As I wrote in a post called Writing is Not Always a Novel Idea, there are many types of writing. Even with articles, there are different formats. Here’s a round-up of common ones along with some examples.
One person, celebrity or expert is used in a standard Interview article. But for this type, you’d interview several experts in a given field. You won’t need a complete interview with each person. Often each person will answer the same two to three questions. It might even be done with just one well thought out question or idea.
Example: 10 Doctors Reveal How They Stay Stress-Free
Inverted Triangle Article:
News outlets use this formula. The first paragraph of the article includes the all-important details. Succeeding paragraphs contain more thorough information. If the article requires editing for space, trimming from the bottom leaves the details intact. A reader scanning the opening paragraphs gets the most relevant information.
Example: Senator Big-cheese will attend the 4-H Club meeting on December the 5th. Club members meet at Poe Library on Annabelle Lee Lane. Parking is limited. The Senator decided to attend after learning about several members’ interest in the different branches of government.
A piece that outlines a method. It’s not as easy as it sounds. You must give clear detail. Often it requires numbered step-by step instructions and provides accompanying photographs.
Example: How to Knit Your Own Cat (There is a book – seriously.)
An article that lists anywhere from 5 to 101+ things. It may be a numbered list only or each item may have four to five sentences describing each entry. Divide your word count by the number of items in the list to give you an idea of what you have to work with.
Example: 101 Items to Make out of Dryer-Lint or 5 Ways to Cry over Spilled Milk
Personal Story Article:
A personal account of something that happened to you or someone you know. These are often called Human Interest stories as well, because they must have a strong point of interest for the readers as well as take-away value.
Example: Surviving the Roommate from Hell
Sometimes called a feature article, this type runs anywhere from 1,000 to 10,000 words and provides a more complete discussion of a topic. Even though it is longer, the writing still needs to be concise and cover one area well. The first few paragraphs introduce the idea and what specific areas you will address. The middle uses in-depth arguments, interviews, and supporting facts. The conclusion makes closing statements, encourages a plan of action, or proposes a change in outlook.
Example: Social Media: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
This list is not exhaustive; an article can even be a hybrid of one or more types. My hope is that these descriptions would encourage, enhance, and expand your writing ideas in new ways. I’d love to know if this resource helped you. Below are a couple of additional articles that will assist you with getting started and finishing your piece.
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