4 essential elements for a persuasive op-ed

For communicators hoping to get their organization’s viewpoint into circulation, certain threads must come together. Here’s what writers should consider.

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As a ghostwriter, I’m often asked to draft op-eds. Yet contrary to what you might think, writing is the easy part; it’s the other stuff that’s hard.

Perhaps the hardest part is what must be accomplished before ever setting pen to paper. For example, it’s one thing to have a great idea; it’s another to convey that passion with precision.

So, the next time someone asks for help with an op-ed, take a step back and first address the following four issues. (If you’re feline-friendly, you can remember this formula as “CATS.”)

1. Credibility

Here’s a hard truth: Fandom does not equal expertise.

I might love my Tesla, but if I want to opine about the Model 3, then I must demonstrate some kind of credibility about cars. After all, opinion without experience is already endlessly available on social media.

Check out the bylines in the top op-ed pages and you’ll see that you’re competing against: CEOs talking about their industry and prime ministers talking about foreign relations. (Their positions may be pablum, but that’s another matter.)

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