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Write a Feature Article in Four Easy Steps

  • By Andrew Morris
  • Published 03/24/2008
  • Article Writing

The holy grail of freelancers and seasoned professionals alike is writing a feature article for a major online or print publication. Nothing brings recognition (and income) like a byline in Time magazine or Slate. This goal may seem daunting, but the following is a proven path to success of repeat feature writers: Choose Your Publication The first thing you need to do is pick a publication to target. The chief criteria are theme and demographics. You may choose a general interest weekly or a niche magazine like women’s golf. As a rule, the niche magazine will be an easier target but will pay less. This is not always the case, though, as there as some very valuable niches with affluent demographics. If you have a hobby, you are already knowledgeable and may already have some contacts, so this is an excellent place to start. Study Your Subject

You will want to conduct some research on leading covers or other feature headlines for your publication, as well as current events and chatter about the topic. Using the golf example, study the headlines of the leading golf magazines and the sports page of a national

paper such as USA Today or the New York Times. Often a human interest story is a viable topic, like a former leading player making a comeback. Controversy Sells The best titles are both informative and intriguing. Essentially, this is your headline and it should be designed to engage the reader to make a purchase or other commitment to read the story. Do not copy another author’s title, but learn how they made you want to read the article. If you are a golfer, the title “Why Your Sand Wedge Isn’t Just For The Bunker” may drive you to learn more about this assertion. Keep The Reader Engaged Despite a great topic and headline, your efforts may still fall flat unless your language sparkles. Humor and controversial points of view keep readers engaged and coming back for more. And if the readers want more, you can be sure their publishers will keep you at the top of their lists next time they receive your call or query letter.

This ultimate writing quest is a challenging but rewarding journey, especially if you set your sights on the right target. By choosing your favorite niche magazines rather than Newsweek for your first submission, you are likely to taste success sooner rather than later.



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