Features News Tips
Need help getting your feature news stories noticed by media? Business Wire offers these step-by-step tips for better feature writing.
Headline: Summarize your story in 20 words or less. Think of how you can interest people in your story and let them know what it's all about.
First/lead paragraph: Reinforce the headline message. Give readers more to whet their appetites, just a kernel of information. Keep it tight — no more than 30 words.
Second paragraph: Expand the lead and back it up. Attribute the lead and identify the source or expert. (e.g. "... says Mary Jane Sweet, director of the Sugar Cone Corporation.") Editors will not read past this paragraph if they do not know who is providing the text. This is also an ideal place to add a website address.
Third paragraph: Bring the story to life with your best quote. Humanize the feature. This shows editors that your expert will be interesting to interview. Start with the quote first, then add the attribution (e.g., "Johnny Appleseed, a pie expert and president of the All American Pie Company.") If you want to add another quote, you can then use ""says Appleseed."
Fourth paragraph: Give more details to further the story, tell readers how the product works or introduce tips. List the tips in bullets and don't number them. When editors are tight on space they may need to edit the list. After you give the details, you may want to use another good quote from a third party.
Fifth paragraph: If you have statistics or research findings, or you want to show how your story has affected people, this is the paragraph to do so.
Sixth paragraph: Close your story. End by providing price information and how to get the product. Also include the website address. Give people the facts and everyone will be happy. Most importantly, keep your feature story to 400 words. The more you write, the more likely the editor will use another story that is less time-consuming to prepare.
For the media: If you have photos, video or a spokesperson available for interviews, mention it in a note to editors.
Boilerplates and Corporate Identity statements: Not necessary for a feature story. Don't be shocked: Feature editors hesitate to read them and rarely use them. Feature content is very different from a regular press release and usually doesn't carry text that will require a disclaimer. Features are targeted to a niche audience with a completely different focus.