Feature articles are windows into the human experience, giving more details and descriptions than a news story in print, which often uses the inverted pyramid style of writing. Feature articles focus on an event or person and give the reader an opportunity to more fully understand an interesting dimension of a topic. Writing a feature article can be a very creative and fun activity, but it takes hard work and planning to write an effective and interesting feature article.
Part 1 of 5: Choose a topic
Step 1. Find a compelling story
Read the news and talk to people so that you find some interesting stories. Think about what phenomena happen and how you can talk about them in a new and innovative way.
Step 2. Do some research on the topic
Finding the background information can help you figure out an angle and identify the subjects you will be interviewing. It's good to do some research online, but it may not get you very much. You will have to consult some books to ensure that you are fully aware of the issues that relate to the topic. A historical feature article may require a visit to a registry.
Step 3. Decide on the type of feature article you want to write
There are many ways to write a feature article, depending on what you want to focus on. Some of these ways are:
- Human interest- Many stories in feature articles focus on an issue that impacts people. They focus on one person or a group of people.
- Profile- This feature article focuses on the character or lifestyle of a specific person. It is intended to help the reader feel that they have a window into someone's life. It is often about celebrities or some other public figures.
- Instructive- How-to articles teach readers how to do something. Often times, the writer writes about his own journey to learn a craft, such as how to make a wedding cake.
- Historical- Feature articles honoring historical events or developments are very common. They are useful for juxtaposing the past and the present, which helps to ground the reader in a shared story.
- Seasonal- Some feature articles are perfect for writing about certain times of the year, such as the beginning of summer vacation or winter holidays.
- Behind the stage- This type of feature article gives readers an appreciation for an unusual process, issue, or event. You can introduce them to something that is not usually available to the public or that is not made public.
Step 4. Consider the audience you want to reach
Think about who will read your stories as you come up with ideas for them. Ask some questions, such as: What kinds of angles will appeal to certain readers? and Who will your readers be? For example, you can write a profile about a pastry chef, but you'll write it differently depending on whether your readers are aspiring chefs or wedding planners looking to purchase a wedding cake.
Step 5. Consider the type of publication you are writing for
You will need to modify the feature article to reflect a certain interest in a way if you write for a magazine or blog with a very specific topic, such as horticulture. On the other hand, a newspaper is intended for a more general audience and one that may be more open to varied content.
Part 2 of 5: Interview the subject of the feature article
Step 1. Schedule an interview at a time and place convenient for the interviewee
Ask your interviewee when and where to meet with you. Ask for a quiet place where they will be relatively disturbed during the interview if it gives you a choice.
- Schedule around 30-45 minutes with this person. Be respectful of their time and don't take up their entire day. Be sure to confirm the date and time a few days in advance of the scheduled interview to ensure the interviewee still agrees with the time.
- For example, ask him if he can take you to his workplace if you want to observe him at work.
Step 2. Prepare for the interview
Do your research ahead of time to make sure you ask for the most compelling answers. Have a long list of questions to keep the conversation flowing. Learn about the background and experience of the interview subject, as well as their perspectives on the topic you are interviewing about.
Step 3. Give your interviewee a list of questions ahead of time
The direction of the interview should not come as a surprise to the interviewee. Giving him the questions before the interview will help you provide more thoughtful answers.
Step 4. Get to the interview early
Your interviewee's time is valuable, so you don't want to waste the appointment by rushing to get there and arrive out of breath. Arrive early at the interview site. Set up your audio recording equipment and test it out. Make sure you have extra pens and papers.
Step 5. Record the audio of the interview
Use an audio recorder for the interview, but also take notes. There is always the possibility that the recorder runs out of batteries or memory.
Be sure to ask your interviewee if there is no problem with you recording the interview audio. You should notify the interviewee and get their consent if you plan to use the audio for any purpose other than writing the feature article, such as a podcast that can accompany the article
Step 6. Confirm the details about the interviewee
You don't want to write a lengthy feature article about a person only to find out you've misspelled their name. Be sure to check the spelling of his name, as well as other details that are important to the story.
Step 7. Ask questions without fixed alternatives
Questions that use a fixed answer, between yes and no, will not give you much information. Instead, ask questions that start with "How" and "Why." These types of questions give the interviewee an opportunity to tell a story and to relate some details or to give their opinion.
Step 8. Actively listen
Listening is a fundamental component of a good interview. Don't give too many of your observations, but react to what they say just by smiling or nodding. People are more likely to continue speaking when their audience is receptive.
Step 9. Ask follow-up questions
Part of being a good interviewer is determining when someone has finished talking about a particular topic and when it will be helpful to encourage them into a more in-depth discussion. You can also use follow-up questions to make connections between ideas.
Step 10. Make notes right after the interview
Make observations and notes just when you are done with the interview and when they are fresh in your mind. These observations can be about the place, how the person looked, what they did, or how they presented themselves.
Step 11. Transcribe the interview
Transcribing or writing the entire interview can be tedious. However, it is essential to get the sentences correct and it can be very useful to be able to read what the interviewee said. Do it on your own or pay someone to do it for you.
Step 12. Send a thank you note to the interviewee
Thank you for your time and give you an idea of when you can expect the feature article to be published. Also, this is an opportunity to ask some follow-up questions if you notice that you need more information.
Part 3 of 5: Prepare to Write the Feature Article
Step 1. Choose a format for your feature article
Feature articles do not have a particular formula in the same way that news articles do. You don't have to follow the inverted pyramid writing style that conveys the who, what, where, when and why of a news story. Instead, choose a more ingenious way to write a story. Some possible formats are:
- It begins by describing an impressive moment and then reveals the story that led up to that moment.
- Use a story-within-story format that uses a narrator to tell someone else's story.
- Begin the story with an ordinary moment and identify how the story became unusual.
Step 2. Decide on the approximate length of the feature article
Newspaper stories contain between 500 and 2,500 words, while magazine feature articles contain between 500 and 5,000 words. Also, blog feature articles contain between 250 and 2,500 words.
Talk to your editor to see how long you want your feature article to be
Step 3. Outline the feature article
Start building your feature story by reviewing your notes, selecting a few phrases, and outlining a structure for your feature story. Start with your introduction and decide how you want to build your feature article. What information do you want to reveal first? Think about the overall theme or lasting impression you want to make on the reader as you come to the conclusion.
Consider what you absolutely must keep in the story and what can be omitted. For example, if you write a 500 word feature article, you will have to be very selective about what to include, considering that you would have much more room to write in a 2,500 word feature article
Part 4 of 5: Writing the Feature Article
Step 1. Write a hook to start the story
The first paragraph is your opportunity to hook the reader and draw them into your story. You will lose your reader and they will not continue with the rest of the story if the opening paragraph is boring or difficult to understand.
- Start with an interesting fact, phrase, or anecdote.
- Your opening paragraph should be only 2-3 sentences long.
Step 2. Explore the second paragraph
While it is true that the opening can attract people, the second paragraph (and subsequent paragraphs) have to begin to explain the reason for trying the story. Why is history read? What is important about it?
Step 3. Follow your outline
This will help you stay on track to build a good feature article. Similarly, it can help you remember how details relate to each other and how sentences support certain points you are making.
However, be flexible. Sometimes when you write, the flow makes sense in a way that is different from the outline. Be prepared to change the address of the feature article if it seems to read better that way
Step 4. Show and don't count
You get to describe people and scenes to the reader when you write a feature article. Describe an environment or a person so that the reader can visualize it clearly in their mind.
Step 5. Don't use too many phrases
While it is true that it can be tempting to include the interviewee's words in the story, do not use much in citing his phrases. Otherwise, this becomes more of a direct interview. Write based on your sentences to give them context, build the story and help the reader interpret what the interviewee is saying.
Step 6. Choose a language that is appropriate for your readers
Consider the people in the target audience of the post you are writing for and write based on their level and interest. Don't assume they are familiar with what you are talking about. Therefore, you will have to explain certain points. Make sure to specify the acronyms and explain the jargon. Write in a style that is more talkative, rather than rigid and academic.
Step 7. Keep your opinion out of the feature article
A feature article conveys information and details about a person or phenomenon. It is not an opportunity for you to give your opinion on an issue. Instead, your personality is conveyed through your writing style.
Step 8. Review your feature article
When you're done, put it away for a day to get some distance from it. Take it back when you are refreshed and read it completely. Think of ways to polish the descriptions, clarify the points, and stylize the explanations. What areas do you have to skip? What areas need additional information?
Part 5 of 5: Finish the Feature Article
Step 1. Review the feature article for accuracy and double-check it
The last thing you want to do is write a feature article that doesn't have precise details or accurate information. Check how names are spelled, the order of events, and other pertinent details.
Step 2. Have the subject read your feature article
Not all writers do this and some may argue that it can harm the journalistic quality of the feature article. However, many subjects often want to see the feature story before it is printed in order to ensure that they feel that it is being presented appropriately and fairly.
You can decide whether or not to incorporate their suggestions
Step 3. Check your spelling and grammar
Don't damage the feature article with misspelled words or bad grammar. Check out some articles about writing style, which are the representation of the standard for proper use of grammar.
Check out some books or articles that discuss number formatting, dates, street names, and so on
Step 4. Get a comment on the feature story
Ask a friend or colleague to read the feature article. Your editor will also give you a comment about it. Be willing to listen to comments and don't take them personally. These people want you to write a good, consistent feature article and will give you advice on how to change, clarify, or expand on what you've written to create the best possible feature.
Step 5. Write a heading
Your post can write headlines, but if you want the initial entry of the feature article to reflect the content, then write a headline that does. This is short and direct, using no more than 10-15 words. It must be action-oriented and must convey why the story is important. It must interest the reader and attract him.
Write a subheading if you want to convey a little more information, which is a subsentence that builds on the heading
Step 6. Submit your feature story on the specified delivery date
Make sure it is sent to your publisher or place of publication on or before the indicated delivery date. Usually late items are not printed. This way, your hard work will be delayed until the next broadcast or it will not be published.