The press influences people. As You’re the Cure grassroots advocates, we need to influence people. Put 2 and 2 together, and You’re the Cure advocates can use the press to influence people. Let’s do it!
Here’s a down and dirty guide to pushing a policy forward through a simple letter-to-the-editor:
- Gather American Heart Association (AHA) fact sheets on the issue. (Ask us!)
- Choose target publication from your area and check their guidelines and word-count limit online.
- In the first sentence, state the need and why it’s important to the public.
- In a new paragraph, add two or three sentences about why it’s important to you personally.
- In a new paragraph, include a sentence or two with supporting data from our fact sheet(s).
- Summarize by stating what you want, what readers should do, and/or what legislators should do.
- Check to be sure you’re within the word-count limit (just the letter itself, not the salutation and signature).
- If you wish, send to your AHA staff contact so we can provide a little polishing.
- Once finalized, submit online per their rules, including your full contact information.
- Connect to tell us you’ve submitted your letter.
- Watch for publication!
Note: If you can reference a related recent article from the same publication in your opening it could raise the chances of getting your letter published.
That’s it! Not complicated, but highly impactful. Not only can we educate the public about our policy issues this way, but we can reach legislators as well. They and their staff comb newspapers that serve their districts for relevant content. You can even name a legislator you want to influence in your letter, so it comes up in their Google searches.
Would you like to write a letter-to-the-editor on a current You’re the Cure issue in your area? Ask your local American Heart Association advocacy staff for information to get you started!