As print media faces stiffer competition from other sources of news, feature stories are being pushed to the forefront because they offer more in-depth analysis and are often more engaging than other types of articles, like hard news or business stories. This doesn’t mean that news stories and business stories cannot be written in feature form, it just means journalists are having to use their creativity to engage the reader for longer – a counter attack against the immediacy of social media. These changes can not only be seen in regional and national press, but also in wire services like the Associated Press. Feature writing allows for more space to discuss issues (normally of human interest) in more depth. There are several types of feature articles including: colour pieces describing the scene and adding insight to the overall theme; behind the scenes or fly on the wall pieces; big interview pieces, which will often include a fact box/profile of the interviewee; a first person report; an opinion piece where the journalist offers their personal opinion on a subject or issue; or a backgrounder, which is often used to report on the investigations of the police in a criminal trial. Using feature articles to raise the profile of your Company can be tricky, but when done well it can result in excellent print coverage. Features allow for substantial information about your Company to be disseminated, so readers feel as if they are getting to know you. This is vital because it’s this personal connection which leads to customers. Furthermore, being given a large amount of space in a newspaper or magazine sends a message to people that you or your Company must be important.
Recently, I wrote a feature article for Flybe – a major employer in Devon – which resulted in a page of coverage in a regional newspaper. The feature is part of a series about the airline’s employees aimed at getting them more media coverage and recognition in the South West. By focusing on a particular employee, Flybe suddenly has a face to it. The feature still got across all of the important statistics and facts about the airline but in a subtle way, whilst at the same time offering the reader an insight into the human side of the Company – the people behind the business.