Are you a freelance writer looking to make your voice heard on a national platform? Have you dreamed of seeing your name in print on USA Today? 

The Opinion section of USA Today offers a unique opportunity for writers to share their perspectives on various topics, reaching millions of readers nationwide. But, how do you get the door and secure a coveted spot in this prestigious publication? Let’s explore the steps to catch the attention of the editors, learn the tips and tricks to succeed, and finally get published!

>>> How to Get Published in the New York Times: Pitching Tips and Tricks

Pitching to USA Today

Before pitching to USA Today, here’s everything you need to know to familiarize yourself and stand out:

  1. Understand the Editorial Criteria: Before drafting your pitch, familiarize yourself with USA Today’s editorial guidelines.
  2. Choose a Relevant Topic: USA Today covers a broad spectrum of sections, including U.S. news, elections, sports, entertainment, life, money, tech, travel, and, of course, opinions. Select a timely, relevant topic that will likely spark discussion among readers. Look for angles that offer fresh insights or challenge conventional wisdom. Whether it’s a current event, a societal issue, or a personal experience, make sure your chosen topic has the potential to resonate with a diverse audience. 
  3. Craft a Compelling Argument: The heart of any op-ed is its argumentative core. Present your perspective clearly and persuasively, supported by evidence, logic, and engaging storytelling. Aim to appeal to readers across the ideological spectrum by acknowledging opposing viewpoints and presenting your case respectfully and constructively. Remember, USA Today values persuasion pitched to the other side, so strive to find common ground while advocating for your position. 
  4. Provide Original Reporting and Insights: Stand out from the crowd by offering original reporting, research, or firsthand experiences that shed new light on the topic. Whether it’s interviewing experts, conducting surveys, or sharing personal anecdotes, provide readers with valuable insights they won’t find elsewhere. Be sure to include credible sources and links to support your claims, adhering to USA Today’s factual accuracy and transparency requirements.

What are USA Today Editors Seeking?

Editors at USA Today seeks pieces that exhibit timeliness, persuasion, new information, novel arguments, passion without partisanship, first-person experience, original reporting, expert knowledge, and the ability to drive conversation on social media and in real life. Ensure that your submission aligns with these criteria to increase your chances of acceptance.

Follow Submission Guidelines: When submitting your op-ed to USA Today, adhere to their specific guidelines to maximize your chances of acceptance. Columns typically run between 550 and 750 words and should be copied directly into an email. Avoid submitting material previously published elsewhere, including blogs or social media platforms. Ensure that any individuals mentioned in your piece include their real, full names.

Be Patient and Persistent: Due to the high volume of submissions, it may take some time to receive a response from the USA Today Opinion team. Be patient and avoid spamming the editors with follow-up inquiries. If your op-ed is not accepted initially, consider revising and resubmitting it with any feedback you may have received. Persistence and resilience are key traits for any aspiring writer seeking publication opportunities.

Include a Short Biography and Photo: Along with your submission, provide a brief biography (two sentences at most) to be included at the end of your column. Additionally, include a current photograph to which you own publishing rights. Personalizing your submission with a bio and photo can help establish credibility and connection with readers.

how to write for USA Today

Get Published in USA Today

At the end of the day, getting published in USA Today requires careful planning, research, and compelling storytelling. By understanding the editorial criteria, choosing a relevant topic, crafting a persuasive argument, providing original insights, following submission guidelines, and being patient and persistent, you can increase your chances of seeing your byline in one of the nation’s most widely read newspapers. 

So, go ahead and unleash your creativity. Make your voice heard on the pages of USA Today. Trust me, the world is waiting to hear what you have to say, and it’s possible!

>> Ready to take your freelance writing to the next level? Grab a spot in my beloved “Bragworthy Bylines; Get Paid & Published in 6 Weeks” course! Students have been published the New York Times, the Washington Post, Good Housekeeping, Business Insider, Huffington Post & many more!