Opinionated press releases or blogs are often the most fun to write. However, conveying such a piece so that it engages the reader and provokes comment and response is easier said than done.

The first rule, perhaps somewhat obviously, is to deliver a powerful opinion. Avoid being courteous, sympathetic or diplomatic…and forget about presenting both sides of the argument…this isn’t a discussion piece! Here, the use of first person, active voice works best.

Secondly, there needs to be a link to the subject: impact will be minimised if the commentator hasn’t actually experienced a full workforce strike, suffered a malicious database attack, or been fined unfairly for an alleged breach of ROHS, for example. Opinion pieces need to be ‘sold’ to the reader by delivering insight and understanding based on knowledge. Tell the reader why they should care about the issue.

In terms of structure, make the strongest point up front using clear, powerful and direct language – try to emphasise active verbs; then lay out the argument in the subsequent text. If possible, always avoid the obvious slant without straying beyond recognised areas of expertise. And keep it brief – 300-500 words is typically more than adequate.

Opinion pieces also offer one of the few platforms where a little wit or anecdote can work a treat. Entertaining wordplay or a clever turn of phrase is wondrous at keeping the reader engaged and typically, unlike most other trade press materials, editors will typically use ‘as is’.

Finally, the ending should summarise the argument with a catchy, thought-provoking final sentence. Tell the reader what action they should take and ask them to disagree with you and how they can do it!

On that note, if anyone has an ‘opinion’ about this particular blog, please feel free to post a comment.