How to Write an Open Letter: A Comprehensive Guide
Did you know that the first ever open letter in history was created in 1640? A group of English nobles wrote to King Charles I to voice their opinion against the absolutist rule of the king and his dislike of the critics. Of course, at that time, this act was seen as something amazing. The letter was quickly distributed across England and ultimately led to the English Civil War.
Some would say that not much has changed since then, and the methods of raising public awareness are still the same. You can write an open letter on any topic that worries you as long as you find your target audience.
What Is an Open Letter?
First, let’s start with the theoretical foundation so we are on the same page. Open letter can be a powerful instrument in spreading awareness about something that worries you. They can mobilize people to take action or to call for social justice, peace, and human rights. Basically, an open letter is intended for either a wide audience or for one person.
Apart from personal use, open letters can be published in periodicals, journals, or even online on official websites. There are many famous open letter examples in history that you might have already known about, but we will explore them later.
In this guide, we will present all the features and nuances of open letters. This type of correspondence might be difficult to write, so it’s always better to hire a writer on EssayHub! We will also take a closer look at open letter examples, such as the case of Elisabeth Deluca.
Reasons and Goals for Writing an Open Letter
No matter what the reason, the main goal of open letters is to make a difference in the world. Usually, they are addressed to government officials, corporate executives, the general public, or even celebrities. Let’s take a look at what are the purposes of creating an open letter:
- To raise awareness about an important issue that is often ignored;
- To call for action on a specific issue, like climate change.
- To demonstrate a strong opinion or point of view, like criticism.
- To expose or call out a powerful person, to they can take accountability for their actions.
- To inspire others to take action on an important issue, for example, to vote or to donate.
It’s pretty obvious all of these purposes are of paramount importance to the general public. You can use open letters to amplify the voices of those who often remain unheard.
Writing an Open Letter: Pros and Cons
Before we explore how to write an open letter, it’s crucial to know what its features and strong and weak points are. Writing an open letter is not an easy task, so you have a lot to consider. You need to consider the pros and cons before deciding whether to write one.
- they can reach a wide audience;
- they can start an active discussion on a certain topic;
- they can be a way to share your story;
- they can be a way to connect with other individuals with the same shared values.
At the same time, there are some nuances to crafting an open letter, as for any other type of paper. You can ask for help from a write my college essay for me services online in case you are overwhelmed!
- they are time-consuming to write;
- they put you in the spotlight;
- they might not get the reaction that you hoped for.
How to Write an Open Letter: a Guide
In most cases, open letter format is pretty straightforward. You need to explain the reason for writing your paper, the main issue at hand, and the solution to this issue. But first, let’s discuss the target audience for your letter.
How to Choose a Target Audience for Open Letters
You need to thoroughly think about who will be reading your letter. Here are some questions that you can ask:
- Who will be interested in the issue you are writing about?
- Who has the power to make a difference on this issue?
- Who is most likely to be convinced by your message?
Also, it’s critical to use the full titles of officials and government representatives in your letter.
Correct Open Letter Format
Right now, there is no one-size-fits-all format for this type of correspondence. Every issue and reason for writing an open letter is unique. This is why you probably have to adjust your writing process a lot. On the other hand, there are some general guidelines on how to format an open letter.
Start with a strong introduction. You need to capture the attention of the readers immediately, so the first letter should be captivating and intriguing. You want your readers to feel your pain and fight for your cause.
Explain your purpose. After grabbing the attention of your readers, explain why you wrote this letter at this time. What is the main issue that you are thinking about, and what do you propose to do about it?
Give evidence to support your claims. Of course, using strong words and phrases is important. But it’s always better to go with structured evidence instead of emotional claims. Your evidence can include statistics, research studies, or even personal stories.
End with a call to action. This is the place where you tell your readers what you want them to do once again. Maybe it’s signing a petition, donating to a charity, or contacting elected officials.
Steps to Сreating a Perfect Open Letter
Now that we are on the same page about the open letters format, let’s explore the main steps in this process.
Step 1. Defining and Presenting the Issue
Here, you need to convince the audience that your problem is significant and it has a negative impact on people around you. When presenting the issue, it is important to be specific and to provide evidence to support your claims. You can use statistics, research studies, or personal stories to add to the overall impact of the issue. Here is what you can explore:
- What is the purpose of an open letter?
- What is the problem?
- Who is affected by it?
- Why is it important to the general public?
Also, remember to be respectful to all people who are connected to your cause. Try to avoid personal attacks, even when you disagree with something. This will show that you can remain professional in spite of the circumstances.
Step 2. Explaining your Motivation and Connection to the Cause
The second step in this process is to create a connection between you, your cause, and your readers. It’s always a good idea to present your personal connection to the issue and why you are passionate about it. For example, sharing your personal story is a powerful way to establish a relationship with the audience. They always like to know the face behind a letter!
When thinking about how to write an open letter, consider your own feelings in this case. What would you like to read if you were a government official? What would make you care about the presented issue? What would make you build trust and credibility with the writer? For this, try to get back to your target audience and adjust your letter to them.
Step 3. Presenting the Solution to the Problem
Now that you already hooked the reader with your issue, it’s time to present your solution. It’s your choice whether to write about specific actions or just to raise awareness about your cause. Still, you need to include a call to action and say what you want your reader to do after reading an open letter. For this part, you shouldn’t be too authoritative but rather encouraging.
Here are some examples of sentences that encourage people to take action:
- I urge you to take the following actions…
- I ask you to support policies…
- I encourage you to start an active discussion about…
- Together, we can change our future…
As you can see, it’s not about telling people what to do.
Famous Open Letter Examples in History
Open letter to Elisabeth DeLuca, Subway owner
In 2022, a group of workers at DeLuca's Coffee Roasters wrote an open letter to the company's founder and CEO, Elisabeth DeLuca. Elisabeth DeLuca is an entrepreneur and the owner of several companies, including Subway and DeLuca’s Coffee Roasters.
She has been featured in many magazines and newspapers, where she has been praised for her success in the coffee industry. However, in 2022, something changed when more than 100 people accused her of abusive behavior and toxic working conditions. The letter said that DeLuca regularly screamed at her workers.
People also said that she created a climate of fear and abuse in the workplace. The purpose of the open letter was to raise awareness of the alleged abuse at DeLuca's Coffee Roasters and to pressure DeLuca to change her behavior. As a result of a reaction from the community, DeLuca resigned as CEO.
Open letter to President Biden on the climate crisis
This is an excellent example of scientists taking a stand. In 2023, more than 1,000 researchers and climate experts urged President Biden to take more action on climate change. They expressed their opinion about a climate catastrophe and proposed their plan of action for the future.
Correspondence between Einstein and Freud
In 1932, Albert Einstein wrote a letter ‘Why War?’ to Sigmund Freud. This was not a typical modern format of an open letter but rather a dialogue about the psychological roots of armed conflict.
To Sum Up
So there you have it, everything you need to know about open letters. As you can see, this task can be challenging. You need to put your thoughts on paper in such a way that your readers feel inspired to take action. It’s always a good idea to hire a writer on EssayHub to get help with the writing part. Expert writers will make your text more persuasive without losing meaning!
Using an open letter as a tool for change might not be as glamorous as you think. On the other hand, this is a powerful platform for raising awareness, voicing your concerns, and educating the general public.