Writing a column

Everyone has read a column in a newspaper or magazine. The word column comes from the space that a newspaper has reserved for the piece. Most columnists have a permanent place in a newspaper or magazine. The columnist can express himself fully in this section and that is what makes the column so challenging to write.

If you google the word 'column', you will soon find out that there are no real rules for writing a column. A column is a free genre and often a creative outburst from the writer. Anything is possible, as long as you are captivating. There are, however, guidelines that can be followed to make a column more incisive.

Choose a topic about which you have enough to say. For example, you can write about why you started this magazine, or about something you experienced with the person for whom you are making the magazine.

Most articles, such as an essay or an editorial, are divided into an introduction, a core and a conclusion. This way, the text becomes a coherent whole. A column can also be structured into an introduction, core and conclusion. The introduction introduces the subject and draws the reader's attention to it. In the body, you present arguments, examples or explanations, and in the end you neatly summarise the whole piece. Finally, you end your essay with a strong conclusion or a catchy punch line.

Don't make the column too long. A shorter text has a much better chance of getting your message across to the reader. Especially nowadays, with the new generation growing up with Twitter and the average tweet being limited to 140 characters, a text can quickly become too long. The average length of a column is about 350 words. It is also important that the text evokes an emotion in the reader. For example, it should make the reader laugh or feel touched by it.

Where do you want to place the text? Do you want an image to accompany the text? What colours do you want on the page surrounding the column? These are examples of questions about the design of your column. If you find it difficult to create the layout of your column yourself, you can also use the templates in the online programme. There are several options to choose from.

For some sample templates that you can use look down below:


Are you stuck? Then take a look at how others do it. For example in well-known magazines such as Vogue, Glamour or V Magazine.