Convince People To Your Way of Thinking

Publicists and winery marketing departments are regularly looking to the media to help carry their message. This leads to press releases sent to wine writers, samples sent to reviewers and phone calls pitching stories. One venue that wineries and wine companies cultivate are the editorial pages of newspapers. They should.

The Op-Ed page is one of the most read sections of all newspapers and nearly every newspaper, be it daily or weekly, publish such a section. Those wineries that have an interest in current events should not think the Op-Ed is for others. But it’s important to approach this kind of pitch correctly.

This Placement of an opinion piece in the Op-Ed Section of the Chicago Tribune came only after pursuing it in just the right manner. Before you think about trying to get a piece in an Op-Ed Section, consider the following:

1. Is the topic you want to offer an opinion on timely? It needs to be
2. Will the person writing the opinion piece have some authority on the issue? They need to.

If you can answer in the affirmative to those two questions then you need to move on to other considerations.

1. What is the policy for submission of an Op-Ed Piece?
2. How long (how many words) do the editors want them to be?
3. Is there a style of writing that is preferred by the editors?
4. Is there a format that you must submit the piece in?

Often times you can find answers to these questions on the newspaper’s website where they will very nicely list what must be done to be considered for a Op-Ed piece. But there is a better way.

Call the editor of the Opinion page. Have a 10 second pitch ready that answers the first set of questions above. Then ask what is the best way to submit a piece. Nothing is more important than personal contact. Nothing is more important than actually reaching out and being able to offer the editor a compelling, timely opinion piece by someone who is an authority on the issue.

The style in which an opinion piece needs to be written is an entirely different topic. But let me just say that there is one thing common to all good opinion pieces: You are trying to convince people to your way of thinking.


6 Responses

  1. Peggy - May 27, 2008

    Great job. I hope residents of IL appreciate what you are doing to bring this craziness to light.

  2. Nancy - May 28, 2008

    I saw your piece in the Trib last night. Excellent. One small problem with the whole direct shipping controversy: convincing or rather educating those who don’t care much about wine that people on your side of the fight aren’t every bit the special interests that the wholesalers are. From outside, “SWRA” looks a lot like “WSWA.” Are there any other products hampered by direct shipping laws, as wine is? Maybe, if there are practically none, that might help open eyes.
    Thanks again, from this corner of IL.

  3. Christina - May 28, 2008

    What a great article in the Tribune! I actually went to read the reader’s comments online and it was inspiring to see that Illinois residents do care about this issue. Thank you for getting the word out!

  4. dhonig - May 29, 2008

    One more thing helps – a local connection. If you ever lived in the community, had relatives there, vacationed there, or even drove through there, tell them. If your own community has a connection through similar economies, size, relationship to the rest of the state, anything, tell them that. The smaller the paper, the more local the editorial page, so make not just the issue, but the author, as local as possible.

  5. genevelyn - May 29, 2008

    I am surprised to see “call the editor” on your list. So, these folks aren’t too busy/annoyed to take a call from someone they don’t know pitching a piece?

  6. Tom Wark - May 29, 2008

    Sometimes they are too busy. But what do you care. All they can do is say, “email me something” or ” Call me tomorrow”. My experience however is that the editor is receptive to a well considered pitch.

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