Alyssa’s Notes on Nena Baker’s Presentation on Persuasive Writing: Use the Op-Ed To Broaden Your Reach

Nena Baker spoke of persuasive writing, and of her own favored Op-Ed’s. While she spoke of persuasive writing and it’s universality, she also provided wonderful tips on how to write a good Op-Ed, and improve your persuasive writing as a whole. Here are some of the things she talked about:

  • Persuasive writing is universal; it can be used in any genre.
  • The topic can be anything, as long as you have a strong opinion.
  • When writing Persuasive Writing, be sure to keep credible—you reader has to believe in you.
  • Persuasive writing is not talk radio, simple arguments and does not belittle the readers with opposing views.
  • It can be found in Books (Both fiction and non-fiction), News Papers, Blogs, Letters to the Editor, Music, Poetry and Op-Ed (Named for their placement in the newspaper being ‘opposite the editorial’).
  • Op-Ed’s are often short and get the point across quickly, making them a nice short and interesting read.
  • Persuasive writing in books can often bring something to light within the public and address certain situations. Books that have done this in the past are: Omnivore’s Dilemma, Silent Spring, The Jungle, On the Road, Grapes of Wrath, and Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
  • Some tips Baker gave specifically for Op-Ed  writers:
    • You want to write about the topic when it’s hot, before it’s off the radar
    • Stay Current and Act quickly
    • Look for surprising News/hook to get your reader interested
    • Use plain language, not jargon, you want anyone to read this
    • Respect your reader and don’t underestimate their intelligence
    • Own your own expertise—prove you’re interested in what’s happening
  • Questions to address, that your readers might have:
    • Why should your readers trust you?
    • Can you back up what you say?
    • So what?
    • What’s new here?
    • What is the difference from being right, and being effective?
    • How will your argument contribute to the conversation?
  • You are an expert on something. A hobby, profession, religion,, etc. Write about what you know and what interests you.
  • Good pitching, Bakers assures, involves answers to the following:
    • Why now?
    • So what?
    • Why me?
  • You should be quick, clear and display your expertise.
  • If you’re trying to get published remember your manners. No, could eventually lead to a yes.
  • If no response, send another e-mail and say thank you and that you assume it has been passed so you are sending your work elsewhere.
  • Even if you get discouraged, keep trying!
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