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What is a feature article?
Through your freelance journalism career you will become very close to your new friend: the feature article. Unlike a news story that provides facts, a feature article digs deeper, giving your reader a more in-depth view of your topic or opinion.
The Morris Journalism Academy’s online freelance journalism courses will give a comprehensive look at how to write a feature article for almost any topic, and give you insight into the world of freelance writing.
But to get your started, here is a brief ‘how to’ on putting together a winning feature article.
Morris Journalism Academy will show you not just how to write a feature article, but also how to sell it.
Before you write
Despite the triumphs of your DIY and scavenging skills, a feature article on building a dream bedroom from hard rubbish may not find a home in the pages of a luxury interior design magazine. It is important to consider your intended audience. Is your intended writing style appropriate for your audience? Is your area of interest going to be as interesting to your editor? These are questions to ask yourself before writing your article.
Before touching a pen, consider your angle. As incredible as Paris is, you aren’t the first (and you certainly wont be the last) person to write about the city of love. So what part of your experience will help sell your article? Was it an evening spent sipping cognac in a Parisian grandmother’s apartment? Or was it navigating the sights and sounds of the Seine you could only experience by bicycle? Either way, basing your feature article around something unusual or out of the box will provide for a more fun and challenging writing process, an interesting and engaging article and a better chance of getting your work in print.
Are there limitations set by the publisher you’re aiming to submit to? You may need to consider limitations such as word lengths, structure, submission deadlines or potentially conflicts of interest. These are all aspects of freelance writing that are helpful to consider before immersing yourself in your writing, and elements that are covered in the ‘Professional Freelance Journalism’ Course.
Knowing how to write a feature article is a valuable skill.
Now for the fun part: writing the article.
After brainstorming and researching your subject it’s time to start planning. Everyone approaches writing differently, but creating a rough outline of where you will start, and where you want to get with your feature article should guide your writing.
Your introduction should set the scene and catch your reader’s attention. Here is your chance to set the tone of your feature article, or bait the hook for your readers. Consider the ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘where’, ‘why’ and ‘how’ of your article, and providing your readers with the angle your feature article is going to take. Remember, your introduction should give your readers a reason to keep on reading.
If the introduction is the sourdough bread, the body is the delicious filling to your feature article sandwich. You’ve set the scene in your introduction, so the body is your chance to take your reader on a journey. Through the body be creative with your language. Although you may have a clear imagine in your mind for the topic of your article, you need to use creative and descriptive language to share this image with your reader. Remember to stick to your angle and don’t be afraid to add your own opinion and flair through this part. And finally, try to make sure you have a point of interest in each paragraph of your article to keep your reader engaged.
This is often a neglected part of a feature article, but the conclusion ties the whole article together. It summarises your thoughts and angle, and gives you a place to offer a course of action for your readers (if a course of action is appropriate for your article). Your conclusion deserves just as much attention as your introduction and body, so take the time here to tidy up any loose ends through your feature article.
This is a basic layout of a feature article. Of course, the great part of knowing the rules is now knowing how to break them. Once you get comfortable with writing a solid feature article you can try experimenting with your writing style, structure and narrative. Also, back your article up with great photography. The Morris Journalism Academy’s online freelance journalism course doesn’t just how you how to write a feature article, but also offers great tips and tricks on capturing breathtaking photography that will set your article apart from the pile sitting on the editor’s desk.
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Once you have put the feature article together, it is essential to edit. Nothing puts editors off more than a poorly written article that requires copious amounts of editing to even come close to being print ready. Simple techniques like reading your work out-loud, or reading from the bottom up with help you catch any grammar or punctuation errors that you may miss while you’ve grown accustomed to your writing. On top of this, make sure you have checked the accuracy of any quotes, along with checking the spelling of people’s names and places. Editing takes time, so don’t be afraid to leave a day or two between revisions so your perspective is refreshed and you get the best results for your editing.
And with that, you’re ready to submit your article to a publication. The Morris Journalism Academy’s online freelance journalism course gives you all the information you need to learn chains of command, the correct way to approach an editor and how to earn money for your efforts.
For more information on our online course, download your free course guide by clicking here.