How To Write An Effective Letter To The Editor (LTE)2019-01-06T23:45:41-07:00

If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter.” Blaise Pascal

Letters to the editor (LTEs) are an important community advocacy tool. An effective letter to the editor can:

  • Educate the community and sway public opinion
  • Get the attention of elected officials
  • Get publicity for issues and/or solutions
  • Influence votes and policy decisions

Anyone of any experience level can write a letter to the editor of their local paper, but newbies might be intimidated to try. Don’t worry! We’ve prepared a these tips and tools to help you start writing effective letters to the editor today!

Get our LTE Guide

Our Letter to the Editor Guide is a great starting point for new writers with zero experience or experienced writers looking to improve their LTEs. Download or print out this worksheet to guide you through the steps of writing and submitting a LTE today!

Join our Letter Team

Join our Letter Team! Some community members want to step up their advocacy and make a bigger difference, but don’t have time or desire to advocate in person. Join our Letter Team to use the power of your words, written from the comfort of your own computer in your own time, to move the needle on the issues that matter to you.

Quick Tips for writing LTEs

  • Stay in the word count!
    • 200-300 words for an LTE (some papers limit to 200 words)
    • 500-600 words for an Op-Ed
  • Mantra: EPIC [Engage (hook), Problem (why should we care), Inform on the solution, Call for Action]
  • Don’t bury the lede. Put your main point in the first sentence.
    • But hook them with a tie into a recent LTE/Op-Ed/Editorial/article, personal story, current event, pop culture reference, or counter-intuitive point [Slate Pitch].
  • Body: Include a fact or two
    • a one sentence summary of what the opposition’s point is
      • “critics say…”
    • then knock it down: Support your point with a paragraph of evidence (e.g., statistics, studies by experts not affiliated with your organization, lessons of history, examples of how other countries handle the same problem, personal stories, etc.).
      • “Recent studies find…”
    • Conclusion: Call to action “Join me in calling our congressional delegation in supporting X”

Quick Tips courtesy of RESULTS