If you flip to the editorial page of your local newspaper, you'll see a wide variety of op-ed pieces.
(article continues below)
Some are well-written and persuasive, while others hover between embarrassing and inept.
As a business leader who has incorporated op-ed pieces into your PR and marketing plan, it's important to make sure your op-ed piece leans more toward the persuasive than the inept. A badly written op-ed piece can impact more than your personal pride. It can also have a dire effect on your business.
The best op-ed pieces have several characteristics in common. Instead of just telling you what those characteristics are, we've decided to show you three great op-ed pieces and then discuss the characteristics that make each of them so powerful.
Geo-Greening by Example (Tom Friedman, The New York Times)
Tom Friedman's name is undoubtedly one of the reasons this piece was published. If you're a highly successful author and you're on staff at the paper, your op-ed will probably rank high on the editorial radar. But when you read this piece, you realize why Friedman is so successful. In classic op-ed structure, it emphasizes a single point over and over (i.e. the U.S. is doing nothing to reduce oil consumption), and wraps up with at least three prescriptive remedies for the situation.
Why the Internet Should Win the Nobel Peace Prize (Jamil Zaki, Wired.com)
This piece differs from many op-ed pieces in that it was written for an online publication. As its name suggests, Wired.com specializes in technological content. If ever there was a place for gadget geeks to wander toward techno-speak, Wired.com is it. But instead of loading the piece up with technical jargon, the writer tones it down to make it appealing for a mainstream audience. Smart move – that's probably why it came up so quickly on our search engine.
Sinking Strategy (Leon Sigal, Boston Globe)
One of the reasons this op-ed is so effective is because it advances the cause of a specific organization. If you scroll down to the bio, you will find that the author is the director of the Northeast Asia Cooperative Security Project. The point of the piece is that the international community should pursue a serious negotiation strategy with North Korea. With a tone that is both opinionated and respectful, the writer advances his organization and establishes himself as an authority in the field.