How to Write an Effective Open Letter — The what-why-how
Published July 29, 2023

An Open Letter is a letter addressed to a particular person or group of people but intentionally made available to the public to make a larger number of people aware of its content. Open letters can come from individuals but have more impact if you can show a group of people has come together to campaign on a single issue.

How does writing an Open Letter help?

From sparking movements to creating awareness to bringing critical issues to the attention of decision-makers, the open letter is no doubt an effective tool to bring attention to something you believe in.

An open letter ideally meets two objectives: one, to grab the attention of the addressee from whom you want action or a reaction, and two, to mobilize an existing audience across platforms to take up your cause.

A well-written open letter has enormous power and influence. Combined with the power of mass reach on the internet, its potential to influence is unquestionable. And to wield that influence, it needs to be engaging and powerful.

How to write an effective open letter?

Open-Letter-Writing

The structure of an effective open letter should generally entail a what-why-how logic throughout the paragraphs. The “what” part introduces the problem; the “why” explains the writer’s motivation and the “how” section contains the proposed solution.

Here are these parts in detail:

Step 1: Explain the problem (What)

Explain the problem clearly which you are writing this Open Letter in the first paragraph of the letter itself. Keep this simple – even if the person you are writing to understands the technical details of encryption, as the letter’s wider audience may not be familiar with the issue.

Step 2: Explain the motivation (Why)

Put forth the reasons as to why you have chosen the specific topic in discussion for writing the Open Letter. You should convey what impacted or which aspect of personal or social life the chosen problem impacted. The reasoning you provide will be the most important point of your letter as it will play a major role in connecting your audience with you. “Why” is always the most important question.

Step 3: Put for the possible solution(s) (How)

Last but not least is the solution part; this one refers to the actions that you want to suggest doing. Here state and explain the specific actions you want the recipient of the letter to take and explain how this will help solve the problem. Describe the impact that they could have. 

Important things to remember:

Effective Open Letter Writing

Following are some important things to remember while writing an effective Open letter:

Keep It Short and Focused: Keep the letter short, writing is always about quality and not quantity. So be precise in your letter and focus on the major outcome that you want to achieve through it.

Target The Right Recipient(s): Targeting the right recipient(s) for your Open Letter will help showcase how serious you are about the issue. Knowing whom not to target is also important. You should put a specific individual or group as the recipient who is either the part of “What” or “How” section stated above.

Understand the impacting audience and make the letter relevant to them: Understand the impact of your issue or topic of Open Letter on other people and identify the correct audience for your letter. Write the letter making the issue (what) and solution (why) relevant to them in order to make them connect with you (this letter).

Offer solution(s): As much as possible it’s a good idea to incorporate solutions within the written piece, with a call to action for the change you want to see. Even if the solution isn’t clear or concrete to you, the change you wish to see should be clearly expressed.

Share the open letter: You have written an effective Open Letter but now comes the most important part of the process which makes it an open letter which is to share the letter with a wider audience. Submit the letter on our website and share it on your social media handles to make a larger number of people aware of its content.

Frequently Asked Questions on “How to write an effective open letter”

What does an “open letter” mean?

An Open Letter is a letter addressed to a particular person or group of people but intentionally made available to the public to make a larger number of people aware of its content. Open letters are meant to be publicized and, therefore, it is also meant to attract critical responses from readers.

Why write an Open Letter?

To put forth your views or perspective around an issue in the form of a letter with the intention to reach the recipient via a public platform like Open Letters.

What is the structure of an effective open letter?

The structure of an effective open letter should generally entail a what-why-how logic throughout the paragraphs. The “what” part introduces the problem; the “why” explains the writer’s motivation and the “how” section contains the proposed solution.

How do you end or conclude an open letter?

An open letter should be concluded with a solution to the problem in the discussion. This part needs to be made up of call-to-action statements that should encourage readers to respond accordingly.

Conclusion

Yes, writing an effective open letter can be a draining task; however, practice is the only key to getting this done. Just remember, you are writing both for an audience and for a certain cause. Gloomy letters about how the world is coming to an end are passed, and people do not respond to them. Try to offer even a glimpse of hope and encourage your recipients to take action.

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Effective Open Letter Template | Open Letters
9 months ago

[…] Writing an effective open letter is a great skill to have which can be gained with practice. We have written an in-depth blog on “How to write an effective open letter“. […]