The 'homework' idea got tossed about by Annie & others, but fizzled out. I still think it is a great idea, as a member asked to learn about the genre. I'm exclusively non-Academic, with the exception of my classes, so I'll forward an 'exercise' I give new Sales Engineers. I won't post suggested exercises that take a long time, don't worry.

There are only a handful of 'tried and true' methodologies (structures) to writing a compelling argument, which is all this kind of writing is. One of the simplest comes loosely from academia, surprisingly, and is a good way for those who can't yet see the finished deliverable in their mind's eye to still maintain the big picture as they go. Roughly, it goes:

1. Tell them what you are going to tell them.
2. Tell them.
3. Tell them what you just told them.

I have adopted this to be much more direct and useful, as in most cases you are presenting a compelling argument:

0. Describe what the Idea/Concept is, formed as a 'title' in a newspaper (1 "sentence"). Ex: "Technology Can Save Scallops During Deadly Annual Migrations"

1. Describe the Problem or Opportunity (1 sentence, never more than 3). Ex: "Each year, millions of sea scallops die needlessly at the hands of Filbert sharks, who wait in the historical routes. This drives up costs at the market, and will make them extinct by 2500CE."

2. Describe the Solution (again, no more than 3 sentences). Ex: "Hormone and gene therapy now exists that is proven to make the scallops big enough to fend off the sharks. The technology will not harm the sharks, but might make harvesting them somewhat more dangerous." <- Here I am introducing a negative by example, which you should really try not to do. The point here is one of my sayings: "Never give them enough information to say 'No'". This short piece is not meant to allow an educated decision, but reel the reader in, asking for more detail/clarification.

3. Describe the Solution Implemented (Same size requirements as above). Ex: "By investing in the Mega Scallopizer T3000, an entire region of starving people dependent on the sea for sustenance can eat for a year with one day's fishing. The excess scallops will serve to bolster their weak economies, and 'Scallop Wrestling' will drive eco-tourism to these desolate 3rd world locales."

Things to remember:
-This should read almost like a one-sided 'elevator pitch'. Here would be the other 1/2 of that conversation:

"So, what do YOU do?"
Adapt #0, reading like, "[I sell] technology [that] can save..."
"I've never heard of this problem. How bad is it?"
#1 should do as-is.
"Isn't there anything that can be done about it?"
#2 is a good answer, right?
"That should do the trick, then, right?"
#3 should be the 'closer'.

-It is best if taken from real life, unlike my example. You can even write about an existing problem/opportunity-solution you see/use every day in your doings.

So, can you write a few sentences in this format to describe and address a problem, or more interestingly, take advantage of an opportunity?

Please post (reply), if you like! :)