The editorial is the first text the reader sees. It sets the tone for the rest of the publication. Here are our 5 tips for a good editorial that will grab the reader’s attention.
The first article in a newspaper or a magazine is called an editorial (US) or leading article (UK). By extension, the term also applies to newsletters.
Unlike other articles, the editorial primarily expresses the editor’s opinion. It gives its author the opportunity to address the readers directly, to hold their attention and inspire them to read the rest of the publication.
Editorials and Internal Communications
In both company magazines and newsletters, the editorial is the first text the reader is presented with. Unlike traditional press, internal communication doesn’t usually seek to report a situation or assert a particular position. On the contrary, the aim tends to be uniting employees around a common theme.
Writing an editorial vs. signing an editorial
In most cases, the editor-in-chief writes and signs the editorial. But when it comes to internal communication, the editorial allows management to express their views. The signatory of an editorial can be:
- An executive Board member
- A branch or department manager
- A project manager
The writing is usually done by either the internal communication teams, the chairperson or the editor-in-chief. And the person who signs it is not necessarily the one who wrote it. Whoever gets to write it, the good new is the rules for creating a good editorial are the same!
5 Guidelines for a Powerful Editorial
Writing an editorial may, at first glance, seem quite similar to writing other internal communication texts. There are simple rules to follow to create effective content. However, the editorial is a very special article: it is an opinion piece, halfway between an article and an interview.
Here are 5 tips for you to succeed in this endeavor.
1) Define your goal before you start writing
Just because editorials are opinion pieces doesn’t mean that it can be thoughtlessly organized. You should start by defining your goal. Is the article going to explain an issue? Does it introduce a theme which will be further discussed in the publication? Does it intend to help raise employee morale during tough times?
Your goal will serve as the backbone during the writing process.
2) Match the editorial to the other articles
Because it is the first text in a publication, the editorial also serves as an introduction. It must therefore set the tone. The goal isn’t to refer to all the topics discussed in the magazine or newsletter. Rather, the editorial should put into context, such as general news or an important upcoming event for the company.
If you are not the author of the editorial, please consider sending a detailed summary of the publication to the person in charge of it. This will help him/her to write a good editorial. Don’t forget to tell the author how much space they’ll have. It will help you avoid the back and forth to adjust the text to the layout.
3) Write an editorial, not a speech
Finding the right tone for the editorial can be tricky. The editorial is a signed text, often by a senior executive of the company. While they are opinionated, editorials aren’t speeches and your writing style shouldn’t be conversational. That being said, try to limit the use of overly complicated or technical terms. The tone of the editorial can be different compared to other content. For instance, one big specificity is that it should directly address readers.
Don’t use the editorial section for important announcements. The board can use it to clarify their position on a topic, or to prepare the ground before big announcements. But since not all readers read the editorial we advise you not to use it to reveal any big news.
4) Focus on concrete facts
Strong messages are based on accurate facts. When editorials are too theoretical, readers might be tempted to skip the read. Especially since writing an editorial requires synthesis skills as the space is limited. So you may not be able to go into details about your opinion.
On the contrary, using concrete examples serves to illustrate your point and will help employees feel familiar with your ideas.
5) Write the title last
This rule applies to all articles, but is especially important when it comes to editorials. You have to captivate the reader, arouse their curiosity. Writing the title after you’ve finished the essay allows you to make sure you have all the elements in hand to find the best title.
And don’t forget to pay special attention to the first and last sentences. These are the ones that will have the most impact on the reader!