Submit a Letter to the Editor

A letter to the editor (LTE) is a way of letting people know what you think in a regularly printed publication. Sending an LTE to your local newspaper is an effective way to reach a large audience, influence opinions and raise awareness about an issue that may not be receiving a lot of media coverage. When enough people submit a letter to the editor on a specific issue through a letter writing campaign, you ultimately are able to generate momentum and create an impression of widespread support or opposition on an issue. LTEs are among the most widely read features in any newspaper or magazine.

  • Make it personal: Share your personal story about being a family child care provider and the impact of your work in the community.
  • Get to the point: Don’t make the reader wait to find out what you have to say. Tell them your key point at the beginning. Clear, well-written letters are likely to be given more serious consideration for publication.
  • Appeal to your audience: Include local references so your piece is relevant to the readership of your target publication. Refer to a relevant article or recent event in your community to make a connection with readers.
  • Outline the problem and provide solutions: Use this as opportunity to educate readers on the importance of the issue and provide solutions to the problem. Be specific whenever you can. 
  • Keep it short: Most newspapers have length requirements of 250-300 words for a letter to the editor. Stick to one subject and keep your letter brief to ensure the important aspects of your piece are not edited out by the newspaper.
  • Choose an optimal time: Letters can be written any time of the year. While newspapers will publish general commentary, it’s even better if your letter is timely to current events or you are using the letter to start a public conversation. A planned series of LTEs can stimulate public interest and generate additional media coverage.
  • Send letters to local and community newspapers. You have a greater chance of getting your letter published in a daily or weekly paper that has a smaller circulation. There’s less competition for space compared to larger publications and editors prioritize the opinions of residents in the area.
  • Digital is the way to go: Almost every print publication accepts letters via email or through a form on the website. Make it easier for editors to review and publish your letter through digital means.

Write an Op-ed

As a family child care professional, you are an expert on early care and education. Your professional and personal experience in this arena gives you an insight that others may not have. Utilize that expertise and speak about your everyday experiences, including the challenges, by writing an opinion article.

An opinion article, or an op-ed (referring to articles printed opposite the editorial page) is used to convey expertise in an area, inform the public and stimulate public debate. Sometimes, op-eds can help shape policy. Your knowledge and experience have value to others.

Here are some tips on writing and placing an op-ed:

  • Is your argument different than what is currently being reported? Are people misinformed or apathetic to an issue that’s important to you? This is a chance to use your voice to shift public discourse. Shed light on what isn’t being talked about.
  • Make sure your opinion piece is timely by connecting it to the news cycle. Don’t spend too much time trying to write the perfect piece. You may miss the window to get the op-ed published.
  • Facts matter. So do personal stories. Newspapers not only appreciate op-eds with relevant facts and data that bolster your argument, but anecdotes that help illustrate a point also enlighten readers. Avoid jargon and technical terms that will cause readers more consternation than clarity.
  • Similar to writing a letter to the editor, always propose a solution to a problem and reinforce that message.
  • Check for submission criteria. Aim for 650-750 words. Editors reserve the right to edit your piece. Make sure to include your contact information and a brief line on your credentials.
  • Target the right outlet. Space is even more competitive than publishing a letter to the editor.
  • Remember, the op-ed you submit to a newspaper is exclusive to that publication. Don’t approach a second news outlet until you hear back from the first one. Expect about a week turnaround time. You may also stipulate a timeframe if you don’t hear back within a certain period of time, such as three days.

Announce an Event with a Press Release

Send a press release to local media to help spread the word about an event you’re hosting or a special campaign announcement. To help you get started, we’ve outlined best practices on how to craft and distribute a release. Remember to use this as an opportunity to share stories about the incredible work providers do in your community.

Tips on distributing a press release:

  1. Create a media plan. Determine when you want to issue a press release, how you will distribute the release and who will be your spokespersons. Remember to submit your release to the media early enough and at an optimal time to get coverage of the event.
  2. Identify local news media. Find journalists in your area that have covered your work in the past and would be interested in writing about family child care. Visit the websites of local newspapers, radio and TV stations to get contact information of the general inbox and reporter interested in your press release. A good place to start is the education, community event or metro reporter.
  3. Craft your pitch. Personalize your email to look authentic by including key information about the event.Give journalists additional information not found in the release in a few sentences above the full press release. You can always follow-up with an email to each journalist making the case on why this story is important. Localize your story as much as possible.
  4. Avoid adding attachments. Whether you use a newswire service or an email marketing platform, make sure you copy the text of the release in the body of the email. Avoid sending the release as an attachment so the release isn’t flagged as spam.
  5. Proofread! Make sure your press release is error-free. Check for spelling and grammar, and make sure contact information, the release date and hyperlinks are correct.
  6. Follow-up. Wait a day or two before reaching out to media outlets to confirm they received your release. A simple email will suffice, but don’t spam a reporter’s inbox. If you have an existing relationship with a journalist, it doesn’t hurt giving them a call to confirm if they got the release.
  7. Share your release with your network. Don’t forget about the power of your supporters. Share the release on social media and publish it on your organization’s website.