Do you have something to say?

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Opinion pieces have been part of my working life for many years.

As a journalist on a weekly business magazine, I used to commission and edit guest columns. Now as a freelance, I ghost-write them for clients who don’t have the time or find writing difficult or a chore. 

I also help people get better at writing them as part of my in-house writing workshops.

Common mistake

When I was an editor and people pitched their opinion piece ideas to me, the most common mistake was an obvious one: Their idea lacked an actual opinion.

The clue is in the name.

Whether you call them op-eds or thought leadership, you have to put your head above the parapet, even just a little bit.

Not a press release

Without articulating an opinion, your writing can come across as similar to a press release or news update.

There is a place for that type of content but it is unlikely to land you a platform in the press.

It can be scary giving your thoughts a platform for scrutiny – and potential criticism.

Commenting a good starting point

Perhaps start off commenting on other’s content or press stories and then use that as a stepping stone to writing your own opinion piece.

There are good and bad ways to present your views.

Ranting is never a good idea, you will come across much better taking a considered approach. Or being constructive rather than destructive – although the latter might get you more clicks.

Show awareness

You can play devil’s advocate but show awareness of other views.

Posing a question can also be a good technique, it can be a way of showcasing your thought process and direction.

Questions can also help to generate engagement giving readers a hook to give their own view.

So if you have an opinion on something, grab the bull by the horns and write about it but write it well.

You might also like to read:

Are you making the most of your events coverage?

Why quotes on press releases matter

Overcoming writer’s block

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