Feature Articles: Get These Ten Great Ideas!

Beginners' Guide to Writing & Selling Quality Features

I discuss ten popular topics of feature articles in my book, Beginners’ Guide to Writing & Selling Quality Features, that I wrote several years ago when I taught journalism. I will list them here. These are especially suitable for local publications. Some of these categories are broad and overlap:

1) People.
These articles are among the most common and popular to write and read. You could write about someone with an interesting hobby, job or business; someone who is active in the community who is retiring or moving away; a unique child, senior citizen, or disabled person; an artist; or a famous person who has some link to your area. For example, you could write about an antique car collector, costume designer, or a glassblower.

2) Events.
You could write about public gatherings, such as festivals, exhibits, concerts, or shows. You could even preview them, interviewing the people involved in organizing them. You could also write about uncommon happenings, such as the birth of a second set of twins to a mother.

3) Lifestyle.
You could write about people who live in houseboats or log cabins. You could also write about people who operate successful home businesses.

4) Seasonal.
You could write holiday features, such as how a certain ethnic group celebrates a major holiday. Other ideas are: fashion, food, and sports, pertaining to the current season.

5) Trends of the Decade.
Why not write about men and women entering certain fields that were traditionally limited to a certain gender? You could also write about new types of businesses that are becoming popular.

6) Anachronisms.
What about businesses that are becoming extinct? For example, I recently read a feature article about the only person left in my area who repairs typewriters.

7) Interesting Places to Visit/Travel to.
These articles could be about local or regional towns or even organizations, such as the local historical society. Or, they could be more general features about foreign countries that are becoming popular to tourists.

8) Informational.
These could be about services offered to the public by the government and by social service agencies, such as food banks.

9) How-to.
These cover a range of topics, such as self-help: improving your physical and emotional health, and staying fit. They could also deal with home improvements, such as interior decorating. Or, they could be about car maintenance for particular seasons of the year.

10) First Person Experience.
The most effective features of this kind are the ones where the writer has participated in some different or unusual activity or job, and shared his/her perspectives. Do you know someone who owns a farm? Be a farmer for a day and then report on it.

Ideas are boundless. All you need to do is sit down and brainstorm. And the more you read features, the more ideas they will trigger. Start being an idea person!

Copyright 2015 by Charlotte Digregorio.

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About Charlotte Digregorio

I publish books. I have marketed and/or published 55 titles. These books are sold in 46 countries to bookstores, libraries, universities, professional organizations, government agencies, and book clubs. I am also the author of five non-fiction books: Haiku and Senryu: A Simple Guide for All; Everything You Need to Know About Nursing Homes; You Can Be A Columnist; Beginners' Guide to Writing & Selling Quality Features; and Your Original Personal Ad. The first four books have been adopted as supplemental texts at universities throughout the U.S., Canada, India, Pakistan, and Catalonia. They are sold in 43 countries, and are displayed in major metropolitan cultural centers. These books have been reviewed, recommended, and praised by hundreds of critics, librarians, and professors worldwide. I am also the author of a poetry collection: "Shadows of Seasons: Selected Haiku and Senryu." Two of my books have been Featured Selections of Writer's Digest Book Club. I am regularly interviewed by major print, radio, and television organizations throughout the U.S. I have signed books at libraries, chain bookstores, and university bookstores. I was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize in poetry. I have won thirty-three poetry awards. I have been nominated and listed in "The International Authors and Writers Who's Who" in Cambridge, England and in the "Who's Who In Writers, Editors & Poets U.S./Canada." I am an internationally-published haiku, senryu, tanka, kyoka, haibun, free verse, acrostic, cinquain, etheree, and sestina poet. My poetry has been translated into six languages, and I have done poetry readings at a variety of bookstores, libraries, art centers, cafes, tea houses, and galleries. My poetry has been displayed at supermarkets, art galleries, libraries, apparel and wine shops, banks, botanic gardens, restaurants, and on public transit. I've been interviewed on cable television about my poetry. I also hosted my own radio program, "Poetry Beat," on public broadcasting. My poetry has been featured on several library web sites including those of Shreve Memorial Library in Louisiana and Cornell University's Mann Library. My background includes positions as a feature editor and columnist at daily newspapers and as a magazine editor. I have been a public relations director for a non-profit organization. I was also self-employed as a communications/public relations/marketing consultant with 111 clients in 16 states. In other professional areas, I have been on university faculties, teaching French, Italian, and Writing. I regularly give special lectures and workshops on publishing, journalism, publicity, poetry, and creativity to business and professional groups, and to those at writer's conferences, universities, literary festivals, non-profit organizations, and to libraries. I have been a writer-in-residence at universities. There have been about 400 articles written about me in the media. I have served on the Boards of writers and publishers organizations. My positions have included Board Secretary of the Northwest Association of Book Publishers. I served for five years as Midwest Regional Coordinator of The Haiku Society of America. Currently, I am Second Vice President of the Haiku Society.
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