How To Write a Feature Article: A Step-by-step Guide
Have you dreamt of becoming a famous feature article writer? Do you acquire your muse from writers like Maya Angelou, Ketaki Desai, Rishab Raj, Shivani Vig, and other popular feature writers? Have you ever felt writing as a tool for reflection? Then, this article will teach you the fundamentals of what makes a good feature article and how to write one.
It is better to learn more about feature articles before learning the strategies on how to write a feature article. So, here we go!
What is a Feature Article?
A feature article, according to Dictionary.com, is a daily or fortnightly article or report about a person, event, frontage of a major event, or the like. This writing adds a personal touch, and quite often, it is written in a discrete style. It can be a news story, the main or most prominent story in a magazine.
A feature article is no doubt an article inscribed to give a piece of in-depth knowledge to events, people issues, or news. A proficient person or a journalist can write a feature article. Their writings will provide background information on a significant or a noteworthy topic, and the article will include the writer’s angle or his/her experience.
Difference between News Article and Feature Article
It is not a news item or advertisement. It is a common fact that people get confused with news articles and feature articles. We get confused with news and features and always think of the dos and don’ts of writing a feature article. All are aware of feature articles in Sunday newspapers, but where does the difference lie?
News is always instant information, and this needs to reach the mass as breaking news without wasting time. A news article should be concise and clear and finally, the writer should stick to the point directly. A news story offers information about an event, idea, or situation.
The article should cover all the “W” (who, what, when, why, where) and “H” questions, which any reader would like to know. News items generally do not add much spice or any additional information to entice the reader. Readers are spared with extra material or statistics, and as far as possible a writer will use adjectives sparingly. In a nutshell, the introduction will summarise the story for the benefit of the reader.
The source and slant of the writer can include slight variations but should not cover more than one approach. The news writer or a journalist can use an inverted pyramid structure. The writer prefers to present the most important information as an introduction or they can be considered as a conclusion as well. This will help a writer exemplify how the news can be prioritized and structured.
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A feature article could be news-related, but it adds human interest and the writer’s viewpoint. To write a feature article, you have to remember it should be original, inquisitive, vociferous, unconventional, and witty. Even a piece of dull news can be made into a thought-provoking and matter of interest.
A feature writer adds depth, wisdom, and color to the story and may entertain or instruct. In short, writing a feature article can be like adding jaggery to gulp bitter gourd. It can be like a stimulant or a catalyst. A feature article is a longer article compared to the news. It is all about lettering a human-interest story to match the target audience. A feature article is written after an event. So, naturally, they try to provide more and more information about the event, or else they give a different perception or a changed viewpoint.
The main aim of a feature writer will be to analyze, broaden the understanding, and give different approaches to a reader. Remember to note that a feature article is a non-fiction piece of writing.
Where do we find feature articles?
A feature article is published in newspapers, magazines, and online blogs, and they add an emotional touch. They are more personal. As a writer, when you write a feature article, it is good to make it more narrative and more appealing for the readers.
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Different Types of Feature Articles:
Before starting to write a feature article, different articles and their characteristics will give you the insight to decide, which type to choose before you pen your thoughts to words. Every article should be the voice of a writer and the other characters or places or incidents. Now start thinking of writing a feature article and understand the different types before you shake your thoughts into words.
Types of feature stories: Each article has a divergent focus, and the motive also changes.
⮚ Human interest stories: In this kind of feature article, the emphasis is given to a person or a set of people. Such an article emphasizes a dramatic incident. Normally, the focal point will be emotion first and later on the information.
⮚ Colour Stories: Describe a location using life and blood, so that the reader can visualize the same in this kind of feature article. A news story can be written in this form to transport the feel.
⮚ News Feature: This is the most popular kind of feature article in the newspapers. It conveys news, motives and implications, and consequences.
⮚ Informative Feature: For this article, the writer conducts an interview, research, data compilation for data, and of course, relies on personal observation. The writer tries to add human stories and give information and education. It offers interesting information and guides the reader.
⮚ Historical Feature: This type of feature article is for those, who are good at dates, chronology, turning points in history. The main motive of this feature article is to rekindle memory to invoke interest.
⮚ Lifestyle Feature: The most widespread feature articles people look for. How to live healthily? How to grow vegetables?
⮚ Scientific Feature: As the name suggests, this feature article voices on science policy and topics related to current topics.
⮚ Interpretative Features: Political, social, and economic problems could be touched upon, while writing this feature article. Interpretative feature articles provide details, direct, and shed light on the context of specific issues.
⮚ Review: Review of books, film, and music, etc. This article should highlight why a particular genre is good or extremely good and the specific reason for this extraordinary or ordinary nature.
⮚ Behind the scenes: This article gives a reader a revelation about the backdrop scenes, or the reader can pry into the behind scenes.
Now you are familiar with different types of feature articles and the next step is to progress a set of skills required to write, organize and edit a feature article before writing a feature article and get set to write a feature article.
Why do you write a feature article? It is either to instruct, persuade or entertain the readers. Do not miss the fact that feature articles are longer pieces of writing that range from opinions, issues, experiences, and ideas.
How to Choose and Tempt the Audience When You Write a Feature Article?
It is a common fact that there are thousands of newspapers, magazines, and print media in the market flooding articles with online material. It can be considered as an uphill task to pitch the right audience and to get noticed in this market.
How to break this discord and attract the audience is to offer the target audience a noteworthy article that is of interest which speaks a lot. Once the target audience is decided, think of their age, status, attitude, culture, and lifestyle. As a writer, you have to know their thought process, language, and vocabulary.
As a next step, you have to analyze the topics of interest for that selected audience. Technology, travel, health, home travel are striking topics for features since they can be used in specific sections of newspapers or weekend magazines. Feature stories are frequently published in trade publications, usually as special supplements.
Steps to writing a feature article to keep the reader on tenterhooks
● The first point is to choose the right topic and the word limit of the feature article. Is the topic relevant and of interest or can this topic hold the breath of the audience until the last word? Do not exceed the word limit (minimum 1500 and maximum 4000 words).
Briefly, discover a topic of existing importance. Further to that, think of a topic that sells and start forming great ideas that are exclusive. The brainstorming technique will help you bring out the best, and this technique will ensure you have a free flow of ideas. Understand the purpose of writing that can take you to the next step of writing.
● Research the topic and it all depends on your research. Find out what strikes and how well you can produce it. Read, read, research all aspects and perspectives of the topic, and give an edifying stance.
Mind mapping techniques will allow you to channelize your ideas and thoughts. How do you do that? After your research and free flow of your ideas or overflow of ideas, create a central theme that will allow you to write. Of course, you can branch your central idea with different color codes and keywords, and colorful images to start with a bang and get inspired.
More and more branches will make you more confident and with an organized flow of thoughts. Establish your principle and remember that is the meat of your article.
● Narrow down your plan: Think of the target audience and what type of attitude do they like and what is your attitude towards that topic? Start thinking of all the Ws and H (who, why, what, when) and find out the answers for these common elements. Your battle is half won if the major reason for writing this article or the drive to write this feature article can answer all these questions.
● Structure your astute ideas: Sequence them logically and according to the level of significance.
Now you are ready to start painless writing. Your writing process is also complete, and now time to start writing a feature article of your choice, your passion, and your ideas at your fingertips. Before you put words into life, it is better to know the language used to write a feature article.
Linguistic or language usage in feature articles:
● Use semi-formal language (not formal and not informal) with a human touch
● Sprinkle sentiments, emotions, and feelings
● Use second person singular when you address the audience
● Adjectives and adverbs can be used sparingly but use action verbs
● Do not forget to use statistics, facts
● Quotes give a better edge or slight superiority to your writing
● Write in active voice
● Use literary techniques to create a special effect for a deeper meaning. This divulges the authors’ motivation.
● Rhetorical questions can invoke interest and allow the reader to think and increase certain insight.
● Anecdotes, imagery, and certain jargon are other language techniques that you can try.
Now you are ready to start writing with more tips to chisel and delve deep into writing.
How will you structure and organize a feature article?
- Headline: A good introduction is the root of your writing. The publicity of your article lies in those first lines. Grab the attention of your reader with a catchy introduction or try to hook the reader’s interest. In the introductory lines, the main point is emphasized or highlighted.
- Subheading: Expresses a perspective or point of view of the author and it is also called a deck. This is the second attempt of the author to tempt the reader. The gist of the article inscribed will allow a reader to be hooked on your article.
- By-line: You can express your identity using a by-line and introduce the persons who helped you for an interview or a survey.
- Hook-: An intriguing initial sentence that will hook readers’ attention and keep them reading. It could be done by using an example, a metaphor, a rhetorical question exactly like how Barak Obama grabs the attention with his rhetorical questions. This paragraph develops on the hook and sets the tone of your article.
- Introductory paragraph
This paragraph develops the hook and sets the tone for the rest of the article and defines the tone and focus of the article. The opening paragraph opens with a scheming, plot, or intrigue. You can win the heart of the reader and make them hold their attention with this paragraph. Do not forget to set the section and bring life into those words.
● Paragraph two of the body: the first main topic. A description of how this person or problem has benefited society. In the author’s own words, this should be an interpretation of events or how to stick to the genre you have selected. Show and try not to speak.
● From paragraph three onwards, more major points are offered to clarify to inform about vital events or accomplishments about the person/issue. The reader is more clear with more details using facts, evidence, and quotations.
These pose difficult questions to the reader and include their responses. Paragraphs, photographs, tables, diagrams, and graphs are frequently used to present information in feature articles to present facts or proof to back up the content or support the author’s interpretation and explanation of the text person/issue/events.
● Summary: Now you are ready to summarise the article. The final paragraph should create a lasting impression by reminding the reader, the article’s core point and suggesting a suitable course of action, and promoting a shift in standpoint or attitude.
This should prompt the reader to take a feat or encourage taking a deed. The reader should be able to confirm that the article is ready for a conclusion. Now, you have gulped the capsule to set and write a feature article.
● Reread and Edit: This is the most important step of the writing process before you write a feature article.
Revision and editing are important processes of writing. Editing suggests the chance to see a clear picture, evidence, specifics, fix the language glitches, and polish the article.
Editing will help you to find out grammatical errors, typos, repetitions, and even dull writing the bugs in writing. This is sure to guide and bucket the thoughts to give a long-lasting impression of the feature article. Final editing and polishing will help you to find out whether you have put in your ideas succinctly and impactfully and whether you were able to connect the dots.
Learn about editing and proofreading here.
4 Personalities of Writing to Reduce Writer’s Block.
Madman, Architect, Carpenter, and madman.
A madman creates ideas exactly like a madman. The architect gives the writing structure by moving paragraphs around and looking at the plot. The sentences, phrases, and word choices are being crafted by the carpenter. The judge removes elements of the document that aren’t required. This article will remove the block and help you to write a feature article.
Here are additional tips to become an ace before you write a feature article:
▪ Be relaxed and conversational
▪ Keep it simple
▪ Short sentences and vary sentence length
▪ Paint a picture
▪ Spice up your writing
▪ Voice your opinion
▪ Smooth your writing by using transitions
▪ Don’t judge the first draft
▪ Always rely on peer editing
▪ Don’t write in the same tone
▪ Don’t put all the interesting facts at one go
▪ Harness the power of comma and punctuation
▪ Don’t dump information
Now you have the style, grace, and power of expressing your thoughts clearly and enlivening your writing with vivid images. It is an inborn talent that requires a knack and relevant guidelines to convert your thoughts into words that become a reader’s delight. This article is to reinstate the writing process and try to refresh your memory and change your writing blocks and procrastination habits to write a feature article.
Now you are ready to start your dream job or have a go. Good luck and best wishes!
Scope of Feature Article Writing:
Newspapers, magazines, and social media are employing freelancers and regular columnists. Print and online media depend on freelancers for making their publications interesting and noteworthy.
The work from home concept is gaining momentum. Hence, it is beneficial for a featured columnist to be in their comfort zone and earn at leisure. Any individual with a flair for writing and a good grasp of language and creativity can make a decent living.
A feature article writer can choose any genre of your choice and if you are consistent and stick to the timeline with utter sincerity, then nothing can pull you behind. Freelancers are in demand and make use of your painless writing techniques.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is a feature article different from a blog?
Yes, it is different. While feature articles are published digitally and in print, blogs are published only online.
2. Is feature writing well as a career?
Yes. With the present changes in the world, it has got ample scope. If your writing style is exclusive, then you have more possibility to be popular.
3. What are the basic steps for new writers?
✔ Include all the fundamentals of writing (who, what, where why, when, and how)
✔ Plan and organize your writing
✔ Include your viewpoint
It is a fact that writing entails basic principles. It is good to master the rules. This will help you make your foundation before you venture into different kinds of writing. As stated before, writing a feature article is more than facts and includes interesting facts, and recall the points stated in this article before you write a feature article.
It is of paramount importance to add a dimension of human touch and make it more pleasing. This article has guided you through the steps to write a feature article and touch the chords of the readers.