Are you interested in using a newspaper to promote OT Month but don’t have the time to commit to an interview? A letter to the editor may be a good option for you (and can be written at any time of day!).

Friday’s Times-Tribune in Scranton, Pa. includes an excellent example penned by AOTA member Gary Duncan about the importance of occupational therapy.

Here is an excerpt:

“Occupational therapy enables people to live life to its fullest by helping them promote health, prevent - or live better with - injury, illness or disability…The goal is to maximize potential. The services of occupational therapy are available to residents of Northeast Pennsylvania through hospitals, home health agencies, schools, clinics and nursing homes.”

(To read the full letter to the editor, click here)

If you are reading this and thinking, “I can totally do that,” here are some tips to get your letter to the editor noticed by readers:

• Craft a punchy headline. Be truthful, but get creative!

• Be brief and to the point. A long letter and a short letter may both grab readers’ attention, however, the shorter one is more likely to be read in full.

• Remember your audience. Avoid jargon that the general public will not understand. Be sure to explain your message simply.

• Localize a national issue. Many community publications will only publish letters of a local nature. Be sure to explain that occupational therapy services are available in your town.

• Relate your message to recent news. Letters that are in direct response to a previous article or letter are more likely to be published. Be sure to cite the article’s title and publication date in your submission so the editor knows exactly what you are talking about.

• Include your name. Only under extreme circumstances are anonymous letters published. Be sure to include your full name and city of residence for publication.

• Send your letter via e-mail (unless otherwise specified). If an editorial assistant does not have to retype it, this could mean a quicker turnaround.

• Provide your contact information. Most newspapers will not print submissions without first verifying that you are an actual human being. Be sure to leave both a phone number and e-mail address so that the editor can verify the letter, discuss edits, and ask questions, if any.  Be sure to check the newspaper’s guidelines – some have more specific requirements.

Have you submitted a letter to the editor about occupational therapy? Did you have success? Need help getting a letter to the right person? I’d love to hear from you. E-mail kriley@aota.org.