Weekly Writing Challenge: Write a Letter to the Editor

Writing a letter to the editor of a publication (newspaper, magazine, or even online publication) can have several benefits:

  1. Direct exposure / publicity
  2. Helps build your reputation as an authority source or expert on a subject
  3. Provides a networking opportunity between you and editors

This week's writing challenge is to start using this often-neglected publicity tool by submitting at least one letter to the editor of any publication you choose.

Letters to the editor can be publish online or offline essentially in the same way: you write a letter in response to an editorial in a publication. If you have something interesting to say, and if you have a little bit of luck, your letter will be published. Here are some tips so that you can best take advantage of letters to the editor:

  1. Search for editorials related to your writing specialty or area of expertise.
  2. Don't forget to include your title, company name (if you use one), and web address in the letter. There's no guarantee it will be included (especially in URL form for a print letter), but that's a key to building exposure and authority, so don't forget it.
  3. Submit letters to the editors of small publications far from you. Not only will it be easier to get picked up by a small publication (especially in the beginning), but editors love to show their reach. It looks good for a small newspaper in New Mexico, for example, to have a letter to the editor from someone in NYC. It can increase your chances of being picked up.

Start small. Submit to a small newspaper or even your local newspaper in the beginning, and move your way up to larger outlets as you perfect your writing and submission techniques.

Here are a few resources where you can learn more about writing letters to the editor:

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Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, consultant, and indie author. She runs numerous websites & blogs including All Freelance Writing, Freelance Writing Pros, NakedPR, and Kiss My Biz.

Jenn has 25 years' experience as a professional writer and editor and over 20 years' experience in marketing and PR (working heavily in digital PR, online marketing, social media, SEO, new media, and thought leadership publication). She also has 19 years' professional blogging and web publishing experience (including web development) and around 18 years of experience as an indie author / publisher.

Jenn also writes fiction under multiple pen names and is an Active member of the Horror Writers Association.

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