An informed opinion piece is commonly called an editorial or “op-ed” which means opinion editorial. Opinion articles give you an opportunity to present your extended opinion on a particular issue, event, or other happening that the daily news covers. People with experience and knowledge in the subject area write most op-eds.
A letter to the editor column is not the same as an informed opinion piece, even though they both allow expression of opinion. The readers of the publication write letters to the editor. An expert, celebrity, or well-known public figure authors the informed opinion piece.
Tips for writing an informed opinion piece:
- Base your article on current, timely, recent news stories. No one cares about an opinion on outdated news.
- It needs to have a local relevance and be of interest to the readers of the publication submitted to. People take interest in events that are not local, but your opinion of distant activities do not interest them as much as events taking place close to home.
- Be concise. Be clear and to the point in your writing. Use a strong argument in both the introduction and last paragraph of the piece.
- Be specific. Write about only one specific issue at a time. Make sure that the reader understands why your argument or opinion is of interest to them. An op-ed piece is not a forum for general broad hitting complaints.
- Keep it short, 600-750 words is the recommended length for your article.
- Use simple, everyday language. The general readership has to understand your writing without experiencing doubt about what the subject or your opinion is.
- Give suggestions of possible solutions or recommendations to the situation.
- Keep your punctuation simple. Exclamation points have no place in an op-ed piece.
- Provide facts, base your opinion on well-documented facts, research, statistics and examples. There is no room for personal emotions in the piece.
- Proofread your article. Your piece needs logical organization. As in all writing the spelling, grammar, and punctuation are vital. Use the normal language of your reader. Avoid clichés, racism, personal attacks, and sexism.
The target readership of most publications includes people from many different backgrounds and experiences. The piece must have relevancy to the general audience. A good op-ed piece opens with a strong opinion and ends with a hard-hitting summary or final thought-provoking point.
Consider your format; mix long and short sentences to piqué the reader’s attention. Use short attention-grabbing paragraphs. Ensure that the reader does not have to “work” to get your point.
Provide current and accurate contact information. The publication requires your name, address, e-mail, phone number and signature.