Write About the Social Work Profession

Consider writing an op-ed, a letter to the editor, a guest column or a blog post to address an issue of concern for you. Have essential social services been cut in your state? Would you like people to know more about a public policy that harms local families? Would knowledge about the range of social work services in your community help more people find the assistance they need?

The more often social workers are seen as thoughtful commentators and experts in the media and online, the more likely public awareness of the profession’s diverse practice roles will increase.

Why write about social work?

In the 21st century, a professional’s visibility online speaks volumes about their influence and reach. In many fields, prospective employers check to see how much a person has published, commented about a topic, or been cited by others as part of the hiring process. While this practice is most common in fields that require frequent writing and speaking, it’s also true that professions that have the most prolific authors and well-cited researchers enjoy high public esteem and are more visible in the media.

A quick comparison of a few professions and their presence online (as of 2011) is instructive:

  • 640,000 social workers generate 10.5 million mentions online.
  • There are just 5,000 sociologists, but they have gotten 30 million mentions online.
  • Approximately 270,000 pharmacists net more than 14 million mentions online.
  • The nation’s 660,000 doctors have nearly 100 million mentions.
  • More than 760,000 lawyers generate 72 million mentions.
  • 6 million teachers help produce nearly 200 million mentions online.
  • Approximately 170,000 psychologists have 11 million mentions.

Write a Letter to the Editor or an Op-Ed

Social Work Month is a good time to respond to local news about social issues. By writing a letter to the editor, you can help inform readers of how these issues are being addressed by social workers in your community.

Write a Letter to the Editor

A letter to the editor is a short (typically around 250 words) written response to a current event. Most publications also accept reader comments on their blogs and articles. All of these options are good ways to communicate social work positions with the public.

Before you submit an article to a publication, be sure that your article has an audience that would benefit from your article. Because many editors don't have time to read every article that's submitted, write a 2-3 sentence summary of your proposed article to use as your pitch.

Write an Op-Ed

An op-ed is a short (typically around 700 words) article expressing an opinion or viewpoint on a timely news topic.

  • Have a clear point of view.
  • Write about a published article or something the community needs to know.
  • Keep your letter or online post under 250 words.
  • Send your response within a day or two of reading the article.
  • Create a 6-10 word headline for your letter. Use it to tweet about your issue.
  • Explain your headline with 3-4 strong supporting statements in the letter.
  • If you are promoting Social Work Month, use one of these proclamation points as your frame.

More tips for writing an op-ed

Write an Article or a Blog Post

Write a News or Journal Article

Experts who have published books, written peer-reviewed journal articles or commented in the media, are the people whom journalists seek for interviews. Experts are a draw because they have a detailed and documented point of view and have already been endorsed by their peers and publishers. 

Write a Blog Post

If you have a blog, consider what you can write about during Social Work Month to highlight how social workers change futures. Or you can offer to write content for social work blogs such as:

Resources for Writers

Build your argument with data, messages and themes from these sources: