How to Write a Feature Article: Crafting Captivating Stories

Picture of Julia McCoy

Julia McCoy

Creator and Co-founder

how to write a feature article

Ever tried your hand at how to write a feature article? It’s not just about the facts; it’s an art. You’re crafting a window into another world, painting pictures with words that draw readers in and make them care. If you’ve been spinning your wheels, don’t sweat it.

This piece will guide you on how to write a feature article that weaves human experiences into life stories that resonate. From choosing the right angle to hitting hard with an impactful narrative structure, we’ll show how lifestyle features, travel narratives, or profile pieces can turn into compelling reads.

You’ll learn tips for punchy openings and satisfying endings that leave readers thinking long after they’ve finished reading.

Ready? Let’s dive in!

Table Of Contents:

What are Feature Articles?

A feature story is not your run-of-the-mill news piece.

It paints pictures with words, captures emotions, and weaves facts into narratives that hit home.

This genre offers readers an escape from the blunt edges of hard news by infusing human experience into storytelling.

The ever-evolving world of journalism reveals just how potent these stories can be when they bridge connections between the subject and the audience.

In stark contrast to straight news, feature stories give you more than who, what, where, and when; they delve into the why and how.

You get richly textured pieces like lifestyle features or travel adventures rather than bullet-pointed briefs on world headlines. They’re akin to a stroll through intriguing alleys rather than a brisk walk down Main Street.

With each paragraph designed to evoke feelings rather than simply relay events, it’s no surprise that people are drawn to such compelling reads.

And remember: at their core, feature stories aim for emotional impact, connecting on levels beyond mere information exchange. To create this effect, writers often employ descriptive language and narrative techniques that have been proven effective over time.

Your role model might be Pulitzer Prize winners or leather-jacket-clad journalists typing away in coffee shops. But whatever form inspiration takes, keep one thing clear: good writing starts with solid research grounded in real-world perspectives.

10 Different Types of Feature Articles

The world of content marketing is diverse and dynamic, offering a wide range of possibilities for entrepreneurs looking to grow their businesses. One powerful tool in your arsenal should be the feature article.

Feature articles come in various forms, each with its unique approach and purpose. Here’s a brief overview of 10 different types of feature stories you can write for your audience.

1. Human Interest Stories

A human interest story centers on individuals or groups, focusing on personal achievements, dramatic events, or everyday life struggles. The goal here is to evoke emotion from readers and create an engaging narrative around people’s experiences.

2. News Features

News features, arguably the most common type of feature articles, delve into current events providing detailed explanations behind these happenings while examining potential implications. These stories are not just about reporting facts but also providing context and analysis.

3. Lifestyle Features

Focusing on how life can be improved or enjoyed more fully, lifestyle features offer tips and advice ranging from fitness routines to meditation techniques. They aim to enhance your readers’ lives by offering practical solutions for common problems or introducing them to new ideas that might enrich their day-to-day lives.

4. Seasonal Features

These articles focus on events, activities, or topics that are relevant to a particular season, such as holidays, festivals, or seasonal trends.

Whether you’re a journalist or content creator, you probably have a scheduled calendar that designates deadlines for various types of feature articles. One notable advantage of these features is the ability to plan and structure them, a luxury not often afforded with conventional news stories.

5. Interview Pieces

In this type of feature, the writer conducts interviews with individuals to gather insights, opinions, and personal stories. The article often presents a narrative based on these interviews.

6. Color Stories

Color stories go beyond the facts and atmosphere of hard news, often serving as companions to news articles.

Skillful feature writing in this context enables readers to vividly envision the experience of being at a particular event, fostering a deeper understanding of the issues and implications embedded in a story.

7. Profile Features

Profile features center around a specific person, providing an in-depth look into their life, achievements, challenges, and personality. These articles are like mini-biographies that seek to humanize and bring the subject to life.

8. Behind The Scenes

Behind-the-scenes features take readers into places or processes not typically visible to the public. This type of article provides insights into how something is made, accomplished, or organized.

9. Travel Features

Travel features explore destinations, cultures, and experiences. They often include personal anecdotes, recommendations, and practical information for readers interested in exploring the featured location.

10. Instructional Features

Instructional features provide readers with step-by-step guidance, advice, or information on how to do something. These articles aim to educate and empower the audience with practical knowledge.

‘How-to’ features have gained increased popularity, especially in the era of internet ‘life hacks.’ There is now a subcategory of these features where writers experiment with instructional content and share their insights on its practicality.

You don’t need to look too far to find an instructional feature article – you are currently reading one.

These types of feature articles offer diverse ways to present information, capture readers’ attention, and tell compelling stories. Depending on the subject matter and the target audience, writers can choose the most suitable format to convey their message effectively.

How to Write a Feature Article: A Step-by-Step Guide

A feature article is an excellent tool to provide in-depth information about a topic, person, or event. Here’s how you can write one effectively:

Step 1: Evaluate Your Story Ideas

The first step in how to write a feature article is to flesh out your ideas. These are the seeds from which your story will grow.

But what if you’re staring at a blank page, bereft of inspiration? This is where renowned publications like The New York Times ‘Trending’ section or The Guardian’s Features can serve as fertile ground for ideas.

However, remember that these sources should be used purely for educational purposes and inspiration – never copy or plagiarize content. The goal here is not to replicate but rather to stimulate your creative juices by reading about diverse topics and unique storytelling methods.

You can also use an AI tool like Content at Scale to generate ideas or topics that are relevant to your niche.

To effectively evaluate potential story ideas:

  • Analyze Trends: What are people talking about? What issues are making headlines? You could use tools like Google Trends or Buzzsumo to identify trending topics relevant to your industry.
  • Understand Your Audience: Know who you’re writing for — their interests, concerns, and questions. Use this understanding as a compass guiding the direction of your stories.
  • Evaluate Relevance and Value: Your story should ideally offer something new — fresh insights, unexplored angles on familiar themes, or practical solutions. Ask yourself how it adds value to the reader’s life before choosing a story.

Step 2: Do Your Research

Feature stories need more than straight facts and sensory details — they need evidence. This can come in the form of quotes, anecdotes, or interviews.

The significance of these elements cannot be overstated as they lend credibility to your narrative while making it more engaging for readers. Hearing viewpoints from various sources helps make your story feel three-dimensional and thus allows you to craft a vivid tale that resonates with your audience.

  • Quotes: These provide direct insights into people’s thoughts and opinions on the subject matter. They give your piece authenticity and add personal touch points which can evoke empathy among readers.
  • Anecdotes: Anecdotal information serves as illustrative examples that breathe life into statistics or hard data points. They help create emotional connections between readers and subjects.
  • Interviews: Conducting interviews gives you access to first-hand accounts, expert perspectives, or unique angles about your topic that could otherwise remain uncovered.

Step 3: Choose a Feature Type

After doing your research, ask yourself what type of feature article you want to write.

Sometimes, this initial decision can shift as you delve deeper into your research. Perhaps you started out intending to write a lifestyle piece about a local sports team’s fitness regimen but ended up focusing on an inspiring interview with an athlete who transformed their health.

This is not uncommon. It’s part and parcel of content writing where story ideas often evolve based on ongoing reporting and discovery. Embrace these changes as they occur – they might lead you down more interesting paths than you initially envisioned.

Step 4: Select an Appropriate Writing Style

Selecting an appropriate writing style is a critical step in crafting your feature article. Your choice of language and tone will significantly impact how your audience perceives the information you present.

To help get you started, here are a few tips:

  • Embrace Your Unique Style: Your unique voice is what sets you apart from other writers. Don’t be afraid to let it shine through in your articles! For example, if humor comes naturally to you, consider incorporating it into your piece — provided it fits with the topic and overall tone of course.
  • Use Emotive Language: The power of emotive language should not be underestimated when engaging readers on a deeper level. By using words that evoke emotions or sensory experiences, we can create stronger connections with our audience.
  • Mind Your Adjectives & Adverbs: While adjectives and adverbs can add color to our writing, overuse may make the text seem overly embellished or insincere. Be selective about their usage for maximum effect.
  • Speak Directly To The Reader: In most cases, referring directly to the reader as ‘you’ makes them feel more involved in what they’re reading – like they’re part of a conversation rather than being lectured at.

Step 5: Craft a Compelling Headline

The power of your feature article lies not only in its content but also in the strength of its headline. A compelling, catchy title can make all the difference between an overlooked piece and one that attracts readership.

In most cases, you won’t have a dedicated subeditor to help craft this crucial element — it falls on you as the writer or marketer to devise an eye-catching headline that summarizes your story while enticing potential readers.

Creating a captivating header requires time and consideration. It isn’t something to be rushed; rather, it should be seen as an integral part of your writing process.

Tips for creating catchy headlines:

  • Create intrigue: Your goal is to pique curiosity without giving away too much about the story’s content. Think mystery novels – they don’t reveal whodunit on their covers!
  • Use powerful words: Words like ‘Secret’, ‘Free’, and ‘Proven’ are known power words, which trigger emotional responses from readers making them more likely to click through.
  • Pose a question: By asking questions related to your topic, you encourage readers to seek answers within your feature article.

Beyond these tips, another effective strategy involves using intriguing quotes from within the story itself as headers. This technique provides context while generating interest in what else might lie within the body text.

Step 6: Open With Interest

The opening paragraph of your feature article is crucial to drawing in your readers and piquing their interest. It’s the hook that can either reel them in or let them off the line, so it needs to be compelling enough to make them want more.

One method you could use is building tension right from the start. This could involve setting up a conflict or problem that will be resolved later on in the article. The anticipation created by this technique can keep readers engaged as they’re eager to find out what happens next.

You might also consider posing a rhetorical question at the outset — something thought-provoking that encourages readers to think about an issue before diving into your story.

Another way to hook your audience is to make an outlandish statement -– one that may seem absurd initially but gets substantiated as you progress through your content. Outrageous claims are one way to grab attention instantly. Just ensure there’s substance behind such statements, or else your credibility will take a hit!

Lastly, try opening with a significant event familiar to most people and then work backward from there. Explain its relevance and context to your overall theme or argument.

No matter which strategy you employ for crafting compelling introductions, remember: Your primary goal should always be capturing reader interest and making them curious enough to continue reading further into your feature article.

Step 7: Be Creative with Storytelling

Creativity can be a game-changer when it comes to writing feature articles. Unlike traditional news stories that stick to a rigid structure and tone, feature articles offer you ample room for innovation and creativity.

A story should have a beginning, a middle, and an end, but not necessarily in that order. This is particularly applicable to feature articles where there’s flexibility in terms of narrative flow.

In crafting your article, consider playing around with the sequence of information or incorporating elements such as anecdotes or personal experiences that may resonate with your readers on an emotional level.

You could also experiment with different styles — perhaps injecting humor into serious topics or adopting an unconventional perspective on common issues.

While you’re free to explore creative avenues, remember not to lose sight of the core purpose of your feature story: to share valuable information with your audience. The secret is finding the right balance between engaging storytelling and delivering insightful content.

Content Hacker provides more insights into this aspect.

  • Risk-taking: Push boundaries by experimenting with unique ideas or formats that deviate from conventional norms.
  • Audience-centricity: Tailor your creative approach based on what resonates best with your audience – their preferences matter!
  • Balanced approach: Creativity shouldn’t compromise clarity; ensure all key points are effectively communicated within the creative framework.

Step 8: End With A Bang

The best feature writers always leave a little something for the reader at the end of their article. This could be a powerful conclusion or an element that ties everything together, but it’s crucial to provide some sort of closure.

This gives your audience a sense of satisfaction upon finishing your piece and makes them anticipate future articles from you.

The order in which you follow these steps isn’t set in stone, especially if you’re new to this type of writing. However, they should serve as a solid starting point when creating feature articles.

In time, you’ll develop your own style and voice that suits both you and your content perfectly.

Finding success with long-form content like feature articles can do wonders for growing sustainable businesses online — a strategy we wholeheartedly advocate at Content Hacker!

Tips on How to Write a Great Feature Article

Writing a great feature article requires a combination of creativity, research, and effective storytelling. Here are some tips to help you craft a compelling feature story:

Build a Solid Narrative

Your feature article isn’t just sharing information; it’s telling a tale. With every line, you’re guiding readers on a journey that has them hanging onto every word until the very end.

A solid narrative arc is like a map through uncharted territory. It starts by setting up expectations in the beginning, building interest in the middle, and tying everything together at the end — a perfect circle of storytelling mastery.

Structure for Impact

We all know a good story grabs you from the start and sticks with you long after it’s done. The same goes for feature articles. When writing an engaging opening paragraph, think of it as your chance to invite readers into a conversation they’ll want to stick around for.

An outline shouldn’t be rigid but rather serve as guardrails keeping your thoughts aligned so that each section smoothly transitions into another without losing focus.

The structure of a feature article should feel natural — like listening to an old friend recounting an adventure.

Edit Like A Pro

Editing is where good writing becomes great, and a sharp editor’s eye can transform your feature article into a polished gem.

Crafting an article isn’t just about putting words on paper; it’s also about refining those words until they sing. The editing process demands that you scrutinize each sentence for grammar and spelling errors to present the most professional version of your work. Remember, even Pulitzer Prize winners revise their drafts — so should you.

A key stat to keep in mind: clear and coherent articles are more likely to hold the reader’s interest from start to finish. When revising, read aloud to catch any awkward phrasing or inconsistencies that could disrupt the flow.

While spellcheck helps, there’s no substitute for thorough proofreading. Typos can undermine credibility faster than factual inaccuracies. Take the time you need — every error you catch now is one less hurdle for your readers later on.

Get Feedback

You’ve crafted sentences like a pro, but another set of eyes can offer new perspectives. Seeking feedback before finalizing your work allows you to see how others perceive what you’ve written.

Remember that the writing process doesn’t end when you put down the pen; it continues through editing and fine-tuning based on constructive criticism.

Start Writing Feature Articles Like a Pro

Mastering how to write a feature article means diving deep into human stories. It’s about painting vivid pictures and touching hearts. You’ve learned the craft of choosing angles that resonate, structuring narratives for impact, and bringing out your unique voice.

You start with curiosity, build on solid research, and weave in compelling interviews.

Then you edit with precision — every word matters.

Your story breathes life when it reflects real people’s experiences. And now you have the blueprint to make sure every piece keeps readers hooked till the last word.

If writing features was daunting before, let this be your turning point.

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