It seems pretty straightforward to write a news story. However, writing a captivating news story is harder than it looks. Journalists are trained to write content that will hook their readers and encourage them to keep reading. Even if you’re a marketer, you can use these news writing principles to write stories that will better engage your audience. Audiences want to read websites that offer special, exciting, and valuable content, no matter the format. In this article, we will tell you ten tips for how to write captivating news stories. We’ll help you create newsworthy content!
10 Tips for How to Write a News Article
Are you ready to learn how to write excellent news articles? Here are ten tips for writing captivating news stories (or marketing articles!) to engage your audience.
1. Start with the Most Important Facts
Here’s how you start a news article. In a news story, the most important information goes at the top. Always begin with the most important information, details, and facts. This is known as the inverted pyramid. The less important information can follow. The goal is to grab your reader’s attention with a hook at the beginning, ideally in the first 30 words. Summarize the story or article and what they can expect to learn, or tell them why they need to keep reading.
2. Keep it Thorough, but Short
Yes, this one sounds hypocritical, but hear us out. You want to answer all of your reader’s questions on the story, so that they don’t ditch your story for another article on the same topic. However, you also don’t want to add a bunch of unnecessary fluff, either. Walk the line between telling your reader what they want and need to know, without droning on and on and on and on….you get the point. And write short sentences!
3. Answer the Six Ws
Your story or article should answer the six Ws: who, what, when, where, why, and how. (And ideally, it should answer all six of these questions as quickly as possible!
4. Write in the Active Voice
Have you ever noticed that the news stories you read are in the active voice? That’s because the active voice is faster and requires fewer words. For example, “The Cubs beat the Dodgers last night” is more succinct than “The Dodgers were beaten by the Cubs in last night’s game.”
5. What’s New or Different?
A general rule of thumb in journalism is to add the new or updated information at the top of the story. Why does the reader care about this story? How does it affect them? What makes it relevant? If there is any trend going on in the world you can incorporate to make the story more timely, even better.
6. Focus on Human Interest
Any time you can put a human (or let’s face it, animal) face on a story, do it. This gives readers an emotional connection to the story that will draw them in and keep them interested. For example, take a story about a new treatment for an illness, and talk about how it helped one particular patient.
7. Avoid Jargon
Every industry – including marketing! – has its own jargon. The key to writing a story or article that is readable for everyone is to eliminate jargon. Or, if there is necessary jargon, make sure to explain it right away. And if you have to use any acronyms, also write them out in full in the first reference. For example, say “return on investment” rather than ROI the first time.
8. Use Quotes
Using someone’s first-person words in quotes is a powerful way to communicate important ideas in your story. Use journalistic principles when using quotes, however, and make sure to get them correct. (And always, always double-check the spelling of your source’s name.)
9. Keep it Factual
Don’t fall victim to “fake news.” The number one rule of journalism is to never write something that is untrue. If you do, you will lose your audience’s trust.
10. Use an Editor
It’s very difficult to spot your own grammar mistakes and misspellings. That’s why it’s important to always have a second set of eyes look over your work.
How Marketers Can Use These Tips for Writing News Stories
So, now let’s discuss how content marketers can apply these tips when they write a news story related to their own industry.
Start with an Interesting Lede
Always begin your story with 25 compelling words to draw in your reader. In journalism jargon, this is called a lede.
Answer Important Questions Right Away
Next, follow your exciting lede by answering any important questions your readers might have about the topic right away.
Quote a Source
To establish authority and support what you are saying in your piece, quote a source. A great SEO tip is to link back to another article about the topic from a well-respected website.
Add Additional Details
Now, add more details that are relevant to your story. This is the time to fill out your article or post with more information about your topic. Consider how a newspaper article is written and hit all the important points of the story.
Write a Satisfying Conclusion
Finally, make sure to write a satisfying conclusion. And for a marketing piece, always remember to include a well-written call to action at the end!
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- What is a lede?
- How do you start a news story?
- How do you structure a news story?
- What is the most important part of a news story?
- What are the six Ws?