Ever get an itch to let people know what you think about the issue of food trucks? Ever thought about writing it down and sending it to your local newspaper? Food truck owners can and should do this by writing op-eds or letters to the editor. It’s not difficult, and can help inform the public and rally support for the industry even if they’ve never stood in line at a food truck.
Letters to the editor are just short letters submitted to the editor of a publication that are sometimes printed for their readers. Op-Eds are longer opinion pieces that appear on the page opposite the editorial page.
When most people think about letters to the editor or op-eds, they think about newspapers, but don’t forget about online news organizations.
Writing Op-Eds is a great way to get your message out to your local market in a medium where you control what is written. In addition, elected local officials usually keep track of what’s being written as a way to keep up with issues their community care about.
Writing Op-Eds and Letters to the Editor can:
- Raise your (or your food truck association’s) credibility
- Increase public awareness of food truck issues
- Rally public support for the local food truck industry
8 Tips For Writing Op-Eds And Letters To The Editor
Keep It Simple
Be sure you limit yourself to one subject and be brief when writing Op-Eds. List your concerns and present the facts. Keep it simple and don’t base it on emotion. Stay civil since you typically won’t win any converts by ranting.
Keep up with current events. Timing is the key when writing Op-Eds. The more relevant your topic the better your chances of being published.
Space is limited, so the fewer points you make the better. If you can’t work your main point into one or two sentences, then you need to refine it. Identify a few points that support your argument and build around them. Make an effort to anticipate and refute the arguments of your opposition.
Make Your Main Points First
Get to the point quickly and convince the reader that it’s worth their time to keep reading. Draw them in by making sure that the first paragraph catches their attention. When writing an op-ed, state the conclusion first. Make your strongest point early, then use the rest of your space to support that point.
Explain Why Readers Should Care
Put yourself in the place of the reader looking at the article. At the end of every few paragraphs, ask yourself: “so what?” Then answer the question. What will your suggestions accomplish? What should they mean to the reader? Offer specific recommendations. Help educate them without being preachy.
Don’t Overstate Your Case
Use short sentences and paragraphs. Your writing should be crisp and concise.
Make Ending Memorable
As mentioned, it’s important to have a strong opening paragraph, but it’s also important to close well. You want a short, strong closing paragraph that neatly, summarizes your argument. Restate your position and call people to action.
Provide “About” Information
When writing Op-Eds be sure to provide your contact information, as well as one or two sentences describing who you are, what you do, and any other information that you think the editor should be aware of.
The Bottom Line
Any individual or food truck association that wants to have an impact on food truck issues should make it a point to have a regular schedule of someone from the group writing op-eds and letters to your local media outlets or here at Mobile Cuisine.
You can submit your Op-Eds via email admin [at] mobile-cuisine [dot] com or through Facebook.
Share your thoughts on this topic in the comment section or our food truck forum.