Media Advice: Features

Features are more lengthy articles, often following ‘hard news’. They tend to go in depth to discover the background behind the headlines.

For instance, if there has been a reported increase in cycling in your area, then you might try to get a feature about the reasons for it. If you have been running a sustained campaign, and just had a major success, then your local paper might be interested in running a feature on the history of the campaign, and how your victory will affect local cyclists.

If you have an idea for a feature, talk to a friendly journalist on a show/paper who can advise you, or ring and talk to the features editor or their deputy.

 

  • Have your idea worked out and be prepared to ‘sell’ it. Editors are pushed for space, and have to justify every inch of space.
  • Produce a draft or outline, but be prepared for it to be changed.
  • Don’t pester them if they are not interested. It may not be a good week, and hassled journalists are unlikely to call you for comments.
  • Promote your group as well as making your points.Emphasise your involvement, but don't hog the limelight.
  • Try to get your logo printed (supply a good copy). Ask them to provide a link to your website, or a contact email or telephone number.
  • If you are writing the article, don’t rant. Make it entertaining, interesting and informative. Think about your audience, and aim it at them.
  • Get your timing right. Linking it to National Bike Week can help, as many editors are convinced to run features as part of the nationwide interest in cycling generated by the week.
  • It is normally easier to get features and articles published in summer, because with Parliament in recess, there are less stories about. Local papers may also have staff on holiday, and appreciate a ready-made article.
     

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