When it comes to trending news content, it can sometimes be intimidating to write about your opinion. Whether it's "too political" or you just don't know how to get started, there are some simple guidelines you can follow to write a great piece of trending news content.
Here are 5 major things to consider writing an effective and efficient trending news piece:
When drafting a headline, you want to make sure a few things are clear in it: the news break that you are covering and your opinion about it.
Here are some headlines from 5 of Currently's highest performing pieces:
- I Am A Female And I Am So Over Feminists
- 6 Women And 7 People Of Color Ran, And Democrats Settled On Two White Men Pushing 80
- Ellen Pompeo Went OFF On TMZ For How They Handled Kobe Bryant's Death, And Rightfully So
- I'm 19 And Won't Get ANY Help From The Coronavirus Aid Package, Thanks For Nothing, Congress
- I Asked 22 People 4 Questions About George Floyd, And It's Clear Black Lives NEED To Matter More
All of these headlines have these two major pillars in common: they accurately report what the news is about and they have a striking opinion in them that doesn't play devil's advocate.
These headlines communicate to the reader immediately what they are clicking into and they drive a stronger readership for your content. It also helps to create a unique piece of content you can't find anywhere else.
2. Cover Images
A good cover image helps to land the piece in a reader's mind when they are scrolling through their news feeds.
You want to make sure you are sourcing relevant images that, ideally, are not years old but were taken surrounding the news you are covering.
Let's take this piece as an example:
The cover image comes directly from a Democratic debate. What makes this image special is that there is a clear separation between Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren and Biden and Bernie (the 'two white men pushing 80').
With this image, the sense that there is a divide within the Democratic party that is called to in the headline is enforced in a visual way. It creates a much stronger package where the cover image reinforces the headline and the headline reinforces the cover image.
3. Body of the piece
Most importantly, get straight to the point. Especially with more political newsy pieces.
It's really easy to try to play devil's advocate in an attempt to not ostracize readers. But as long as you aren't stereotyping, being racist, or marginalizing a group of people from ill-intent, your opinion is your opinion. So speak on it. That's why you're writing in the first place.
A good piece of content for Currently achieves two things: it states the news in an unbiased way, hyperlinking in relevant facts where necessary, and it elaborates on a shared opinion in a unique way.
Here is a great example. In this timely piece about FOID cards in Illinois, the creator starts by leading with the direct news, "A judge in White County, Illinois finds the Firearm Owner's Identification Card Act (FOID) unconstitutional." It is plain, simple, and straight to the point.
Afterwards, the creator goes into their opinion in a unique way. It creates an engaging piece that both helps the reader understand the news from an unbiased perspective while also showing readers the creator's perspective.
4. Keep it simple, keep it sweet
Face it, nobody wants to read your 3,000-word essay you had to write for your History class.
Anything more than 800 words will usually leave your reader tired and bored. So try to keep it as concise as possible.
This isn't a hard fact, but if you can write a short, concise piece of content that both captures the news and your opinion, you're more likely going to engage your reader the whole way through the piece.
Not only that, but you'll get your point across in a much sharper way then if you spent thousands of words elaborating on your point.
5. Make sure you're either breaking news or breaking an opinion
It's really easy to try to find popular opinions on social media or in articles that have already been written and use that as a base for your content. But that is a sure way to fall flat with a piece of content on Currently — and on Odyssey in general.
When you're opinion is new and hasn't been done before on the platform, there is a much greater chance for that piece of content to really take off because it is fresh and something people haven't seen before.
So take your time to really think about how you feel about a particular news break and use that as fodder for your content instead of seeing a 'popular' opinion that might have been covered already and trying to write it slightly differently.