Matrix Blog

English 7-8

How To Write An Amazing Feature Article In 5 Steps

Need to write a feature article for class? Don't worry, in this article, we show you how to write an amazing feature article in 5 steps!

Unsure of the difference between a feature article and a newspaper report? Well, it’s time to find out! We will show you the different characteristics of an amazing feature article and how to write one!

 

To show you how to write an amazing feature article, we’ll discuss:

 

What is a feature article?

A feature article is a non-fiction piece of writing that focuses on a particular topic. You will find them in newspapers and news sites, online blogs, or magazines.

However, they are not the same as news reports! Whereas news reports are more factual…

Feature articles are more subjective and emotive.

They commonly present information in a more narratorial manner to make them more engaging.

 

Characteristics of a feature article

Now that we have a general understanding of what a feature article is, let’s take a detailed look at their characteristics.

A feature article should,

  • Explore a topic or issue of current importance
  • Follows narratorial conventions (i.e. There is a plot, complication, and conclusion)
  • Written in short paragraphs
  • Combine facts and opinions
  • Provide a perspective or angle about the topic or issue
  • Includes catchy features (eg. Catchy title, images etc.).

 

Different types of feature articles:

There are many different types of feature articles. Each one has a different focus and purpose.

So, let’s see a few examples of feature articles!

Note: There are many more different types of feature articles. You’ll want to research the genre specific for the task you’ve been set.

 

Language used in feature articles

Before we go into the nitty-gritty details for writing feature articles, you need to know what skills and techniques you need to acquire in order to write a feature article!

  1. Develop a personal tone
    1. Share your opinions
    2. Show your personality (eg. humourous, serious…)
    3. Use semi-formal language (i.e. some colloquialism)
    4. Use emotive language
  2. Refer to the audience in second person language (eg. “you”)
  3. Use literary and rhetorical techniques to engage the reader (eg. rhetorical questions, anecdotes, imagery…)
  4. Don’t overuse adjectives or adverbs. Use strong verbs and nouns to describe, instead of adjectives and adverbs.
  5. Use facts, quotes and jargon to add authenticity
  6. Make sure you write in the active voice
blog-english-how-to-write-a-killer-feature-article-opinions

 

Ready to improve your feature article writing skills?

Join 4000 students who already have a head start. Learn from subject expert teachers, access high-quality resources and gain actionable feedback to ace your writing. Learn more about our Year 9 English Courses now. 

CTA - ENG Y9 ON CAMPUS GAIN

 

How to write an amazing feature article in 5 steps

Now that we know what a feature article is, let’s see what you need to do in when writing an amazing feature article:

  1. Research / Planning
  2. Header / Title
  3. Introduction
  4. Body
  5. Conclusion

 

Step 1: Research and Planning

Remember, feature articles are still based on factual information. So, it is vital that you research your topic very well and that you carefully plan out what you want to write.

We will need to research, plan and research again!

Once you’ve thought about the topic you’ve begin, or decided which issue you would like to discuss, you’re ready to get stuck into researching.

 

a. Research the general topic

This step is all about reading different perspectives and information about your chosen topic.

Doing this will help you take an informative stance on your topic.

See which perspective interests you most, or which one you agree with most. Also, take into account of the amount of strong evidence you can find for your feature article.

 

b. Narrow your focus and plan

Now, it is time to take a stance and start planning your feature article!

Here are some points you need to consider when you are planning:

  1. What type of feature article do you want to write?
  2. What is your stance on the topic?
  3. Ask yourself: ‘who’, ‘what’, and ‘why’
    1. Who is your target audience?
    2. What is your article about?
    3. Why are you writing about this topic? (i.e. purpose)
  4. What is the structure of your ideas/points? Is it ordered:
    1. Chronologically?
    2. Level of importance?
    3. Logically?
    4. Like a narrative?

Note: The purpose of your feature article can be to convince, evoke sympathy or anger, praise or even to educate. It is up to you to figure out what you want to say about the topic.

 

c. Research evidence

Now, it is time to research some more and gather some evidence to support your feature article.

Feature articles are supposed to help readers really understand and feel your story.

So, to do this, you must ensure that you spend this time to really flesh out your story and get a good grasp of what you are writing about.

Here are some examples you should look for:

  • Statistics
    • eg. “According to Cancer.org, 1960 Australians died from skin cancer in 2016
  • Case studies
    • eg. “Brendan Thomas will not be deported to New Zealand because he is an Indigenous Australian and is protected by the new law
  • Quotes from experts, subject, critics, etc.
  • Interviews – You can interview people yourself or quote other people’s interviews
    • From the live interview with Holocaust survivor..
blog-english-how-to-write-a-killer-feature-article-hero-quotes

 

 

Step 2: Header / Title

Feature articles are known for their eye-catching headers!

Let’s take a look at 2 headers. Which title would you click on first?

Rising film director, Sherrice, just released a provocative stop-motion piece that will change your view about fast food!

vs

Film director, Sherrice, just released a stop-motion piece about fast food

The first line is more catchy because it uses emotive language and it directly addresses the readers.

So, how do you write catchy headlines?

  • Use emotive language
  • Keep it short and snappy
  • Directly address the reader
  • Use adjectives / adverbs
  • Tell readers what your content is about
  • Ask a question
  • Give an imperative

 

 

Step 3: Introduction

Like your title, your introduction also needs to ‘hook’ in the readers.

They set the scene and draw interest from the audience.

Think about a narrative’s 3 Act Structure:

  • The opening act sets the scene and captivate the audience’s attention
  • Act 2 is where the action and the major complication occurs
  • The 3rd act is the conclusion. It ‘solves’ the problem.

Feature articles function in the same way.

However, unlike a narrative, feature articles’ introductions are very brief and short. They should never be longer than 15% of your whole article.

So, how do you write effective introductions to feature articles:

  1. Make an interesting and provocative opening statement to draw reader’s attention
  2. Briefly introduce the topic and purpose
  3. Establish a relationship with your reader through your language (eg. second person language, rhetorical questions…)
  4. Create intrigue and interest by foreshadowing your points or challenging your audience
  5. Provide background information about your topic

 

Example

Take a read of ABC journalist, Stan Grant’s introduction from ‘Anger has the hour’: How long must Indigenous Australia Wait for Change? 

“How long must Aboriginal people wait? How many “turning points” must there be, before we stop believing?

Time is something Indigenous people do not have, not when we die 10 years younger than the rest of the population. Every year lost is counted in graveyard crosses.

Yet the Federal Government says there will likely be no referendum on Indigenous constitutional recognition this term of Parliament. Three years since the Uluru Statement from the Heart laid out a vision for Australia — Voice, Treaty, Truth — and we are told still to wait.

That is three years lost; a wasted opportunity to finish our unfinished business. First Nations people asked Australians to walk with us for a better future, yet we cannot get beyond those first steps.”

You see, Grant draws the audience’s interest by asking provocative rhetorical questions that hints at his stance about the topic.

He then provides background information about his topic to inform his audience about the issue. However, notice how he does this in an interesting and engaging way.

Grant uses literary techniques like tricolon (eg. “Voice, Treaty, Truth”), metaphors (eg. “year lost is counted in graveyard crosses” and “First Nations people asked Australians to walk wth us for a better future, yet we cannot get beyond those first steps”) and the motif of steps (eg. “walk with us” and “first steps”).

 

blog-english-how-to-write-a-killer-feature-article-relationship

 

 

Step 4: Body

Now, let’s move onto the main part of your feature article.

The body of your feature article is where you write all of your juicy information.

This is where the story unfolds and you share your opinions.

So, let’s get started and see what you need to do in your feature article body paragraphs.

 

a. Show don’t tell

‘Show, don’t tell’ is a commonly taught writing technique. It requires students to describe and ‘show’ what is happening, instead of simply recounting (‘telling’).

Let’s take a look at an example:

  • Tell: Johnny was tired after he ran up the hill.
  • Show: Johnny’s legs were aching as he forced himself up the hill. He was struggling to catch his breath and his cheeks were red and puffed up.

Notice the difference? The second line is much more engaging and descriptive, and we feel more connected to the character.

As such, you need to ‘show’ your information to make your article more engaging and interesting to read.

Remember, a feature article is much more colourful than a newspaper report.

So, let’s learn how to ‘show, not tell’:

  1. Write vivid descriptions and imagery
  2. Rely on the different senses to describe (i.e. sight, touch, smell, hearing, taste)
  3. Use literary techniques
  4. Don’t state emotions (eg. ‘He is happy’,  ‘She was excited’ or ‘That was scary’)
  5. Use strong verbs and nouns, instead of adverbs and adjectives (eg. ‘sprinted’ instead of ‘ran fast’)

 

b. Be creative

In other terms, use rhetorical and literary techniques! Using these techniques will help you achieve your purpose and simultaneously engage the audience.

For example, if you want to evoke sympathy from the audience, you can use emotive language and hyperbole:

“Big, brute boys brutally beat small neighbourhood boy until he was unrecognisable” 

Or, if you want to convince the audience, you can use high modality words and an imperative voice:

“The time to take action is now! Get your phones and fill out the survey now”

So, what are some techniques that are commonly used in feature articles:

TechniqueDefineExample
AnecdoteA short and interesting personal story.

Anecdotes helps build a rapport between the writer and the reader. It also grounds the topic into real life situations.

“When I was 7, I went on a bike ride with my family. Little did I know, my life was going to change. I broke my leg, got pulled out of school…”
Rhetorical QuestionA question that is supposed to be unanswered.

It compels the audience to think about the answers to your question.

“How would you feel if that was your brother?”
HyperboleAn exaggeration.“Kiwi is so disgusting, I will never eat it in my life again!”
Imperative voiceForceful use of words; a command.“We must run towards the river”
MetaphorSaying one this is another.“He is the sun”
SimileSaying that one thing is similar to another.“She is as bright as a sun”
AnaphoraRepetition of the beginning clause of a sentence.

This emphasises an idea and hammers it in your audience’s mind.

“It’s time to step up. It’s time to speak out. It’s time to change our world”

If you want to find more techniques, or learn more about the listed techniques, take a read of our English Literary Techniques Toolkit.

 

c. Support your opinions

Remember, a feature article isn’t just a story… it is also an article! This means that you will need a set of strong evidence to support what you are saying.

We already went through the various types of evidence you need for a feature article:

  • Statistics
  • Case studies
  • Quotes from critics or experts
  • Interviews

So, ensure you use a variety of different evidence and use it across your whole feature article.

 

blog-english-how-to-write-a-killer-feature-article-evidence

 

 

Step 5: Conclusion

We are at the final stage of your feature article!

Too often, students neglect the conclusion because they think it’s unimportant in a feature article.

However, it is quite the opposite.

Conclusions are especially important in feature article because they summarise your ideas and stance, and ultimately inspire your readers to take action.

So, take your time to quickly summarise your article and add a call to action (i.e. tell your audience to do something, either explicitly or implicitly).

 

Example

Let’s take a look at News.com journalist, Emma Reynold’s conclusion: “Craziness Behind the Scenes at the White House

Three levels of the imposing White House are visible above ground, with the rest beneath. The basements include workrooms, bombs shelters and a bowling alley.

I’m told to look out for the famous red-tailed hawks that live in the rafters of the building. While squirrels are a common sight outside the gates, not many survive within.

Back on Pennsylvania Avenue, I note the absence of sewer grates or rubbish bins, a precaution against bombs.

Clearly, there is a strong consciousness of danger here. But it’s covered with a Disney smile.

Here, Reynold summarises her experience at the White House and comes to a final conclusion.

She also uses rhetorical and literary techniques to engage her audience and make her conclusion more memorable.

For example, we see a metaphor with “while squirrels are a common sight outside the gates, not many survive within [the White House]”, drawing links between squirrels and common people.

She also uses framing (her introduction refers a ‘Disney star’), allusion and metaphor in her final line: “But it’s covered with a Disney smile”.

Furthermore, Reynolds also implicitly warns us to be aware and critical of what is truly happening in the White House. This is her call to action.

This is what you need to do with your conclusions too!

 

Ready to improve your feature article writing skills?

Join 4000 students who already have a head start. Learn from subject expert teachers, access high-quality resources and gain actionable feedback to ace your writing. Learn more about our Year 9 English Courses now. 

CTA - ENG Y9 ON CAMPUS GAIN

Written by Tammy Dang

Tammy is a former student of Matrix and is now studying Law / Media (Screen and Sound Production) at UNSW. She is a Digital Content Writer for the Matrix Education blog. Tammy aspires to become a lawyer in the future while continuing to run her art business.

 

© Matrix Education and www.matrix.edu.au, 2018. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Matrix Education and www.matrix.edu.au with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Get free study tips and resources delivered to your inbox.

Join 75,893 students who already have a head start.

Our website uses cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you continue to use this site, you consent to our use of cookies. Read our cookies statement.

OK, I understand