We often suggest that our non-fiction authors write op eds—not only because these pieces are great publicity in and of themselves, but because they can serve as catalysts for further conversation in traditional media and on social media platforms.
A great case in point has been our work with Diane Lewis, founder of The Great Healthy Yard Project and author of a book by the same name. Diane came to us in the spring of 2014, and returned in the spring of 2015 to have us conduct more outreach as a new gardening season approached.
In our first outing with an essay penned by Diane, we struck op ed gold and placed her piece on the Sunday Opinion page of the New York Times. For several days, it was on the “Most Emailed” list, and it received 1983 likes and 976 shares on their Facebook page.
As a result of that piece, NPR affiliates around the country lined up for interviews with Diane, and she conducted long, in-depth conversations on such major outlets as KERA Dallas’ Think with Krys Boyd, WNYC New York’s Leonard Lopate Show, and Wisconsin Public Radio’s Central Time, among others. Our author truly did her homework and tailored her advice on creating a healthy yard without chemicals to each locale. She offered specific tips on native plants and referenced local environmental facts and issues. Posts also followed on such special interest web sites as Well-Being Wire and HealthyChildHealthyWorld, where she was a Mom on a Mission finalist.
Diane also did her part by getting on the Garden Club circuit. She spoke at the National Affairs and Legislation meeting of the Garden Club of America and at Garden Clubs around the country. At the same time, we placed another op ed on the Cleveland Plain Dealer web site.
In the Spring of 2015, Diane came back to us with the great news that she’d be a featured speaker at the prestigious Philadelphia Flower Show. We scrambled and placed an op ed across the river in the Camden Courier Post and placed her on WPHL TV’s In Focus. Diane spoke to the Green Spring Valley Garden Club in Baltimore, and another op ed soon followed in The Baltimore Sun. There is clearly more to come on this story.
Diane reports tangible results not only in book sales—but also greatly increased traffic to her web site. As a result of our work together, The Great Healthy Yard Project became an affiliate of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, and her organization helped launch a city- wide organic program in Springfield MA sponsored by the UMASS Lowell TURI Institute. Several other towns have adopted resolutions to support the project as a way to protect water by decreasing non-point source pollution and increasing compliance with municipal storm water requirements.
Diane was the subject of a cover story in the “Life and Style” section of the Journal News, Westchester County, has been a panelist at “Garden as Art” at Guild Hall in East Hampton and continues to give talks at environmental centers, libraries, churches, and schools.