Tips for Writing Feature Articles

If you are writing for a print source or for online content, you might be interested to learn some tips for writing feature articles. Writing feature articles can be a fun way to expose a particular topic, to feature a particular individual you find inspiring, or even share your passions with other people. Your possibilities for writing are endless.

What is a feature story in the news?

a newspaper or magazine article or report of a person, event, an aspect of a major event, or the like, often having a personal slant and written in an individual style. Compare follow-up (def 3b), hard news, news story. … the main or most prominentstory in a magazine. Expand. Also called feature.

What is in a feature article?

Feature articles are detailed pieces of writing which explore a range of issues, opinions, experiences and ideas. The purpose of a feature article will vary depending on the media it is meant for. Feature articles should appeal to the particular audience the article is targeting.

What is a profile story?

A profile is a type of feature story and usually focuses on a person. Profile is a somewhat specific term for a story about a person and, usually, focuses on what’s important or interesting about that person now.
Here are some steps to follow to help you write a good feature story:

Get the reader’s attention quickly. …

Organize your story carefully. …

Use short paragraphs and vary the lengths of sentences for effect. …

Write with strong verbs and nouns, but go easy on adjectives. …

Don’t be afraid to use offbeat quotes. …

Write tightly.

Choosing a Topic

When most people ask about tips for writing feature articles, they usually first need help with finding a topic. Ask an editor what kinds of material he or she is looking for from the publication. It can be very tricky to come up with your inspiration unless you are very motivated by a particular topic.

Look online to see if you can find subjects that are interesting, thoughtful, and exciting. Keep reading the news and checking blogs for content that might be interesting to write about in your own feature articles.

Whenever you meet someone interesting that you would like to interview in a feature article, consider giving them your business card and asking them to keep you in mind for future writing as well.

 Writing a Good Feature Article

The best way to learn about writing, specially in the world of feature articles, is to keep reading. The reality is, the more good writing you read, and the more you practice writing, the more fluent and coherent a writer you will become. Your goal should be to build up flexibility as a writer and be able to write about a variety of subjects.

Here are some more great tips for your writing:

  • Make sure you quote people accurately and fairly. Taking someone’s words out of context might create buzz about the article, but it would not be fair representation.
  • Try to get multiple points of view in your articles. It can be fun to have a completely opinionated article, but striving for balance will help lots of people relate to your writing and want to read more about the friction between different opinions.
  • This being said, share your opinions!  Feature articles are more interesting for readers when a writer takes a stance with an expository style.
  • Find a photographer to take pictures – these can make your articles much more interesting. In fact, consider taking the pictures yourself!
  • Stick to a word count. Many editors have strict word counts so that articles can fit on the page with no stress – and so that they aren’t left with blank space at the end. Keep track of your words and augment / detract as necessary.

For more tips for writing feature articles, speak to an editor who can help you organize your thoughts.

Building an Audience: How to Get People Interested in Your Writing

When writing, you do not want to alienate any of your readers – keep in mind a general audience. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What kinds of things would you want to read about?
  • How can I keep things interesting?

From the get-go, let your friends, family, and colleagues know that you will be writing. Ask if they know connections that might be interested in seeing your work, or if they would like to be interviewed for the articles you write. Even if you have writer’s block in the future, you can very easily lean back on your contacts and networking to produce something spectacular – and you will learn a lot in the process as you build your connections.

Share your writing widely. If you are doing print publications, consider photocopying bits of your work to forward to people you know and people you want to write for. You can also consider sending links to features articles which you write and publish online.

Training Your Ear for Tension

Stories are everywhere if you learn to look. Sometimes you have to search, and sometimes you just need to pay closer attention to what’s in front of you. Here are some ways to find them.

Think of the whole story. When approaching a new story, look beyond the newsworthy item that led you there. It’s easy to be distracted by what’s happening on the surface. But think about all that might have led to that moment. What might seem to you like a boring ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new business may really be the culmination of a lifelong dream for the owner. An ordinary high school graduation could be a moment of triumph for a student who overcame great obstacles to hold her diploma. A story about a sports team that wins (or—think of the tension—loses) a championship isn’t about that one game. It’s about an entire season, possibly longer. In the end, it might not be about a game at all.

Listen … to everyone. When reporting, don’t just listen for people to confirm what you already think the story is. Seek to be surprised. Probe into people’s lives and listen to the small details. Let them jabber away. If the tension is not obvious from the start, it often shows itself through an offhand comment or some seemingly trivial fact. Uncovering those means talking not just to the big players in the story, but to everyone you can.

 



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