Opinion matters

I don’t know why I do it, but I do. No matter how much I find the views of Mike Hosking getting my back up, I continually go back for more. 

No offence to Mr Hosking he is one of our country’s best broadcasters but there’s no doubt there is a certain way he views the world which doesn’t always align with mine. From advocating for laissez faire politics to getting rid of evil cycleways – he tends to provoke. 

But really that’s why we go back for more right? And you know what provocation is something we need more of in this country. The unfortunate thing is though it is the same “establishment” voices we hear from the whole time but there also lies the opportunity for you dear reader. 

In the cluttered world we live in where a million things are vying for our attention, a considered, well-structured opinion is gold. And provided your viewpoint is underpinned by some independence of thought, there’s no reason why you can’t be given a pedestal like that of Mr Hosking, particularly over the holiday period when “hard news” is scarce. 

The trick is being original and relevant and here’s some tips to help:

• Keep the entry point topical

There’s no use having an opinion about a specialist market or area of your business which would be irrelevant to a majority of people you’re talking to. You need to keep it topical, seize onto the broader public debate at large. What’s the zeitgeist (love that word) of the day? 

The opinion editorial doesn’t have to be solely focussed on it but the entry point into the editorial piece does. With that in mind, while we wind down into Xmas festivities and the social season booms, keep your ears attuned to the broader conversation topics going on at staff functions, drinks with peers and friends, with family over Christmas dinner. 

Where do you stand and how can you weave your key messages into that issue?

• Use bullet points

The usage of bullet points in current affairs is increasingly for list type articles or “listicles” as some people call them. These are largely consumer education type pieces i.e. 5 ways to peel a banana but the usage of bullet points equally applies to an opinion piece to structure thoughts and build the narrative you’re looking to convey. It’s also easier on the eye especially when you’re looking to attract attention from people lazing about on the beach or by the pool.

• Be passionate

We’re not talking about your ability as a lover here. It’s more about getting a little worked up on an issue and then showing that you care. Increasingly millennials and others are looking to businesses and organisations that have a strong moral compass and genuinely want to do good for the world. 

Businesses are being given a mandate to have a voice on things outside their usual realm on all sorts of social issues – environment, gender issues. It goes deeper than brand it’s about what your organisation stands for. Tap into that and express it on a subject you genuinely care about.

• Be strategic

Having an opinion on a social issue or topic that attracts attention is great but better serving a purpose if part of a broader narrative you’re looking to have with stakeholders and customers. It’s about agenda setting with a provocative opinion and then building on that over a period to serve a strategic purpose be that a regulatory decision, a major bid you’re being considered for or build up to a new product launch. 

From this perspective, opinion pieces executed in media and other public platforms, early in the year are great as can align with annual business plans and sets the tone before the market kicks into gear proper come February/March.

• Keep up the dialogue

Ok so you have achieved what you intended to and created an opinion piece that has attracted a lot of attention and earned some media coverage even. The next step is to keep up the dialogue and respond to comments. You’ve engaged an audience now, how can you look to keep them that way. Own your viewpoint territory and build on it via social media and even look to opportunities to become a media commentator.

As that great folk band of the 1990s, NWA, said:

Some drop science
While I'm droppin' English.
Even if Yella
Makes it a-capella….

Don't be another sequel...

Express yourself...
Express yourself...
Come on and do it...

And of course, if all of the above has gone right over your head, best to get in touch with one of the team at the Clarity Business to help. Send us an email:  welcome@theclaritybusiness.co.nz 

By Luke Henshall


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