t enough to state your opinion in a compelling way. That’s just table stakes.
An editor is just as concerned that your submission meets other criteria, things that have nothing to do with your opinions. Learn what those other things are and you’ll greatly increase your chances of getting in the paper.
Every publication that accepts op-eds has a webpage where they list what they expect. Find that information and make a checklist for yourself. Here are some of the most common elements:
Stay under the maximum word count. Most op-ed editors want pieces of no more than 750. Whatever the number, stay at or below the count. In the editor’s first pass through that huge, daily stack, they’re looking for pieces they won't even bother to read. The first to go are those from writers who won't follow directions.
Send it to the right address in the right way. If the publication says to cut and paste the piece into a form online, cut and paste it. If you’re supposed to send it embedded in an email, don't send an attachment. And don’t email some editor you found on the masthead because you think that will make you stand out. You'll stand out for sure, but not the way you'd like.
Write about something in the news right now. This connection is called a peg and it’s among the first things editors look for.
Back up your opinion with facts, not more opinion. If I want to convince you it’s a pretty day, I’ll tell you the temperature, what the wind is like, and whether it’s clear or overcast – I’ll lead you to the conclusion I have in mind. If your op-ed is all about what you think, believe, or are certain of, you’re providing no objective reason for readers to change their mind – and no reason for an editor to publish you.
It's not enough to write well. Editors want more. Click here.