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Good Leads for Feature Articles

Updated on February 26, 2014

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

Expert Quote

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.


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    • Deltachord profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from United States

      Yes, it can be applied to articles written for HubPages.

      Thanks for your support.

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 

      5 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      Up, Useful, and Interesting. I assume the same advice goes for HubPages articles -- both the Summary and the opening words of the first text capsule.

    • Deltachord profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from United States

      Okay. I won't.

    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan R Lancaster 

      5 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      Hello again D., the added bit after the dash was my own (I hope you don't use all of it as a quote of Churchill's). Just thought I'd change the perspective a bit.

    • Deltachord profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from United States

      Thank you. That is a creative idea to use different styles for your website.

    • byshea profile image


      5 years ago

      Good information. I like to write articles in this style occasionally for my website.

    • Deltachord profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from United States

      Hi alancaster,

      I found the quote without that extention. Perhaps, I should change my quote.

      Yes, I'm teaching myself to use diffrent writing formats and techniques to make my articles better. Really, just getting started on that.

      Thanks for commenting.

    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan R Lancaster 

      6 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      Could be useful, Deltachord! Do you go through the 'process' yourself? My subject matter's been dictated by what I know. Having a 'CV' as long as my arm, and geographical variation from central Europe to East Midlands England I've got a waiting list of material once I've worked through what I've got in my 'In-tray'.

      You could extend that Churchill quote to 'If you're going through hell, keep going - but don't forget to make notes on the way!'


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