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    5 Tips for Pitching an Op-Ed

    Have a timely, attention-grabbing opinion? It might be perfect for an op-ed. 


    The op-ed originally got its name because it was placed opposite side of the editorial section in a printed newspaper. Unlike an article written by a journalist on the editorial team, a contributed op-ed author is not necessarily associated with the publication’s writers. Today, op-eds are intended to persuade readers with a strong, informed opinion or argument. 


    Why op-eds?


    There are many reasons why a PR pro might pitch their client for an op-ed. Op-eds or contributed content is an opportunity to share a first-person perspective and opinion on a relevant topic to a publication's large audience. It also offers an opportunity for a company’s name to be printed alongside the byline (sometimes even with a link to the company’s website), increasing overall awareness and SEO value for a brand. Op-eds also position a company’s spokesperson or executive as a thought leader in their given industry through a reputable third-party ‘endorsement.’  Finally, op-eds or contributed content articles allow the writer to completely control the narrative since the content is written from their point of view and in their own words.



    5 tips for pitching an op-ed


    Pitching an op-ed is slightly different from your typical pitch to the media. These five tips will make the process much easier. 



    1. Research op-ed guidelines and coverage


    Before you pitch an op-ed to any publication, there are a few things you should know. First, what are the publication’s guidelines for op-eds or contributed content? Research who to send pitches to, how the publication handles submissions, and what elements need to be included in your pitch. For example, the New York Times opinion team requests all guest essays be submitted via a form with detailed instructions. Other publications request op-ed pitches to be sent via email. Just like you would do with any pitch to a journalist, follow the preferred method of pitching. 


    It’s also important to read the publication’s last few weeks or months of opinion articles to make sure your topic hasn’t been written about. If it has, does your article offer a contrarian opinion or unique perspective? Continue with your pitching. If not, find a new publication that hasn’t recently published op-eds about the same topic.



    2. Build a relationship with the editors


    Great PR pros are excellent at building relationships with the media. Leverage your strong relationships with editors to collect helpful information on details like upcoming stories, whether the publication is interested in an article on your topic, or insights into editorial guidelines. 



    3. Create an outline or write a full draft before pitching


    Pitching op-eds is not a one-size-fits-all process. Some publications, like TechCrunch and Harvard Business Review, appreciate an in-depth overview or complete outline before they consider placing op-eds or contributed essays. Others, like Fast Company and the New York Times, require fully drafted content up front for consideration. Even if your target publication isn’t picky on format, it’s valuable to have at least an outline ready to go. This will give editors a sense of the direction of the piece and what valuable opinion the author can provide to the newspaper. With more information, an editor can make a more informed decision to accept or reject the pitch.



    4. Include the who/why/how upfront in the pitch


    Opinion editors are busy people. The strongest pitches to op-ed editors outline who the author is, why the topic matters, and the opinion they present in the article. In our Pitches that Placed series, the PR pro explains why using this technique in a pitch to TechCrunch worked to land the article. 


    “It made the editor’s life easier. By opening the pitch with exactly what you’re offering, why and how the publication could take it, you take the need for the receiving editor/journalist to figure out the necessary details and make it easier for them to say yes to the submission."



    5. Be patient and follow up strategically


    Most outlets take at least a week or more to return feedback on a pitch. Be patient. A follow-up may be needed if more than seven business days go by with no response. Some publications even indicate how long you can expect to hear from their editors. The NYT responds within three business days. HBR’s review process can take several weeks. Others who receive a large number of submissions, such as TechCrunch, may not respond to all pitches due to the sheer volume of requests. If you’ve been in contact with the editor in charge of op-eds, following up with them is appropriate if you haven’t heard back in some time. Follow our tips for a strategic follow-up strategy to increase the chances of receiving a response.   


    If your op-ed submission isn’t accepted by your first-choice publication, don’t give up. Work with your client to find the next-best home for their written work, so they can share their opinions with the world. Stay persistent!






    Want to land a placement in a top publication like Forbes? Try OnePitch for free, submit your client/brand information, get your curated media list, and start pitching directly on your OnePitch profile.


    Learn how to pitch editors and journalists on #CoffeeWithAJournalist. See more examples of pitches that landed on The TypeBar.


    Do you have a pitch that landed your client exceptional coverage that you want to highlight? Email us at with your pitch and 3-5 reasons why you believe it worked.


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