Letters to the editor and media coverage are effective ways to influence policymakers and raise public awareness about an issue. Our team is always looking for opportunities to engage media to share members' stories, highlight advocacy efforts, and raise awareness on issues impacting the industry. 

Here are some ways you can work with local media during your advocacy efforts:

1. Contact Sherrie Centrella, Senior Director of Membership and Communications, at [email protected] or 717-975-9448 ext. 22, to share your story. Sherrie is happy to help you draft content and pitch your story to local media. 

2. Draft and send your own own Letter to the Editor (LTE) or Opinion Editorial (Op-ed) using our tips below.

3. Highlight your efforts and coverage:

  • Share the final version of your LTE or Op-Ed, and a link to any published version, on your social media channels.
    • Don't forget to tag your target audiences and PHA in your posts! More tips for using social media can be found here.
  • Send a copy of the piece directly to your elected officials. Find their emails on our directory.
  • Send a copy of the piece directly to Sherrie Centrella ([email protected]), so we can highlight your story on social media channels and distribute it to legislators.

Letters to the editor (LTE) are quick to write, frequently published, and are widely read. Politicians and government agencies routinely circulate letters to the editor as an indicator of what is important to their constituents. Here are some tips to help you draft your LTE.

1. Be current. Responding to a recent article in a publication or recent event is a great way to increase your odds of being published. Skim recent articles to identify "hooks" upon which you can hang your response. When you submit your letter, refer specifically to the article you are referenced by using the name of the article and date.

2. Be clear and concise. Letters should be between 150-200 words. The shorter the letter, and the more likely it will be published. Stick to one subject and check your grammar.

3. Make the connection. Evoke feeling by helping the reader make a personal connection to your content. Home care touches almost every person; remind them our issues are personal. 

4. Call to action. Remember to end your letter by asking for action from your elected officials and/or the outlet's readership.

5. Include your contact information. Include your name, agency, address, e-mail, and a phone number with your submission to the paper. They won’t print this information, but may use it to confirm that you wrote the letter.

6. Submit your LTE. Once you're ready to submit your letter, use our media directory to find the contact information for your local news outlet. Contact PHA if you need assistance submitting your letter. 

Opinion Editorials (Op-eds) are written by columnists, leaders of organizations, public officials, and community members. This includes PHA advocates! Op-eds are typically longer than LTEs and allow for more space to make your case. If you can land an op-ed with a clear call to actions, your legislators are sure to see it. Here are some tips to help you draft your op-ed.

1. Do your research. Scan your paper’s opinion pages to get a sense of what people are and are not writing about. Opinion editors often look for pieces that cover issues they are not yet covering. 

2. Know your space. Check the editorial page or the paper’s website for instructions on submitting an op-ed. The preferred length is usually in the range of 500–800 words. Know the space (word count) your working with before you start drafting to make the most of each word!

3. Get personal. Get in touch with how you personally feel about the issue and feel free to use personal examples, relating your message to your own experiences. Powerful op-eds often open with a personal story or anecdote and circle back around to it at the end. 

4. Straight to the point. Resist the temptation to cover more issues or ideas and instead go deeper on the issue you want to cover. Tell an illustrative story, give a detailed example, include a bit more data, or highlight other people’s points of view. Keep it simple.

5. Call to action. Make sure there is a call to action for your elected officials and/or the outlet's readership. An op-ed is a prominent piece that will be read my many people; use this opportunity to clearly address the industry's needs. 

6. Include your contact information. Include your name, agency, address, e-mail, and a phone number with your submission. This information will not be published, but the news outlet may use it to confirm that you wrote the piece and/or to contact you if they need any follow up information.

6. Submit your op-ed. Once you're ready to submit your finished piece, use our media directory to find the contact information for your local news outlet. Contact PHA if you need any assistance at all.