The Future of Storytelling

By: Sydney Olivia

The internet is bursting with an overload of constant facts and information. It can make it hard to cut through all of the white noise and grasp the attention of readers. However, a good story can make a person stop skimming and start reading. 

As Clarissa Schearer, author of Axia Public Relations weekly newsletter says, “Storytelling is the future.”

The importance of feature writing can not be overstated in the field of journalism and public relations. It gives you the ability to become a storyteller and content creator while pushing a message for your client. A good feature can increase the client’s visibility while also creating a new audience. While feature writing can be an intimidating, and often daunting task for any journalist or public relations professional, it is important to keep a few tips in mind. 

Tip 1: The five W’s 

Some feature stories require a ton of research, but it’s easy to cover the essentials in five simple questions. These questions will give you the baseline of your story.

  • Who?
  • What?
  • When?
  • Where?
  • Why? 

Tip 2: Have an angle 

Following the five W’s alone won’t be what draws readers to your article. It’s up to you to determine a strong angle that you want to take on your feature article. An interesting angle can make all of the difference in capturing the audiences’ attention and converting casual skimmers into invested readers. And from invested readers into potential customers for your client.

Tip 3: Find what feature is best for you

People are often surprised that there is no one correct way to write a feature story. There are, in fact, many ways to write a feature story. Here is a look at the top five most common features. 

  • The Profile – an in-depth look at a person or profile 
  • The News Feature – a hard news subject told in feature style 
  • The Trend Story – a light-hearted take on what is trending in popular culture
  • The Spot Feature – a short story that offers a different perspective to a larger story 
  • The Live-In – a detailed story about a place and the people who live or work in the surrounding area 

Tip 4: What to add and what to leave 

While gathering information for your story, it’s hard to fight back the urge to add every detail, including your opinion or bias. Write the facts. Be specific and give detail. Leave your opinion behind. If you are unsure of whether or not to add something to your story, think about how it adds to the story. If it helps the story and the reader understand, then put it in. If it doesn’t benefit the story in any way, leave it out. It’s best to give readers a factual story, not an opinionated story. 

Tip 5: Use stronger verbs 

If you’re writing for a client, you might run into a maximum word count. It is important to pay attention to the adjectives and verbs you’re using. Try to utilize strong verbs rather than a lot of adjectives. “Show, don’t tell.” Verbs show the story and give the reader a better image. 

Anyone can write a feature. As long as you ask the five W’s, you’ll get the baseline of any story. It’s up to you to tell the story well. Stick to these simple tips and you’ll write a phenomenal story! 

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