How to Write a Column

Two Methods:Sample ColumnsWriting Your Own Column

Columns are articles or features written for newspapers, magazines, newsletters and other publications. They may be published regularly or one time. While still considered a form of journalism, the language in columns is typically less formal and targeted to a specific audience. Utilize these tips for how to write a column.

Sample Columns

Sample Advice Column

Sample Column in School Paper

Writing Your Own Column

  1. Image titled Write a Column Step 1
    Identify the purpose of your column.
    • Inform readers. Columns can be written to share information, knowledge and experience. Examples of informative columns include how-to and advice columns.
    • Persuade people. Activists, politicians and officials write columns to support a political cause, business action, or other activity or organization.
    • Entertain your audience. Some columns have no other purpose than to be funny or reflect on the humorous aspects of life.
  2. Image titled Write a Column Step 2
    Establish the general content of your column.
    • Write your column with a base evolving from your personal knowledge, experience or education.
    • Draft columns from observations.
    • Use research to create your columns. Utilize other expert opinions.
  3. Image titled Write a Column Step 3
    Pick your audience, and speak in its language.
    • Choose an audience based on demographics, such as age, race, socio-economic status or level of education.
    • Select members of a specific industry or profession for your audience. Many columns are directed to attorneys, doctors, technology experts, writers, sales personnel and others.
    • Opt to direct your column to people in a specific geographic region.
  4. Image titled Write a Column Step 4
    Determine the structure of your column.
    • Teach your audience to complete projects or tasks in a how-to column. Give detailed directions to people so they can do or create something.
    • Provide insight to a topic or person with columns that provide question-and-answer interviews.
    • Share stories, insights or opinions through a personal column that reads much like an article or letter.
  5. Image titled Write a Column Step 5
    Create a consistent style for your column. Readers rely on consistency from columnists.
    • Keep a steady tone. Refrain from being funny if your tone is normally serious. Avoid seriousness if your style is typically humorous or sarcastic.
    • Speak to your readers in a consistent manner. Use similar language, phrasing and vocabulary in each column.
    • Write in the same tense each time you write your column. For example, always write in present tense or first person.
  6. Image titled Write a Column Step 6
    Remain focused when writing your column. While your topics may vary, your overall theme should remain the same.
  7. Image titled Write a Column Step 7
    Proofread and edit your column. Critique it carefully. Make changes that will enhance it, improve your writing and provide more clarity for the reader.
  8. Image titled Write a Column Step 8
    Meet all deadlines. It is essential to meet deadlines and prepare your columns in time for publication. Your column will likely be rejected if it is not submitted in a timely fashion.


  • Read other columns for examples and ideas.
  • Be factual when writing your column. Columns may present opinion and personal insight; however, never fabricate information for use in a column.


  • Avoid technical jargon and stilted language in columns.

Article Info

Categories: Official Writing and Complaints