Five practical op-ed templates for aspiring writers
Writing op-eds or opinion pieces for print or online is one of the most effective ways to build your status as an authority in your sector. But writing for this format doesn’t come naturally to many. When you’re staring at a blank word document with that cursor blinking menacingly, you might ask “How do I start”. And then what goes in the middle and at the end?!
Recently I discovered the work of Nicolas Cole, an author who also writes about writing on Medium.com. He helps others become “prolific writers online” and shares his tips and tricks.
One article he shared is “Ghost writing 101”, which is pure gold. He explains:
“Over the past 5 years, I have ghost written more than 4,000 articles for start-up founders, C-level executives, Silicon Valley investors, and more. I use the same 5 templates every time.”
These templates are a starting point for writing business editorial pieces and apply equally to writing your own opinion pieces.
Use these templates along with our own How To Write an Op-Ed blog and get cracking. Premium experts also get the benefit of assistance from Media Stable’s engagement team who are accomplished op-ed writers themselves. Use these templates to get the creativity flowing.
Template 1: The mistakes & the lessons
Template 2: The frameworks
• Name the problem
• Pinpoint actionable steps
• Celebrate outcome
Template 3: The future—here’s why
• Claim where your industry is headed
• Explain why
• Cite 2-3 studies/stats for credibility
Template 4: Category POV
• Share what’s wrong with the old category
• Name & Claim new category
• Describe the outcome after moving from old to new
Template 5: Myths
• Say what most people think, but get wrong
• Say what does the world NEEDS to know (the truth)
• Explain what this knowledge unlocks
For print, you want to aim to write no more than 800 words, though some mastheads are also publishing shorter pieces between 400-600 words. Business platforms too will have editorial requirements – it’s best to check each platform’s guidelines before you pitch your completed work.
By Phil Sylvester, General Manager NSW, Media Stable