How to Write an Editorial in 5 Steps – Writing an editorial is a great way to share your point of view or advocate for a cause to a broader audience. Useful editorial articles can increase awareness of an issue while influencing public opinion on a topic. Knowing how to write a strong editorial can help you make your voice heard, generate buzz in your community, or take a stand on behalf of a group.
This article discusses what an editorial is, how to write one, and tips for making a good editorial.
What is an editorial?
An editorial is a short essay that shares a person’s opinion on a current event or social issue. The goal of a good editorial is to persuade the reader to consider your point of view and change their opinion. Editorials often focus on widely differing perspectives on controversial issues.
Professors provide editorials in the classroom to determine your skills in persuasive writing, while newspaper and magazine writers create editorials to claim or discuss their publications. Your editorial should have a clear argument that reflects your stance and appeals to your audience.
Type of editorial
While all editorials aim to share an opinion and persuade an audience, editorial styles differ. The different types depend on the goal of the article and can be divided into four categories:
Explanatory: An explanatory editorial explains and provides background information on an event or issue. This type of editorial raises awareness and discusses how the topic is relevant to the reader.
Critical: The critical format focuses on the various causes of a problem and suggests solutions. For example, you can criticize a policy related to your problem to advocate for a specific change.
Persuasive: This type of editorial requests directly to the reader and encourages them to take action. The persuasive format focuses on the reader’s ability to change the situation by following your advice.
Praise: An appreciative editorial shows appreciation for an individual or organization based on their involvement in an issue.
Whether you’re writing for a class assignment or a major publication, understanding the goal of your editorial will help guide your tone and the direction of your argument. After you’ve determined the range of your editorial, you can confidently begin writing to impress an audience.
Excerpts from an editorial
Although people write editorials on various topics, most have the same essential components. All editorials require a clear stance and description to support that perspective. Good motivational articles contain the following elements:
The introduction creates the reader’s interest in the topic and gives an overview of the issue.
The argument presents your opinion with reasons the audience should agree with you.
Evidence helps your argument with facts, research, or anecdotes.
All editorial writers must establish credibility by presenting an unbiased review of the viewpoints involved. While an appreciative editorial can be mostly positive with a brief reference to an issue, a critical editorial needs to address the opposing perspective directly.
After sharing a counterargument with a reader, the writer should explain why that argument is not accurate or relevant. Refuting a counter-argument allows you to promote your point while still seeming fair.
In the final paragraph of your editorial, summarize your point of view and remind the reader why they should care about the issue.
How to write editorial
Once you know what type of editorial you want to write and the essential components you want to include, you can begin the writing process. If you are writing an editorial for a class or work assignment, return to the prompt frequently during the planning process.
An editorial with specific classroom guidelines will likely differ from an opinion piece published in a magazine or newspaper. However, regardless of why you’re writing your editorial, you can use these steps to build a strong foundation for a successful editorial letter:
1. Decide on a Subject
Since editorials are based on opinion, your topic should be debatable and have multiple viewpoints. Your essay will reflect your personal bias or the prejudice of the group you represent, so you should expect some readers to disagree with your stance. You can choose a controversial topic that involves politics to spark a conversation about your writing. Whatever topic you choose, make sure you write about it passionately and focus on why others should agree with your point of view.
When you decide what to write about, remember that your topic should be specific. Limiting your editorial to a particular aspect of an issue will keep your argument strong and help the reader stay focused. A well-written editorial devotes many paragraphs to supporting a specific idea.
2. Research Your Topic
Even though an editorial is opinion-based, it is essential to provide your readers with well-researched evidence to support their views. You can convince your readers of your credibility by demonstrating knowledge of what other leading voices have to say on the topic. Researching your topic can also help you decide which stance to take and create an article that contributes new ideas to the conversation.
3. Create an Outline
After choosing and researching an issue, write an outline to keep your thoughts organized and ensure the main points of your editorial flow well. The introduction will always be at the beginning and end of the essay, but you can organize your body paragraphs based on what format suits your essay best. List each main idea in its paragraph, making sure to provide evidence for each idea.
4. Start Writing
Once you’ve finished the planning part of writing your editorial, begin writing by adding details to your outline. Some people choose to start with the introduction, while others focus on the body of the paper first and write the introduction at the end. Try to write down as many concepts as you can at first, then go back and edit your paper. Getting started on a paper can be the most challenging process for many authors. If you have trouble writing, look to your research for inspiration.
Before submitting your editorial, proofread your work to ensure that you have produced professional, quality writing. Many writers read their work aloud to check tone and fluency. Another popular proofreading technique is to read your paper backward, starting with the last sentence and moving to the introduction.
This process helps catch spelling and grammatical errors you might not have noticed the first time. You might also consider reading to a trusted friend or colleague and summarizing the main ideas of your paper for clarity.
Tips for writing a good editorial
A good editorial can focus on any topic, as long as you can make a strong case for your opinion and write with your audience. Focus on why a reader should care about your problem and why someone may have a different opinion. Understanding both sides of an issue will make your editorial interesting to various audiences. Use these tips to make your editorial as credible and relevant as possible:
Introduce new ideas
During the research process, see if there are aspects of your issue that others have not yet discussed. While anyone may have an opinion, adding something new to the discussion will show that you have put careful thought into your article.
If you draw attention to an issue in an editorial, provide a possible solution to the problem. You want to avoid complaining so the audience can find value in your work and consider taking action on their own.
Focus on your interests
Whenever possible, select a topic that you are emotional about. Your writing shows that you genuinely care about the issue, making your paper more interesting and relevant to readers.