Writing an Effective Letter to the Editor
Writing a letter to the editor is a great way to express your opinion and educate the public about natural health issues. It can be a highly effective way of making an impact in your local community. By targeting local newspapers and magazines you are reaching out to a new audience and helping to spread the news about natural health.
Here are some useful tips on how to write and effective letter to the editor and increase your chances of being published:
1. Review your newspapers / magazine
Each newspaper or magazine will have its own requirements for letters to the editor and the first thing you should do is review these. Requirements should be posted on their website.
2. Make it timely
If you are responding to a recent article or event in your community, make sure that you write as soon as possible. Newspapers need to be reporting on current events, so if you hear of an issue in your community affecting your health freedoms, pick up your pen quickly!
3. Make it relevant
Is your letter a response to an article you have read? Letters to the editor generally have a better chance of being published if they are in response to an article you have seen in a specific publication. There is often at least one article relating to health in most publications. Get creative and see how you can make it about health freedom!
4. Get to the point
Letters to the editor should be short and to the point. Your letter should not exceed 200 words, and some larger newspapers will not accept more than 150 words. Your letter may also be edited by the editor, so make sure that every sentence makes the point you want to make. Since you have to be concise, limit your letter to one or two points.
5. Send it from one person
Your letter should be from a single person. If you belong to a group and the opinion of your letter is endorsed by that group, ensure that the letter is signed by one person, preferably the president or executive director. You must include your name, street address, and phone number. Newspapers will not run anonymous letters.
6. Include a local fact or personal story
While your letter is only meant to express an opinion, local publications like it when you include a fact on how a particular policy affects your community or you personally.
7. Send it via email
Most publications prefer receiving their mail by email. Your letter should be a clean email directed to the attention of the editor and should not be copied to anyone else. You will be able to find the correct email address on the publication’s website,
8. Make your first words count
Your most important point should be made in your opening sentence. Subsequent sentences should be used to re-enforce and substantiate your point.
Handy hint: To test if your letter is focused and to the point, try this: Write your letter, and then go back through it reading only the first sentence of each paragraph, can you tell what the letter says just from those sentences? If you can’t, it may mean that you are trying to get too much in, or you may need one more strong fact to make your case. Keep re-working your opening sentences until they flow into a coherent message.
9. Ask a friend to edit for you
You would be surprised at how many mistakes authors do not pick up themselves. Ask a friend to read your letter for you and provide you with honest feedback. Did it make sense to them? Was it interesting? Also ask them to point out any grammatical errors you may have made.