Opinion pieces and thought-leadership

You’re the expert on the subject, Writers Who are the experts with the words. We create insightful content that educates, surprises and engages, firmly positioning you as the go-to authority on the topic.

Writers Who’s Guide to Writing a Great Opinion Piece

An opinion piece or thought leadership article is a way to share your expert insights or views on a particular topic. It’s an amazing opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge and build credibility within your industry. The idea is to build your exposure and become a trusted source of information.

What is thought leadership?

If you’re a leader in any industry or any organisation, you probably have perspectives, opinions and views about the way the industry operates, what it needs to do to stay relevant and fix legacy problems, how people can succeed in your sector and case studies about what has worked and what hasn’t.

This is thought leadership - but only if it's published. 

You probably have thought, I really should communicate my views on X,Y,Z but you haven’t had the time or the headspace to get it done. That’s where companies like mine come in - we capture your perspectives, your tone of voice and ghost write that thought leadership for you on a regular or one-off basis. 

Thought leadership content is actually a crucial business tool today. It helps articulate yours and your organisation’s point of difference, builds credibility, authority and trust and when done well, creates change. 

It is one of the most meaningful ways to shape brand perception, impacting client and prospective talent confidence in working with your company. 

Successful thought leadership content contributes to building your brand, opening new doors with potential customers and closing deals in your pipeline. Thought leadership content can help you amplify your demand and lead generation strategy. Thought leadership is an integral part of your marketing strategy and improves the marketing and sales alignment.

The crucial component of any thought leadership is having a point to make - a contrarian or decisive view on a topical issue, reframing the conversation and being a catalyst for a change in the discourse on a particular topic. 

Our job is to craft it and polish it to such a point that in the vast ocean of opinions yours is the one that is open-worthy, click-worthy, share-worthy, conversation-starting, change-making. 

But it all starts with you, your idea, your experience, your view.

Opinion piece inspiration

Writers Who have curated many opinion pieces and thought leadership articles for our clients. We’ve analysed the agri-tech landscape for Australian Agritech Association founding director and Farmbot managing director Andrew Coppin. We critiqued and advised on policy for financial advisors during a period of legislative change ghostwritten for wealth management CEO, Matt Lawler. We’ve produced historical background and market analysis on key prestige property suburbs in Sydney’s eastern suburbs for leading real estate agent Ashley Bierman.

How to plan your thought leadership or opinion piece

One of the best ways to stand out in your industry in a positive and memorable way is to be positioned as a thought leader - someone who speaks wisdom or shares insights into the most pertinent of topics to their industry in a timely fashion whether its via white papers, blogs, articles, press releases, podcasts, videos or ideally a mix of it all. 

The actual execution is very easy in each of those mediums once you’ve determined the things about which you have thoughts to share, questions to clarify or philosophies to promulgate.

So, how do you work out what to become a thought leader on?

First: identify the major dinner table discussions in your industry (whether it's for workers in that industry or clients). What is everyone sceptical about? Worried about? What do they think needs to change? What do they think is changing too much? What are the regulatory or macro factors impacting your industry? What can people do to mitigate those or leverage them?

Secondly: determine which of these you have a strong position on based on your experience, insights, intelligence and exposure. That’s where the gold lies. Is it a piece of legislation that takes the industry backwards instead of forwards? Is it a process that isn’t being adopted but should? Is it an opportunity being ignored? It is a mindset that you’ve seen work and should be shared widely? Is a series of actions you’ve tested that provide a positive outcome? 

Thirdly: think about what you want to be known for, what you want your thought leadership to represent, where you want to build a reputation. Because, at the end of the day, all the content and thought leadership needs to support this or it's just hot air without a balloon to inflate. 

What’s included in a thought leadership article

  • An introduction outlining what the opinion you or your leader has; 
  • Supporting details that add context and substantiate your view;
  • Quotes from experts or key stakeholders;
  • Relevant background information; 
  • Supporting documents such as high-resolution imagery;
  • Details about yourself - or your expert - so a reader can find out more.

Tips for planning a thought leadership article

Opinion pieces are a great way to market and position yourself as an expert in your field so you can develop influence with a view to driving more income and more impact. Whether you’re publishing in trade publications, internal communications forums or on a website or LinkedIn, crafting compelling content in your voice with your position, view, experience or insights on a topic is a powerful modern marketing tool. 

You could be shining a light on misnomer or myths in your industry, or a forecaster on they way your industry could shift and evolve, or a sage on how to succeed for newer participants to your sector.

The question for you is, what are you already at the leading edge of? What are you leading thought on? What are you asked about by your industry? What topics lead most people to you?

If you're not already, what is the area that you want to be a thought leader in? What is your unique take on that thing?

  • Determine what your opinion is, or the commentary you have about a particular situation. Try to summarise this viewpoint into one sentence and build the argument from there;  
  • Focus on what you know, the point is to leverage your expertise; 
  • If you’re commenting on something newsworthy, remember that timing is of the essence; 
  • Ask yourself, does this opinion add anything to the conversation? Remember, you’re positioning yourself as an industry leader; 
  • Be detailed, but keep your writing concise. A thought leadership article is normally between 750 and 1500 words;

Tips for writing an opinion piece

Attention grabbing headline

  • Ensure that your headline piques the interest of your reader so that they will read on 
  • Your headline should be between 5-15 words.

Introduction

  • Your introduction should be where you establish your viewpoint on the topic you’re writing about. What do you want people to know? 
  • Summarise the most important details of the topic, and what your opinion is, covering WHO, WHAT, WHEN and WHY.

Body

  • This is the opportunity to expand on your intriguing opinion. 
  • Here is where you’ll add further context to your topic, backing it up with important facts and figures to back up your claim. 
  • Use research tools to further add context. This could be in the form of previous reports or press releases, local or trade news reports, industry data, and media reports to contextualise the topic.

Conclusion

  • Your conclusion will summarise and round out your viewpoint. 
  • Use this as an opportunity to close-off your final comments.

Tips for finalising your opinion piece

Reviewing your article is the most important final step before hitting publish. Once you feel that you’re finished, read it over again checking for typos or errors. Are all the facts correct? The purpose of this piece is to position you, or your client, as an industry leader so there is no room for errors. 

We can become blind to our own errors after carefully crafting an article. Hearing the words out loud can help you to check that everything reads okay and makes sense. You can read it to yourself out loud, or paste your copy into a text to speech generator like Natural Reader to hear how it really sounds.

Finally, appoint an official editor or two to review the copy before publication. If this article has been written on somebody else’s behalf, make sure they are happy with how it sounds.

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