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Pugliese on PR

Tips for writing letters to the editor

By Tina L. Pugliese, APR, Pugliese Public Relations

tina puglieseMany newspapers try to publish as many Letters to the Editor as possible, and they take these letters seriously. Make them short, concise and focused on a single point.  This is also an effective venue for addressing a controversial issue, clarifying any misconceptions or inaccurate reporting about your business or product, or introducing a new product. But regardless of the purpose, it should never be more than 3 to 5 paragraphs.

Five Tips for Writing a Letter to the Editor

1. Check with your local media outlet to inquire about guidelines on length, deadlines and whether the letter will be edited.  Editors will likely choose a few short letters rather than long ones.  Be concise. 
2. Write immediately when you see a topic of interest, one that can be tied to current issues.
3. The letter should be factual. Support statements with localized statistics and facts.
4. Stick to the issue. Avoid partisan or divisive remarks. 
5. Don’t send generic letters. Editors will not use them.

What does it do?

Like an editorial piece, a letter to the editor can allow your comments to be presented with minimal mediation or interpretation by the paper itself. This requires you to keep the letter short.

When to use it?

 Use it when you want to comment on a current story and/or its coverage without mediation and an op-ed piece is not warranted (because you do not have enough to say on the matter, because you do not think they will print an op-ed piece for you, or because you do not have enough time to research or write one).

Important things about writing a letter

Keep it short. Notice how long the published letters to the editor usually are and try to stay within those boundaries to avoid someone cutting your comments.

Criticize objectively. It you must criticize the publication itself, do it in a calm and objective manner, backing up any claims you make with facts and concrete examples.

Try to ensure a human face. People respond best to human stories, accounts and comments.

Sign the letter. Make sure you sign the letter and provide the paper with your name and address; otherwise they will usually not even consider publishing it.

Do not overdo it. People who write more than one letter a month are dismissed as crackpots.

Pugliese on PR appears every other Monday only in Palm Beach Her previous column can be found here.

Tina L. Pugliese, APR is an executive coach and counselor for Pugliese Public Relations, a communications firm in Boynton Beach, Florida. Pugliese is an accredited member of the Public Relations Society of America, and is the author of the book, Public Relations for Pharmacists, and e-books, Marketing Your Business for Success, How To Work With The Media, Public Relations Manual — A Guide for Entrepreneurs, and the PR Survival Kit.  She can be reached at (561) 889-3575 and by email at  Her web site is

Article excerpted from e-book, PR Survival Kit, by Tina L. Pugliese, APR.



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