Opinion-editorials (op-eds) are a standard way organizations, private sector and nonprofits,  inform the public about issues.  That’s done as a service to society.

For example, a family restaurant presents research about what kinds of dinner conversations develop children’s confidence and public speaking skills.  However, this exposure in the media can simultaneously enhance the restaurant’s brandname, bring in new business, and confirm in the minds of the regulars that they have selected the right place to dine.

At one time, op-eds, which are really commentaries, were only published in mainstream media.  Those include local and national newspapers and magazines, public service announcements on radio and television, and trade publications.  To get that placement, back then you had to pitch to the editor or producer that the topic and point of view are something the public needs to know about.  The same thing applies now, only that there is more competition to be heard.

That means that your pitch must be custom-made to stand out from all the others approaching particular editors and producers.  And that must be done on an exclusive basis.  Ask that media property to get back to you in 10 days so that you can then try somewhere else.  If rejected, then finetune the pitch for another member of the media.  Some media outlets want to see the completed op-ed, not the pitch.  Find that out.  Often the media provides submission guidelines or contact them about preferences.

The good news today is this: Because of social media, you can also publish them on your own blogs, online videos for YouTube, and as a guest commentary on others’ blogs.  Yes, you can do both.  You can have your point of view on safe driving for teenagers published in THE HARTFORD COURANT and on your own and others’ sites.  But each has to have a different angle.

The challenge is to attract readers or viewers and have them share the op-eds with others.  Here are 5  tips from Image Marketing Consultants on how to make your commentary “sticky”

Be topical.  Tie in your op-ed on safe streets with a holiday like Halloween.

Have a provocative headline, first sentence, and first paragraph.  This provides incentive to busy readers and viewers to check out the commentary.

Present in the public interest.   Frame everything to be useful to the public, not to promote your organization.

Include enough information.  From all your data and arguments select out the most persuasive.  Too much will overwhelm.

Create new value.  This might take the form of a survey you have done that has surprising results.  To do that survey you might partner with a business school or professional services firm which would welcome publicity.

Once your op-ed is published or is broadcasted, repurpose or recycle it for pitching to other media for interviews, emailing to prospects and clients/customers, embedding in your media center on your website, posting on your Facebook page, and creating a shortened URL for tweets.

Kate Sirignano, founder of Image Marketing Consultants, invites you to a complimentary consultation on Media Relations, Marketing, Partnerships, Special Events, and Social Media kate@imagemarketingconsultants.com, 203-404-4868.