There are four key points we need to take note of when writing feature articles
Find the right audience, As a writer, it’s important to find the right audience for your work. Identifying your target market will help you to write stories and features that appeal to them. A simple exercise is to identify and research on topics or themes to determine the most suitable one and narrow it down.
Conduct an in-depth research of a publication’s audience and their needs. Check article lengths, writing styles and tone to capture relevant details. For example though Daily Graphic and B&FT are both newspapers, they focus on varied topics.
Develop a strong angle, Articles need compelling angles, from which you can then develop a headline. It’s ideal to always craft your headline before you develop your content as this will help you define you’re the direction and structure of your article.
Your opinions and comments should always be buttressed by facts. Undertake in-depth research for articles, opinion pieces etc. For example, if you are writing an article on medicine or the agricultural sector, you need to speak to experts in those fields.
Provide added value, In this digital age, an article needs added value, be it a short audio piece, video clip, or a well-chosen infographic. If writing for a print magazine, think of your article in terms of a theme with other mediums/variations that can be published online.
Like most articles, a feature story follows a specific format and outline. Good feature articles offers perspectives that are relatable and relevant to the reader. Why do they have to read it? What’s in it for them? What are the angles? What’s your opinion? Popular or unpopular?.
Be Conversational, Articles should always be professional but it’s also important to make it relatable to others. You can consider the use of first person narratives to make it more conversational.
Don’t Be Afraid of Opinions, In writing feature articles, you need to put yourself in the shoes of your audience? What are their interests? What is trending? What are the pain points they want you to address? This will help you to write an article that appeals to your audience and answer some of their most pertinent questions.
Remember to state the facts, Stating the relevant facts is very important. To celebrate breast cancer awareness last month, I decided to write an article on breast cancer so I did my research. I shared a bit of my personal experience in the article. My aunt died from breast cancer about 17 years ago but I needed to back my story with facts and findings. I verified the information I gathered with medical practitioners, cited the various references, watched documentaries, TV shows etc. I did all this because I wanted to get my facts right and especially in specialised fields like medicine, you won’t get away with false or unverified information you put out there. Presenting the facts and including relevant jargon also adds more authenticity and in-depth analysis to your article. Citing other relevant examples based on the theme, area or topic you are writing on makes it more personal and real, eliciting an emotional response in the reader.
Tell stories, Including storytelling elements will not only give meaning to your article but also enhance the relationship with your readers. Adding creative descriptions will draw on the reader’s imagination and depict what you want to put across. If you are interviewing someone, you can describe the setting. The imagery that you create will captivate the reader till the end.
Summarize your thoughts, A feature article gives you the opportunity to share your thoughts on a subject in summary. Learn how summarize your thoughts in a way that will still carry the salient points you want to convey.
Edit your work, Never send in your first draft. Always edit the first draft to check for errors or unanswered questions in the text, while the third read is for proofreading purposes. You don’t necessarily have to be an editor but make sure your article is well structured and understandable. Always get a qualified person to take another look at your work. As the say, “Your work is who you are, autograph it with excellence.”.To develop your skill as a feature article you need to be consistent at writing.
Being consistent has been very helpful to me, And it’s also the important to build relationships with people who can provide you opportunities to publish your feature articles. We need to learn from each other, share ideas and be open to critiquing and ask relevant questions. I took advantage of guest writing avenues that eventually gave me the opportunity to share more