How to write an editorial? Tips and examples

How to write an editorial? Tips and examples


The editorial is originally used by the written press: company news, newsletter of a municipality, youth magazine, fashion or design magazine or even daily newspaper. In the era of dematerialization and the development of digital uses, these paper-based communication media are becoming digital, and publishers are publishing an online version of their magazine.

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The editorial is also used as part of the brand’s digital marketing strategy: it can be distributed in the form of a newsletter to introduce the redirection content, in the form of podcast-type audio content and even in the form of a video. In this context, more and more companies are required to train in the editorial writing exercise. To write an editorial, it is a question of respecting certain rules which differ from the technique of writing blog articles. The writer can draw inspiration from the many examples of editorials visible on the front pages of magazines and newspapers or accessible in their web version.

From the first page or the first minute of listening or viewing, the audience becomes aware of the subjects treated in the newspaper or the program, discovers the position of the author and becomes impregnated with the tone. It is thus the editorial that motivates the decision whether or not to continue reading, listening or viewing. Examples of particularly committed or offbeat editorials illustrate the power of this short introduction, which not only attracts attention but also builds audience loyalty.

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How to write an editorial?

Set the tone

First, the editor defines the style of writing to adopt for content that conforms to the editorial line. The style is determined with regard to the target. A strong language intended for a CSP+ audience, a vocabulary adapted to the language of adolescents to reach Generation Z or even technical jargon for business specialists: the lexical field of the editorial must reflect the rest of the content, to allow the audience to be sure that it is concerned.

Determine the goal

Each editorial is unique. To write varied editorials, without the risk of tiring the audience, the editor can alternate editorial angles:

  • The persuasive editorial rallies the audience to the cause supported by the editor on the day of publication. It is about convincing the audience to adhere to an idea, to encourage action. Example: the clothing brand pays an association €1 per product sold; the company writes its editorial in such a way as to make the reader aware of the cause, in order to promote sales.
  • The critical editorial makes a judgment, neither slanderous nor defamatory, on a current event. The publisher distributes committed content, to take a frank position and strengthen its brand image. It is a question of rebelling but also of proposing solutions to the problem.
  • The glowing editorial tends towards self-promotion. Illustrations: the newsletter of the municipality or the company reviews the significant news and the successes of the past weeks; the corporate newsletter presents its recent fundraising. This editorial angle is adopted for purposes of cohesion and loyalty.
  • The interrogative editorial encourages the audience to question themselves. The content generates reactions and comments, until it goes viral. Brand awareness is thus increased.

To continue to arouse interest, for notoriety or marketing purposes, it is important to convey a distinct message in each editorial.

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Find a hook

Unlike the article which is intended to last over time, the editorial is part of the news. This also helps to make it all the more impactful. When writing the editorial, it is therefore necessary to link the content to significant news, supported by recent figures, the editor of which mentions official sources for the sake of credibility.

Example: the clothing brand wants to write a persuasive editorial as part of its partnership with an association fighting against poverty. The content engages the audience with a timely fact: a recent natural disaster has led to increased poverty in a region of the world. The editorial includes a relevant figure, and redirects to the association’s website.

Write the editorial

The editorial work is based on the tone, the editorial angle and the hook previously identified. 3 tips for writing a good editorial:

  • Provoking emotions: Emotions promote audience engagement. Indignation, compassion, surprise, doubt, satisfaction or even emulation: depending on the editorial angle, the writer uses effective lexical field, style and punctuation to create emotion. Unlike “cold” content, the editorial is not neutral. On the contrary, it is informal, so as to create complicity by involving the audience.
  • Structuring the content: the editorial is a short content. Either way, the narrative structure must be respected to facilitate reading and maintain attention. A punchy title, a brief catchy introduction and 2-3 paragraphs are enough. Some editorials are signed by their author to personalize the content, but the signature is not systematic. To guide the writing, the author can imagine himself in the context of a conversation with his interlocutor: the editorial is written like a discussion, awaiting the reaction of the audience.
  • Present what follows: the editorial is not a pamphlet. Keep in mind that the text serves to introduce the body of the magazine or radio program. Beyond taking a position, the editorial presents the developments to come to inform the audience of what they are about to discover.

Get in shape

When the text of the editorial is written, it remains to be formatted. The editorial intended for a newspaper or a paper magazine is laid out by a designer. If the editorial is published on the web, a graphic designer takes care of its formatting in compliance with the rules of responsive web design. For an audio or video editorial, it’s about creating the podcast or making the video. In any case, shaping is an important step. If the text is the fundamental element of the editorial, its form also contributes to its appeal.

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5 examples of successful corporate editorials

Example #1: Joey Starr’s editorial to launch his cooking magazine

In 2022, artist Joey Starr launches his cooking magazine Five Starr, in paper and digital versions. He publishes on this occasion a first successful editorial:
  • The tone is set from the very first words: “I love food”. This term catches by its vulgar character. The reader also knows that the magazine deals with gastronomy, and anticipates the direct and frank editorial style specific to the rapper.
  • The pace of the writing is quick and jerky, to engage the audience and indicate that the content to come is straight to the point.
  • Joey Starr signs his editorial, thus creating complicity with the reader who feels engaged in a personalized relationship. A postscript at the end of the editorial imbues the content with a conversational tone.
  • The image in the background is a portrait of the artist, whose reputation is intended to attract a large audience.

Example #2: The Charlie Hebdo editorial to close the year 2021

charlie hebdo
On December 28, 2021, Charlie Hebdo asks: “Will 2022 be as boring as 2021? “. The hook is punchy. This editorial relates recent news in facts and figures, uses bold and italics for its formatting and asks questions likely to generate interest in the reader. The writing style conforms to the editorial line of the satirical weekly newspaper, which does not hesitate to express its opinion. All the elements are thus brought together to faithfully present the content to come, while attracting attention.

Example #3: Sézane and Malt editorials in the form of newsletters

Sézane editorial
The Sézane clothing brand sends out an editorial in the form of a newsletter to convince customers to join the supported cause. The editorial is dated, to fit in with the times, and the layout is neat so as to encourage the click. The newsletter also informs about the content of redirection: Sézane promotes products with a solidarity objective. The brand highlights the products, while communicating on its humanitarian commitment.
editorial malt
Malt, a company that connects companies with freelance digital workers, publishes an editorial in one of its newsletters. The content is a 2021 retrospective, highlighting the company’s recent fundraising. The objective is clear: to strengthen the trust of platform users and build loyalty.

Example #4: Okapi’s editorial to seduce parents

editorial okapi
The Okapi youth magazine publish an editorial to present its issue dedicated to the learning of mathematics.
  • The editor-in-chief uses puns and familiarity, in accordance with the editorial line of the magazine aimed at children, and indirectly at their parents.
  • A famous name is quoted to support the developments, and the formatting facilitates the reading of the short text.
  • The editorial clearly presents the content of the magazine, and makes children and their parents want to buy it using convincing arguments.

Example #5: The editorial of Madame Figaro by Naomi Campbell

naomi campbell editorTo attract the audience, the fashion magazine Madame Figaro invites Naomi Campbell to write her editorial. Improvised editor-in-chief, the model speaks in the first person to promote the link with the reader. Naomi Campbell talks about her personal story and relates it with the Black Lives Matter news: the editorial raises awareness by taking on the fight against racism.

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