Romance meets finance in this feature
How do you organize a compelling feature?
Model this piece, which Loring Leifer wrote for Northern Funds’ marketing magazine, Northern Update. In it, the Wylie Communications head writer and senior writing coach includes all of the elements you need to craft a compelling feature story.
Start with a feature head. A creative feature deserves a creative headline. Wordplay works beautifully for this one.
Let’s pause and ponder that for a minute too.
Bridge the gap
May-December marriage? Here’s how to span the age divide and retire together
Long before Tim Robbins hooked up with Susan Sarandon, 12 years his senior, William Shakespeare, at 18, married 26-year-old Anne Hathaway.
Broaden the story in the background section. Here, you explain why we’re covering this story now, give broader context for the piece and fill in the details readers need to understand the rest of the story.
(Loring also included a sidebar, which explained in detail the special financial problems challenges confronting May-September couples.)
Put the story into a nutshell in the nut paragraph. Here, you tell people what you’re going to tell them.
Body: Section one
See how Loring writes like a roller coaster. That is, she weaves metaphors, examples and concrete details throughout the piece to keep readers’ interest.
Body: Section two
Although this is a linear feature, Loring uses subheads, bullets, bold-faced lead-ins and other display copy. These make scanning easier and lift ideas off of the page.
Body: Section three
Notice how Loring has developed her bridge analogy in the display copy. One key to using an extended metaphor is to do so lightly. If Loring used a bridge reference in every paragraph, we’d soon grow weary of the analogy.
“By being realistic upfront about what is possible for the future, you can ward off putting your younger spouse in a detrimental situation… and alone,” she says.
Finally, draw to a close in the conclusion. The conclusion has two parts:
1. The wrap up, where you tell readers what you’ve told them. Again, note the concrete details here and throughout the piece.
2. The kicker, where you leave a lasting impression with concrete, creative, provocative information. Here, Loring returns to and spins her bridge analogy for a satisfying final note.
So you may be part of a bridge to a longer life for the next generation.
How can you craft a feature-style story like Loring’s?
Get the word out with clear, compelling copy
Each day, your readers are bombarded with 5,000 attempts to get their attention. That’s nearly 2 million messages a year. Is your copy getting through to your tired, busy, distracted audience?
These days — when people are more inclined to discard information than to read it — you need copy that captures attention, cuts through the clutter and leaves a lasting impression.
Wylie Communications can help. With Wylie Communications on your team, you can:
- Deliver copy that sells. When Ann’s not writing or editing, she’s training other writers. Or helping companies get the word out to their audiences. She applies the best practices she develops for her training and consulting business to her writing and editing projects. So your project will cut through the clutter, lift your ideas off the page or screen and deliver copy that sells products, services and ideas.
- Bring award-winning talent to your project. Ann’s work has earned nearly 60 communication awards, including two IABC Gold Quills. Let us help you produce world-class business communications, as well.
- Get writers who get business. Ann has interviewed George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Robert Redford. But she really enjoys chatting with economists, engineers and surgeons. At Wylie Communications, we’ve written about communication technology for Sprint, about personal finance for Northern Trust and — despite the fact that Ann’s preferred form of exercise is the hike from recliner to refrigerator — about fitness medicine for the Mayo Clinic. We’ll get up to speed on your industry, quickly and thoroughly.
- Stop working weekends. Our team provides a virtual staff to write and edit newsletters and magazines for Saint Luke’s, Northern Trust, State Street/Kansas City and Sprint. Let us pick up the slack in your department, too.