I had a letter published in my local newspaper yesterday. It’s only the second one I’ve ever written to them, and I have a 100% success rate so far.
Without trying to sound smug, I was confident it would be published without any changes – and it was. After all, I train companies in letter writing techniques, so it would be pretty embarrassing if I couldn’t manage to write a good one myself.
So how do you go about writing a good letter for publication? Here are some techniques that I used when writing mine.
1) Make it topical and relevant. My letter was in response to a story in that day’s paper about the council considering changing school holiday dates.
2) Write an attention grabbing intro, explaining why your opinion is relevant.
3) Use words that fit the style of the publication you’re writing for. Local papers like words like “ludicrous” which are unambiguous and (shh!) slightly exaggerated. I also included a couple of puns at the end.
4) Write in short, clear sentences. The average number of words per sentence in my letter is 16, with a word length of just 4.3 characters. The language used is simple and straightforward.
5) Back up your argument. I’ve written that I don’t believe current proposals will work andadded some reasons why not.
6) End it well. Don’t be too abrupt and don’t ramble.
So if you have something you want to sound off about, don’t hold back. Just follow the tips above and you’ll see your name in print in no time.