7.1: The purpose of feature writing
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In the previous chapter, we touched on using the news media as an informational tool to achieve your organization’s communication goals. One useful writing material is a feature article. Features are more in-depth than traditional news stories and go beyond providing the most important facts. The purpose of these stories is to provide a detailed description of a place, person, idea, or organization.
Although reporters and editors classify features as news stories, they are not necessarily structured using the inverted pyramid style. Instead, features use storytelling devices to help the reader connect with the overall narrative and its central characters. Features are particularly common in magazine writing, although they frequently appear in other mediums.
Profiles or personality features that give insight into a person’s role, experience, or background are one type of feature. Among the most common subjects of profiles are celebrities, athletes, individuals who overcome challenges, and high-profile executives.
Click here for more information on the different types of features.
It is important to understand the circumstances that warrant a feature piece from a strategic communication perspective. Communication professionals write feature articles to provide in-depth exposure for their client or organization. A feature can increase a client or company’s visibility and even help find new key audiences.
If you need to quickly get information about your client or organization to the media, a feature article may not be the best tool because it typically is longer than a traditional news story. However, you could write a feature article on, for example, your company’s new CEO to provide more background information to key audiences. Feature stories are also used in an organization’s internal communications, such as newsletters and magazines.
Overall, feature articles use an informative tone while incorporating creative and descriptive devices in order to increase audience appeal. Here is an example of a feature article from the New York Times.