Articles, interviews, features. We see them every day, be it in a newspaper, magazine or online. But how do you write them? Well, in this four-parter (the next in the coming weeks) I’m going to tell you.
First up: structure and presentation.
Your audience want to see a nice looking article. If it’s completely out of order and they’re unable to understand what the Jolly Roger is going on, they’re not going to read it, not going to pass it on, and they’ll probably give you a bad comment if it’s online. Presentation is what they look for: paragraphing, correct grammar, spelling and punctuation, and if you have pictures make them pretty.
Speaking of pictures; if you are going to use any, make them relevant to what you’re writing about. Don’t do what I do and include pictures of spoof L’Oreal adverts where they’re not wanted (unless you’re writing for BuzzFeed. In which case, they probably are wanted).
Moreover, don’t fill your article with random bits of odd-looking text. It’ll turn your audience off. Often, in news articles, text is only bolded if it’s a date, a name or an important fact. I’m not saying there are rules to this, but just make sure you don’t go completely overboard, you know, emphasising every bit of unnecessary text.
Now, to structure. This article has a structure: I’m doing presentation then moving onto the next bit. Notice how I haven’t fitted in parts about structure into the presentation bit, and I won’t do it the other way around.
Articles aren’t necessarily completely chronological (the events are written about in the order they happened in) but they have to have some structure. If it’s easier, you can use subheadings or bullet points. You may be writing about an event that happened in 2014, but something important that happened in 2002 needs to be mentioned. You don’t need to start with the 2002 bit (unless that’s where it needs to go) but make sure that it’s not jammed in when you’re talking about another important thing that happened in 2013, for example.
A reader also needs to be able to follow the structure. Don’t skip to far ahead so that they lose track, and don’t jump around too much between dates and events. Have it run smoothly, and their reading will go smoothly.
Obviously, there are exceptions to every rule; if your article calls for it, jam that piece of 2002 information into the 2013 section, go wild and bold and italic random sections (if you’re a real hardcore, you can even go for underlining!). I’m not the perfect journalist (yet, anyway!). I’m just an amateur who enjoys writing articles and (perhaps) helping other people with my random pieces of advice.
Questions, comments, thoughts? Shoot! 😀
- Relevant Information and How to Get It
- Where To Send Your Article/Pitching
- Dos and Don’ts for Article Writing