Thanks to Ananya Anant for contributing to this article.
If you’re thinking about writing an opinion piece, or op-ed, it is vital to present a clear and strong written voice. Your writing style, including your choice of words and style of prose—whether you include quotes or pose questions to the reader, for example—defines the voice of your piece. A powerful voice can have a real impact on your readers, and can expand your influence.
To Present a Strong Voice in an Op-Ed:
- Stick to one topic and do not deviate from it. This adds clarity to your voice.
- Always ground your opinion in high-quality research.
- Plan ahead. Think about the ideas you want to share with your readers and frame your piece with that in mind. This will help you with the structure of your op-ed.
- Capture your readers’ attention with a strong introduction that hooks them immediately and encourages them to read further.
- A strong conclusion is equally important. This will leave the audience thinking about the topic and also about your writing.
- Be aware of external factors that may affect your writing, such as guidelines put in place by the publisher or other company policies.
- Explore different styles of writing and find one that you’re most comfortable with. This will help you convey your opinion in the most effective way possible.
- Research your audience and write in a tone and style that they will find appealing and engaging.
- Decide on a tone and keep it consistent throughout the piece. Perhaps you want your piece to be conversational, contemplative, or maybe informative and observant.
- Read your article aloud to yourself and others. This can help minimize any issues with readability and improve the flow of the piece. The feel and flow of your piece are as crucial as the words in it.
- Your voice reveals your personality. Keep it original and fresh and your message will land powerfully.
Pitfalls to Avoid:
- Do not use inappropriate words, such as curse words. They do not add to the strength of your voice.
- Do not include criticism that isn’t backed up by evidence.
- Do not plagiarize another person’s work. This is extremely unprofessional and can weaken your writing.
- If you do not believe your opinion to be valid, the audience will also not believe it. Write with conviction.
- Do not conjure up lies or fake facts simply to appeal to your audience.
- Do not be afraid to seek help. Reviewing the content with others will not make you lose your voice.
- Avoid being too wordy, and don’t include extraneous information.
- An overly complicated piece will not bring you recognition. Always keep your op-ed reader-friendly.
Your writing reflects your personality. With the right tools and preparation, you can put forward your strongest voice.
Check out other articles in this toolkit that can help you build that perfect op-ed. Still feeling like you need help?
Contact a Dweebs Mentor, they’re always glad to help you out.