Have you ever wondered how to write a think piece? Sometimes, a writer’s role is to report and present information in an unbiased manner. And sometimes your job is to write a think piece.
Writing a compelling think piece is meant to make the audience, well, think!
Exploring complex issues and taking a stance on one side of the fence takes guts, but can reward you with highly insightful counter arguments and analyses from all sides if you can engage your writers enough to start a discussion.
Use your soapbox think piece to challenge beliefs and norms and share your opinion on a passionate topic.
Whether your topic is social, cultural, political or personal, take this opportunity to shake up the status quo by infusing your unique voice, compelling argument and fresh perspective into the discussion.
How to Write a Think Piece
Similar to opinion writing, a think piece is an article that doesn’t only share facts, but focuses on personal opinions. The goal of a think piece is to spark a discussion on both sides of the topic. Your work should compel readers to critically think about your points and share their own thoughts and counterarguments.
Here’s how to write a think piece.
Do Your Research
No matter what you are writing, doing thorough research is key. Even if you already feel like an expert on your topic, it is still important to do more research to be up-to-date with all of the latest information. Being able to present research and sources to back up your opinions also gives your argument more credibility.
When crafting the argument for your op-ed, read through multiple articles and be sure to take the time to reflect and ask questions about what you’re reading. Will this strengthen my argument? Does this oppose or support my perspective? Is this information accurate or helpful?
When going through the steps for how to write a think piece, prioritize research. This process will help you become more familiar with your topic and also help you anticipate counterarguments.
Don’t be afraid of sources that do not align with the argument of your think piece. Remember, you are sharing your opinion, supported by your research, but not everyone will share your perspective on complex issues. If we all shared the same ideas and opinions, how could we practice critical thinking and engage in powerful discussions and debates?
Good research will help you feel more confident during the writing process with your well-thought out and supported ideas, and it also enhances the quality and credibility of your think piece.
Set a Structure
Even the strongest argument can get lost in translation if the think piece does not have a strong and solid structure to carry the message.
Just like structuring any article, there are many routes you can go but not all of them will help you create a smooth-sounding cohesive narrative that makes readers stop and think. Without proper structure, your ideas can get easily missed, mixed up and forgotten in a jumbled mess leading to nowhere.
Start by outlining the purpose of your think piece and the main points or arguments you want to get across.
How do these ideas fit together? What is the logical order to arrange them in?
These are important questions to consider and there often is not one correct way to organize your ideas. However you are best able to organize your own thinking and effectively guide your readers through your think piece should determine the order.
Even though a think piece does not use the most formal writing style, that does not mean it should not have a structural framework. Use headings and subheadings to act as signposts and visual breaks to help readers navigate the piece. Catchy or witty headings and subheadings help grab the reader’s attention and let them know what to expect.
How to Write a Think Piece: Engage the Reader
If you’re wondering how to write a think piece, keep this in mind: it is essential to capture your reader’s attention right off the bat and to maintain it throughout.
One of the best ways to keep readers engaged is by using storytelling. We are naturally drawn to good storytellers who can hold our interest from start to finish with emotion and charisma. Using storytelling techniques such as including personal stories, anecdotes and imagery can help make your work more engaging, relatable and memorable for readers.
A good way to get readers to relate to and connect with your ideas is by using real-world examples.
Presenting your thoughts abstractly can leave some readers in the dark, not able to make connections and ultimately missing the main idea and appeal you were trying to get across. When readers can relate to concrete examples, it helps them see how your ideas relate to their own lives, making your think piece more relevant and engaging.
Remember that a think piece is also supposed to spark reflection and conversation among your audience. Encourage active engagement and critical thinking by posing thought provoking questions that challenge conventional beliefs. Be open to hearing varying opinions from readers and use these differing perspectives to springboard into new realms of thought and questioning.
Present a Balanced Argument
It may seem counterintuitive, but it is important to acknowledge the opposing side of your argument.
If you’re wondering how to write a think piece, think of it like this: don’t get wrapped up in only sharing one point of view (yours). Look at other sides to the story as well.
Being able to speak to counterarguments shows intellectual honesty and actually strengthens your own argument by showing openness and credibility.
Going back to the research stage of the writing process, you will have found other articles and think pieces directly in opposition to your own ideas. Don’t shy away and try to hide these! Reviewing these arguments helps you paint a more well rounded image of the issue in your own mind and allows you to illustrate that in your writing.
When you share differing viewpoints, remember to do it fairly and respectfully. While you don’t have to go into as much detail as you would for your own viewpoint, be sure to give a clear, accurate representation of both sides of the coin. This shows your readers that you are open minded by taking the time to consider all of the angles and are open to discussion from multiple perspectives.
Embrace the power of your voice! With some research, organization and open mindedness, you can take your passion and turn it into a well-crafted, thought-provoking think piece that will hook readers and prompt them to reflect on their own beliefs.
A willingness to share personal anecdotes, be a little vulnerable and show some humility can go a long way to connecting with readers and encouraging them to share their own opinions on the topic to stoke an enriching discussion.
Let us know if this helps you better understand how to write a think piece!