Publishing letters to the editor and op-eds is a great way to get the attention of your members of Congress. But first, you need to write a piece that tells your story – not just the facts.
Here’s your RAFT for engaging with the media:
Respond to Recent Reports
Find a news article or story that relates to the issue. Make sure you’re responding to a recent story or topic – no more than a few days old.
Ask for Action
Make a specific ask to specific policymakers. Mentioning your members of Congress by name is an important way to make sure they see it.
Find the Facts
Illustrate your argument with one or two facts. Statistics can be helpful in moderation, but too many statistics can be confusing.
Tie It Together
Bring in your personal connection or moral approach to the issue. State your connections to the community as they’re relevant to the points you’re making.
Tips for submitting letters to the editor or op-eds
Keep it short: Newspapers are most likely to publish letters to the editor that are short and make one succinct point (that is supported with facts or quotes from validators!). Check the newspaper you’re submitting to for a word limit. If you can’t find a limit, keep it to 150 words or fewer.
Write from your own voice: Your piece is more likely to get published if it comes from your voice. Don’t be afraid to tell your story and to appeal to the audience from the heart as well as the head.
Submit it to the newspaper: Submit the letter directly to the newspaper (most newspapers have an online submissions page) and follow up by phone or email if you don’t get a response within a week or two. Put the letter in the body of the email to make it easy for the editorial staff to read. As you submit your letter, don’t miss an opportunity to build a relationship with staff.
Report Back: If you’re published, email a link to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can track the impact. Part of an advocacy team? Click here to report your published LTE!
Follow up: Call and email your members of Congress to continue the conversation.