Good Leads for Feature Articles
The Aim of Feature Article Leads
The magazine feature article lead must strike and hold the reader's attention. Otherwise, he will click to another article or leaf through the printed magazine to find a more compelling lead. That is something more interesting to read.
It is vitally important for the article lead to compel the editor to buy your article. Cork Millner in the Writer emphasizes that the article lead is akin to touting a sales concept. You present it to the editor to get him to accept your idea.
Pointers for Writing Article Leads
First, write the lead so the copy is germane to the lead. Going off on an unrelated tangent wastes time and effort
Imagine a Scene
Suppose you are looking for a feature article to write for a local magazine or newspaper. A friend tells you about a trainer of K-9 dogs that rescued a neighbor from prowlers. You interview the dog trainer and think of how to dramatize your material.
You can hook the readers with an emotional opening like a novelist writing his story. This lead uses character and action.
Bert answered the call and got his gun, flashlight, and K-9 dog. In the rain, he raced around the back of the apartments and chased the prowlers to their back door. In the morning, he and Priscilla looked at the muddy footprints leading from her apartment to the neighbor's apartment. Her suspicions of the prowler's identity were vindicated
Get an expert quote for the lead. "The Brownton City Zoo has had a perfect safety record for 20 years. Samson had never attacked a visitor before this incident occurred."
Use a Famous Quote
A good quote will garner the attention a lead needs.
Winston Churchill once said, “If you are going through hell, keep going.”
This quote is perfect for a feature article about someone that handled personal tragedy heroically. Perhaps, a guitarist whose hand is seriously hurt in an accident teaches himself to play again with two fingers like Django Reinhardt. He taught himself to play solos again with two fingers after his third and fourth fingers were seriously burned in a fire.
Example: Local guitarist John Rose can relate to Winston Churchill's statement ”If you are going through hell, keep going.”
This lead sentence would make anyone interested in guitar players wonder why John can relate to Churchill's declaration. The writer could go from there by adding to his lead paragraph and finishing his article.
Lead with a Question
Start the article using a question to grab interest. Example: Have you dreamed of winning the State Fair Best Pickles Contest? Alice Tubbs tells her story of 10 years of winning the first place ribbon and prize.
Detect the Buzz
New things that are in vogue or a twist on an old trend attracts people's attention. For instance, some students from New Jersey created Ultimate Frisbee. Next, Ed Headrick invented Disc Golf. Learning of something that becomes big before it does might be unusual, but uncovering an unusual turn of events isn't so rare.
Nancie Hudson explains in Writer that she discovered an arts council's atypical success story. The public's support for a certain project was so enthusiastic that “the coordinator failed to order enough art supplies for it,” Hudson explained.
Feature Article Writing Tips
This presented a great lead twist for her fund-raising article. The discovery also gave her a slant. The lead has two parts: hook and slant. The example about the guitarist with an injured hand has a slant because it is narrowed down to learning to play again after the injury has healed.
This Ending Points Back to Opening
The article lead grabs the reader's attention and keeps him reading, therefore, make the leads fascinating, stimulating, or thought provoking.