A letter to the editor can protest actions taken by government or a local organization, such as a library's decision to curtail its hours. Such letters can mobilize supporters of a cause or bring public attention to a perceived wrong. Letters can address politics, corruption, pollution or injustice as exemplified by specific events in the community.
Organizations can use a campaign of letters to the editor to suggest ideas, influence voters or other constituencies, or educate the public about an issue. Letters should be short and direct with major points expressed in the opening sentence or paragraph. The use of a combination of facts and emotions is the best tactic to sway readers who are uncommitted to or unfamiliar with the topic. If the letter addresses a specific cause or event, it should include a recommendation of how to rectify the situation.
Letters referring to specific and local concerns are more effective than those that generalize. Larger, more influential publications have a higher volume of letters to the editor and publish only the most important and cogent letters. Letters to the editor are among the most popular sections of a newspaper or magazine. As of 2008, most publications requested that letters to the editor be transmitted via email.