That's Your Opinion

Everyone wants the front page of the Wall Street Journal. Who wouldn't want a feature article in Business Week? How about a personal profile in the largest paper in the state? These are all attainable PR goals, but they are few and far between for most companies and organizations. That's where Opinion/Editorials (OpEds) and letters to the editor come in.

Don't scoff! These placements pack quite a punch and serve to keep you in the public eye. It's called "filling the pipeline," and it's one important aspect of a good PR strategy.

  • Opinion/Editorials - Commonly known as OpEds, these can be very significant in size. Nearly every news and trade publication in print has a guest column section. Your company may not be launching its great new music product for three more months, but your CEO can be out there writing about the impact of the Napster ruling.

    Think of the power you wield. You get to spout off about a subject you know very well, with very little editorial direction from anyone. A dream come true, right? Pretty close. Yet choose your words wisely. You can't claim you were misquoted when you're quoting yourself. Also, most publications will not allow shameless self-promotion. You need to really have an opinion and back yourself up with facts, figures and solid logic.

  • Letters to the editor - These few column inches are diamonds in the rough. While OpEds need to be arranged with the editors and are rarely published completely unsolicited, letters to the editor work in the opposite fashion. This is the forum for unsolicited opinions.

    Try this experiment. Pick up any publication in which you would like to be featured. Find an article on a topic that you know rather well. Then, if possible, pick something in the article that you disagree with and put your two cents in. Better yet, explain why you feel the author missed an opportunity to discuss another very important aspect of the topic, then proceed to explain it yourself. The more opinionated you are, the better. Just keep in mind, you usually won't get more than a hundred words, so get to the point quickly.

An effective public relations strategy is about more than just making a big splash in the biggest publications. Smaller drops can lead to a tidal wave of placements, ensuring that your company or organization stays visible and top-of-mind.

For nearly 30 years, Berry Associates has been helping companies large and small tell their side of the story. Give us a call and we'll help you find your voice.