Write An Op-Ed Blog Post (or Get on HuffPo)

by Trish

So I’ve been reading The Huffington Post Complete Guide to Blogging this week. Very interesting. My writing teacher and client (I’m her editorial assistant) just pitched a blog idea to them (she’s so good at op-ed) and I wanted to try it myself. Where better to look for this information than from Arianna Huffington and her blog editors directly?

In their chapter, Finding Your Voice, HuffPo’s editors recommend these steps to writing a successful op-ed post:

What is your point? How would you explain your point to a batty, slightly deaf relative in one sentence? Write that sentence down. This is the gist of your piece.

Clear some space above that main point. Now think up a story that illustrates the point. This “anecdotal lede” is a staple of newspaper and magazine journalism. Reporters like anecdotes because they tend to give a human-interest perspective on the story and tend to draw readers in. If the story happened to you, great. If you put in the proper links and cite the source, you can retell a story from another newssource. You may have to write a transition sentence or two between the anecdote and your point.

Now clear some space under your main point. Give a short history of the debate.

Next, argue your point from the evidence. What makes you think you are right? Throw in two or three quotes, statistics, or stories that back you up.

Now think about who might disagree with you. Why might this person or organization think you’re wrong? Maybe it’s because they’re total idiots, but you’ll write a better blog post if you address their strongest points rather than call them names.

Write a good walk-off line. Or if you can’t think of one, write something like “I’ll be following this story and will post again when I learn more.”

Interesting, eh? I thought so. I’m working on several op-ed posts right now and am going to apply these guidelines to see if I can’t improve my own craft. And perhaps land a blog post on HuffPo! Fingers crossed.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Susan Weiner December 4, 2009 at 3:38 pm

Trish,

If you had to recommend one book about how to WRITE blog posts, would this be it?

Trish December 4, 2009 at 6:04 pm

Susan, unfortunately, no. I think Darren Rowse’s ProBlogger is the best out there now (not specifically how to write, but covers all types of blog posts that are out there). This book just tells you how to write an op-ed, which is HuffPo’s MO.

I have a publisher interested in a book on how to write blog posts; need to finish the proposal!

Susan Weiner December 14, 2009 at 7:43 pm

Trish,
You have a great flair for blogging. I look forward to your book.

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