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Writing

5 Tips for Writing a Captivating Feature Article

Written by MasterClass

Last updated: Jan 21, 2020 • 3 min read

The writing style of a typical news story relies on hard facts to deliver information quickly and efficiently to readers, telling them exactly what they need to know. However, sometimes there is a bigger story to be told, and certain subject matter requires more details to paint a thorough picture and give a complete story.

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What Is a Feature Article?

A feature article is a news story that goes beyond the facts to weave in a narrative and tell a compelling story. A feature article differs from a hard news story as it offers an in-depth look at a particular subject, current event, or location to audiences. A good feature story will keep the reader’s attention until the end, delivering a fleshed-out narrative and creating a lasting impression.

5 Tips for Writing a Captivating Feature Article

There are various types of feature article writing. Whether your focus is news articles, investigative features, or human interest stories, all feature story ideas require a deep level of research—like interviews with people close to the story or research into extensive background information on a place. Feature writers go behind the scenes and have a commitment to uncovering the big story beneath the facts. If it’s your first time attempting feature writing or you’re a freelance writer looking to improve your feature-writing skills, the following tips can help:

  1. Do your research. Feature stories need more than straight facts and sensory details—they need evidence. Quotes, anecdotes, and interviews are all useful when gathering information for your own feature story. Hearing the viewpoints or recollections of witnesses, family members, or anyone else who could fill in any gaps or missing pieces to your story can help it feel more three-dimensional, allowing you to craft a more vivid and interesting story.
  2. Have a compelling headline. Feature stories rely on a writer’s ability to maintain a reader’s attention throughout an entire piece, but one of the harder parts is getting them interested enough to read the story in the first place. Your headline is the first thing readers are going to see, so it needs to pack a punch or set up a question readers will want your story to answer.
  3. Open with intrigue. If you’ve drawn your readers in with the headline, the opening paragraph is where you hook them for the rest of the story. The first paragraph should introduce tension, where you set up the question or speculation as to why this particular news event is worth paying attention to—your first few lines give the reader a reason to keep reading.
  4. Connect the dots. The feature news style of writing is similarly structured to how you would write short story fiction, but don’t be afraid to make the feature story format your own. As long as information blends seamlessly with your narrative and creates a sequence of scenes connected by an emotional arc, you’re likely writing a compelling feature article. Even when crafting a personality profile, your feature story should include why this person deserves to be talked about and why the reader should care about them. Each element of your story should have a purpose—to set the stage for your readers and convey the main points in a compelling and enjoyable way.
  5. Make sure it pays off. If you’re going to spend time crafting a tense setup for readers and putting in the hard work of gathering facts and info from reputable sources, the reader should feel like there is a point to it all. The main body of your feature article should answer questions, provide specific information, and include the payoffs the reader has been gearing up for. Even if the situation in real life has no ending, there must be a conclusion to your piece that feels satisfying to your audience, like they’ve been told a complete story.
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