PR Tips | How to get your op-ed in the New York Times

PR Tips | How to get your op-ed in the New York Times

“How can I get my op-ed in the New York Times?” That’s one of the most frequent questions I’m asked. And for good reason. The publication boasts a circulation of 1.25 million, making it one of the top papers in the United States.

While it’s nearly impossible to guarantee placement in any publication, there are some important guidelines aspiring op-ed writers should follow if they want to increase their chances of getting published in a top outlet.

In fact, I recently came across a piece in the New York Times in which Trish Hall, editor of the paper’s Op-Ed and Sunday Review sections, offers a few important tips to writers.

Below is what I’ve found to be some of her most helpful points. So if you’ve ever wondered how to increase your chances of catching an editor’s eye, keep reading …

1. Keep your op-ed within the word limit. This is crucial. For most publications, that means under 800 words. Hall quips that op-eds shouldn’t be “so long that they’re traumatizing.”

2. Write in your own voice. As Hall explains “Don’t write the way you think important people write, or the way you think important pieces should sound.”

Which brings us to…

3. Don’t use jargon. Even at a publication as prestigious as the New York Times, Hall emphasizes that “We like to read conversational English that pulls us along.”

4. Focus on a specific topic. Top papers are receiving thousands of submissions each day, so without a narrow focus, the piece can easily get lost in the shuffle. In Hall’s words: “It will seem too familiar.” Therefore it’s essential that the op-ed is timely and makes a clear argument.

Again, I can’t guarantee that these tips will get an op-ed placed in the New York Times, but I can say from experience that following these general rules will greatly increase your chances. You may want to read the full piece by Trish Hall.


Elizabeth Scafuro