How to Write an Editorial: Tips for Engaging Your Audience

, Staff Editor
Updated February 25, 2022
Headline of an Editorial column in the newspaper
    Headline of an Editorial column in the newspaper
    buradaki / iStock / Getty Images Plus
    Used under Getty Images license

An editorial is a newspaper article that expresses the opinion of the author. It can be about any topic but is usually written about an issue that deals with our society. To build credibility, the opinion in the editorial must be backed up with facts and evidence to substantiate it. Learning how to write an editorial is a great exercise in sharing opinions.

Steps for Writing an Editorial

The steps you need to write a successful editorial piece are similar to the steps for writing an argumentative essay.

1. Choose a Topic That’s Important to You

The topic you choose is the most important part of writing a newspaper editorial. The best topics are current issues in our society that you’re passionate about. If the topic is a current issue that everyone is already interested in, then your editorial piece will engage the reader's attention.

If the topic you choose is an ongoing issue in society, make sure to use the most recent information. However, you can use older information as sources to help prove your case.


2. Identify the Type of Editorial You Want to Write

There are four different types of editorials. Each has a specific purpose, and knowing your purpose can help you set up your editorial.

  • Explanatory or Interpretive - explains certain rules or why something was done a specific way

  • Critical - showcases a problem by criticizing related actions or decisions

  • Persuasive - showcases and endorses a specific solution so readers will be compelled to endorse it as well

  • Praising - commends someone or a group for the way they handled a situation or problem

3. Form Your Opinion

Start by deciding your stance on the topic you’ve chosen. You cannot be on both sides of the fence when writing an editorial piece — the purpose of the editorial is to give your opinion. With this in mind, you must feel strongly about your viewpoint and be able to give a strong, persuasive argument in favor of it. If you don’t feel strongly about the topic at hand, readers won’t be particularly inclined to see your point of view.


4. Find Factual Support

Although you’re providing your opinion, you still want to back up your argument with facts. Use facts that corroborate the point of view you want to argue. You can include facts pertaining to both sides of the argument, if they help you make your point.

5. Outline Your Editorial

As with any type of research paper, it’s a good idea to write an outline. With an outline, you know where you stand on the issue. The outline helps you get your thoughts and opinions in order and keeps you focused on your stance and purpose.

A standard editorial outline might include:

  • Introduction - the hook and lead

  • Body - the opposition’s stance

  • Body - why the opposition is incorrect

  • Body - your reasons to defend your stance

  • Conclusion - summary and solutions


6. Write Your Article

The first step to writing your newspaper editorial is to write a lead (also known as a “lede”) that grabs readers' attention. If you grab their attention from the very beginning, they are more inclined to keep reading. Your opinion on the topic should be addressed right away — if not in the lead, then in the first paragraph.

Newspaper editorials should have at least three arguments supporting your position. These arguments should be backed up with facts and evidence from your research on the topic.

  • Use statistics to help prove your argument.

  • Make sure your strongest argument is left for last.

  • Do not be passive in the arguments that come before the strongest. If this happens, readers aren’t likely to read your entire editorial.

In a newspaper editorial, your conclusion (also known as the “kicker”) should sum up all the information you wrote about. It ties your arguments together and gives readers a recap of all the facts that you presented. Then you should add a few solutions you think would help solve the issue.


What Makes a Good Editorial?

An editorial is not about simply throwing down your thoughts on a subject and expecting people to agree with you. Your article should explain the issue, criticize current decisions or actions, persuade readers to agree with your way of thinking, and offer solutions. A newspaper editorial should be reasoned, not ranting.