Here at Purecontent, we write many hundreds of news stories every day on all sorts of topics that our clients and their website visitors are interested in. Our writers follow our 6 step guide for every story to make sure they are engaging and to the point.
- The Headline – Make sure its news related
- The Lead – The lead relays the facts
- The Why -Expand upon the lead
- The Who – Who is it about?
- In-Depth & Background
- The Round Off Or Kicker – Your Conclusion
Step 1: The Headline (Make sure its news related)
The standard way to write a headline is to be factual and to inform the reader of the core content of the article in just a few words. A factual headline is also of course more searchable than a clever headline. Have a look at some newspaper headlines as journalists are the experts in this field. You will soon see how they form their headlines for maximum impact.
The clever headline also has its place. An eye catching headline can work in several ways online. It will draw readers in who are curious and could generate a lot more links than the traditional method.
If your page is relying on search for its page views I would recommend a factual headline. If however you know that your page will be getting traffic and you are competing against other articles a clever headline may just give you the edge that you need. A good option is sometimes a factual headline with a clever subheading; this draws your reader in whilst maintaining a searchable headline.
On a technical note only headlines between 2 and 22 words get spidered properly.
Step 2: The Lead – The Lead Relays The Facts
The most important section of any news story is the lead. The lead relays the facts of the article in the first few lines. The standard rule is to cover the five W’s.
“Who, Where, What, When, Why”
Step 3: The Why – Expand Upon The Lead
The second paragraph of your story will expand upon the lead. You should explain the significance of what you are writing about and “why” it is newsworthy.
Step 4: The Who – Who Is It About?
Depending on the story, the WHY and the WHO could technically switch places. For example if you are writing about Brad Pitt, the who may have more importance than the why. However if the who is not that important the third paragraph is ideal for this information. If it’s at all possible give some more in-depth information about the person or organisation in question. For example: “Actor Tommy Jones is currently appearing in Dick Whittington at the Palladium but is also now writing his autobiography. Jones is best known for appearing in movies about the Internet such as Geeks United.”
Step 5: In-Depth & Background
Once you have completed the “Who, Where, What, When and Why,” it’s time to go into the detail and the main body of the story. Include all your in-depth background information at this point to get to help readers get to ‘nut’ of the story. These sections can contain historical, or biographical information that will add useful content.
Step 6: The Round Off Or Kicker – Your Conclusion
The kicker is the journalistic term for the last paragraph in a news article. It closes off your article in a neat fashion. Like the lead your kicker should have some symbolic resonance with the rest of the article. The proven components of a kicker are:
Major Quotes – a memorable quote will reinforce the story’s main theme.
Questions – can create a new line of thought for the reader.
An Ending – births, beginnings, deaths, etc.