Most feature articles have three acts, just like a story or an essay. They have a headline and an introduction, which act together; a main body; and a conclusion.
The Headline:An effective headline is a short and simple line that grabs the reader’s attention and convinces them to read the piece. A headline should highlight the central idea of the article in a catchy, clever way.
Introduction:The introduction is a preview to the rest of your feature article. As a general rule, it is about 10% of the overall word count. The introduction draws the reader in from the headline and provokes their further interest by building some speculation. With the introduction, the reader makes a conscious decision on what side of the story they believe in or whether it’s interesting enough to keep reading. The introduction creates the article’s tone and also establishes a relationship between the reader and the writer.
You can engage and inspire your readers in several different ways:
Use an interesting or surprising example: This could be a personal experience that relates to the article topic or a key moment in an interview with a source that relates to the article topic.
Try a provocative quotation: This could be from a source from your research that raises interesting questions or introduces your angle on the topic.
Use a vivid anecdote: An anecdote is a short story that carries moral or symbolic weight. Think of an anecdote that might be a poetic or powerful way to open your article.
Come up with a thought-provoking question: Think of a question that will get your reader thinking and engaged in your topic, or that may surprise them.
Main Body:This is where all the details of who, what, why, and how are revealed. It is the explanation and the proof. Include all your facts, statistics, and quotes to support your argument. This is where all your hard-earned work pays off by resulting in a compelling and accurate piece. Weave in relevant and strong quotes from key players or expert sources. Avoid leaning too much on quotations to write the article for you. A good rule of thumb is to expand on a quotation once you use it and only use quotations when they feel necessary and impactful. The quotations should support the main angle of your article and back up any claims being made in the article.
The Conclusion:A conclusion is the final statement that brings together all your ideas and evidence. Conclusions need to be strong, concise, and thought-provoking, inviting the reader’s opinion. You don't want the conversation to end at the full-stop of the feature article. Leave the reader satisfied but also curious about further developments on the topic. Go for an ending that leaves the reader asking, “What next?” You don’t have to answer all the questions raised by your article topic. The best feature articles encourage the continuation of debate on social media platforms, comment pages, and discussion forums.