10 Tips how to write a feature article

10 Tips how to write a feature article

10 Tips Series – Feature Article




1.  Aim for a semi-formal tone

Don’t sound too formal.  Don’t sound too informal.  Most feature articles use a mixture of sophisticated vocabulary and a conversational tone.  Articles should read as if they were written by a human being, not by a robot.

Speaking of planning, it’s important to set daily goals.  [Having spoken of planning, I will now move on to talk about daily goals. ]


2.  Use a title

Remember that an article appears in a newspaper.  Why should anyone read your article and not another article?  Convince them that yours is worth reading by using an eye-catching title. 

[Stressed out in Hong Kong

An article about stress in Hong Kong ]


3.  Use a byline

Since articles are usually written about a matter of personal interest, it’s important we know who the author is.  Tell your reader in the byline. 

Peter Cullen writes about the perils of being a foreigner in Hong Kong. 

4.  Grab attention in the introduction

If you begin your article in a boring, predictable manner, who will want to continue to read it until the end?  It’s important to grab your reader’s attention.  Telling a short story or sharing a surprising fact are ways you could do this. 

98%: that’s the proportion of fifteen year olds who reported feeling stressed at school. 

5.  Tell a story

No, I don’t mean you need to write a short story.  But it’s good if you can connect all your ideas together as part of one big picture.  What’s the common thread that unites all your paragraphs?

[For example, in the essay above, the story of Peter and his crisis was the common theme of the whole article.]

6.  Vary your sentence structure

Mix long sentences with short ones.  Use ellipses from time to time.  Short sentences often stand out and grab attention. 

We’ve all been there.  We all know what it’s like to be in the shoes of Peter Kwok (not his real name), a student who knocked on my door one day last April, with tears streaming down his cheeks. 

7.  Quote the experts

If you are writing an article, you need to establish credibility.  This means referring to experts in the field.

According to Professor Kwan of Oxford University, suicide rates have doubled in developed countries in recent years. 

8.  Use indirect speech

When you are referring to what other people say and think it’s often a good idea to use indirect speech rather than direct quotes. 

Of course, many politicians remark that there is little they can do about the housing crisis…

9.  Say what you think

In an article, it’s important to give your opinion.  Don’t be objective.  Tell the reader what you think. 

It is appalling that the government has let the situation get to this stage. 


10.  Don’t summarise

At the end of your article there’s no need to summarise what you’ve written.  Assume your reader was paying attention.  It’s much better to end with a memorable sentence than a boring summary of what you’ve already said.    

But this tried and tested advice might just be able to help you achieve your goals.  Why not give it a go?  

[In summary, we can see that…]

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