Tips & Tricks for Writing an Op-Ed While on Campus

Op-ed:

  • A section of a publication that publishes personal opinions
  • Usually between 750 and 900 words in length 
  • Personal and conversational style — not too verbose 

What makes for a good op-ed?

  1. Writing about an issue that affects your daily life, and/or community
  2. A sharp opinion on a current issue that is controversial
  3. A call to action  

How to publish an op-ed

  1. Figure out who your audience is — who are you trying to reach? (ex. the larger student body, female millennials, undecided voters).
  2. Which publications will help you reach this audience? (ex. Student newspaper, campus alumni magazine, local newspaper or website, or self-blogging site such as Medium.)
  3. Develop a relationship with the desired publication — reach out to the opinions editor, submit your piece online, let them know what you are working on, and gauge the reaction. If they seem hesitant, or are not getting back to you in a timely manner, pitch somewhere else.
  4. When you’re ready to send it, include a brief message that reminds the editor who you are, why you’re submitting the piece and your contact information.
  5. If your op-ed is accepted for publication, the editor(s) may suggest edits. Be flexible and open to changes, but do not let them turn your op-ed into something that does not reflect your core views and values. Hold your ground!
  6. When published, spread the word on your piece, especially by sharing on Facebook, Twitter or other social media platforms.