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PR & Communications how to

[The ready-made feature III] Reincarnating your opinion piece

In parts one and two of my series on the opinion piece and its role in the PR mix, I defined what opinion pieces are, why they are such a vital PR tool and the mechanics of pulling together an op-ed and getting it placed.
In this third and final part, let's look at what do to if your piece is rejected, as well as how to maximise the impact of your content.

Rejection

"Eep! My opinion piece has been rejected!" As we know, in the PR game, this happens. Even the most beautifully crafted, succinct, eloquent prose can be turned down for reasons out of your control.

If your target publication has rejected the piece, feel free to submit it to the next most appropriate publication on your list, or to re-use it in another way.

Alternatively, if the first journalist you pitched is just sitting on the piece, you are not over stepping the mark at all by contacting them and asking if they want to use it, as they have been offered the article on an exclusive basis.

Ways to extend

Either way, there are a number of ways of extending the life of your opinion piece beyond a single publication.
  1. Tip off other media such as radio or TV, so that when the piece appears, they can arrange a follow-up interview.
  2. Once the piece has appeared, publicise its publication via social media and on your and your client's online platforms. Spark a debate within your community.
  3. Cut up the opinion piece and use excerpts as quotes in other press releases or articles.
  4. Add the article to your client's sales team's collateral. Material such as published opinion pieces is a great credibility enhancer (just check the copyright rules of the initial publication first).
  5. Use the article in your supporting documentation when pitching a client for a speaker slot, or in an award submission.
Executed well, an opinion piece can be one of the most effective PR tactics you have in your arsenal, generating coverage in a strategic title and then continuing to work for you in the shape of spin-off coverage on a variety of other channels.

A version of this article first appeared in volume four of the PR News Media Training Guidebook, published by Access Intelligence LLC. The publication offers tips, best practices, key strategies and practical checklist from media training experts intended to increase PRs' chances of success as they send their messages out into the 24/7 media cycle.


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About Vanessa Clark

Hi! I'm a freelance journalist, copywriter and editor based in Cape Town, South Africa. I write as a journalist and for corporates and agencies. My specialties are business-to-business and technology writing. I like unpacking complex ideas so they are more easily understood - especially when it involves innovation taking place in South Africa, and the rest of Africa.
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