Thursday, November 13, 2008

What's your opinion?

These days anyone can publish an op-ed piece ... by simply posting an opinion story on his or her own blog. However, if your blog has yet to reach a readership of hundreds of thousands you may want consider a more traditional method to reach target audiences - drafting an opinion piece with the intent of getting it published in a printed newspaper or magazine.

Recently at a media panel hosted by c21, Ken Foskett, editor of the opinion pages for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, shared what he looks for when considering which op-ed submissions make it to print. The submission must be well-written, take a strong stand on one side of an issue or topic, and connect with timely news.

Coincidentally, at about the same time, two of our non-profit clients asked us for suggestions or "best practices" for writing and placing op-ed articles. While compiling these best practices and guidelines, we came across a useful article and "checklist" for writing op-ed pieces from former journalist John McLain. Below are 10 items from his checklist:

  • Focus tightly on one issue or idea – in your first paragraph

  • Express your opinion then base it on factual, researched or first-hand information

  • Be timely, controversial but not outrageous

  • Be personal and conversational

  • Have a clear editorial viewpoint – come down hard on one side of the issue

  • Educate your reader without being preachy

  • Issue a call to action

  • Use clear, powerful, direct language

  • Avoid clich├ęs and jargon

  • Appeal to the average reader

You know what they say about opinions ... yep, everyone has one. And, if you articulate your organization's opinion or position well, it might actually be heard.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Branding and Positioning = Blogging

A study called "Harnessing the Power of Blogs," sponsored research by BuzzLogic and conducted by JupiterResearch, a Forrester Research company, recently was released.

The coverage about the study, posted on ClickZ, claims blogs influence buying/purchasing more than social sites. But, after careful review, I believe the correct statement should be advertisements on blogs influence buying/purchasing more than advertisements on social sites. Regardless, there are some great stats on blog use and response to advertisements on blogs.

And, according to the story, a blog "plays a greater role than social networks, likely because bloggers establish themselves as an authority on a topic, particularly in niche areas, and create a relationship with the consumer."

The point? Blogging is quickly becoming the new "executive positioning" and "thought leadership" tactic. Many clients want to be viewed as leaders in their respective industries or have their executives positioned as thought leaders, but shy away from blogs potentially due to the interactive or two-way feedback mechanism, but is that really so scary? Really ... what's your reason NOT to blog?