Designing The Feature Article: How to Make it Interesting

By Jim Romeo

There are thousands of web sites, blogs and trade publications. So why should any reader come to your publication and read your content? What makes someone choose your editorial content over your competitors’? What makes your features get clipped and passed around the office of your readers? How do you become the bellwether voice in the industry? How can you become the go-to source of information?

I suppose there are no silver bullets for success. But there are ways of shaping editorial content to make it more engaging; content with a cherry on top. I've outlined some ideas that I believe "up the odds" of your content being at the front of the information line. Here are a few such points to ponder:

1. Let someone else do the talking. The most potent source is an end user; someone who uses the product, technology, or service. Quotes from an end user carry weight with a reader and add value to the overall article. Shift the narrative over to the user's experience and you’ve given the article a breath of fresh air.

2. Make anecdotes and real-life examples the hero of the article. A case study has been proven to be an effective way of presenting information. Look at law schools and business schools of today. Many have adopted the case-study method as a means for presenting concepts and information. When a topic is complex or difficult to demonstrate in 1000 or so words, a case study is a convenient way to make it comprehensible. Illustrate your point with anecdotes and examples and readers will appreciate it.

3. Use the entire supply chain to find different perspectives on a topic. If you go up and down the supply chain in your industry, you will find different voices who have different perspectives on the topic. This is an often overlooked way of presenting information. Different perspectives from different players give an article a new angle, a new life, and new way of looking at a problem.

4. Be the crystal ball of the industry. What will the situation be one to three years out? Three to five years out? If we only knew. But a crystal ball into the future is what everyone savors. Plenty of people have an opinion on the future, so why not present it? Closing the article with a forecast of the future provides value to readers. It plants a bug in their head as to what the future holds.

Jim Romeo is a freelance writer based in Chesapeake, Virginia who specializes in business and technology topics. www.JimRomeo.net, freelancewriting@yahoo.com

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Comments:
Excellent tips, Jim.

I might add that I once read long ago that the Harvard Business School defines case studies as problem:solution. What is the problem? What is the solution? How does/did one implement it, step-by-step? What are the implications?

Moreover, your basic economics lesson of the supply chain, and similar concepts ought to be taught in journalism schools if it isn't already. In other words, teach future journalists how business works or require certain business school courses.

Robin Sherman
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# posted by Anonymous Robin Sherman : March 8, 2010 at 2:05 PM
 
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