Op-eds provide a unique opportunity to connect directly with an audience and position yourself as an authority and thought leader in a certain area, gain visibility, and let your voice be heard—but in a more conversational and approachable way than through a traditional article.
Through op-eds, consumers get to hear directly from you, and in your tone of voice. It can be an especially effective medium in establishing or building out a personal brand, which many executives do to establish a connection and humanize themselves among consumers.
Not sure where to start? Below are five expert tips to guide anyone in writing an effective and engaging op-ed.
ESTABLISH A CLEAR POINT OF VIEW
Think of an op-ed as an essay. Before you begin writing, make sure you’re clear on your thesis. Ask yourself, is what I have to say unique or controversial in any way? Is what I have to say unique or controversial in any way? Readers are choosing your op-ed specifically to hear your point of view—so make sure it’s clear, original, and worth exploring. Do you endorse a new regulation? Strongly oppose a recent event? Whatever your opinion is, make sure it comes across clearly to avoid ambiguity. Don’t shy away from being controversial. This will make for a much more compelling piece.
USE YOUR EXPERTISE
To write an interesting op-ed, you want to position yourself as an authority on the topic you’re writing about. Readers don’t just want to hear from anyone, they want to hear from an expert. In fact, hearing from you, specifically—rather than just having an interest in the topic—could be the entire reason someone decides to read it. Play into your expertise, it’s ultimately what makes your perspective valuable and worth reading.
Tone of voice and personality should be present from the very first sentence. You’re not only sharing your opinion on a topic, but a part of yourself as well. Be yourself right from the opening hook to draw readers in and pique their curiosity so they continue reading.
DON’T MAKE IT A SALES PITCH
In addition to keeping the tone of the piece conversational, make sure you avoid jargon. An op-ed is not a sales pitch, and readers don’t want to feel like they are being sold to. It’s also important to operate under the assumption that the publication won’t allow you to mention your brand or company name, as is often the case with op-eds.
KEEP IT CONCISE
You want your readers to enjoy your writing and for your message to be digestible. In addition to using a conversational tone and employing a strong point of view, be sure to keep your piece concise. It’s often helpful to start with a longer draft which you can then cut down—and always ask for a second set of eyes before submitting it to the publication!