Strathcona County embraces the feature-style story structure
Too many communicators have married the inverted pyramid and made a lot of triangular babies. Problem is, the traditional news structure doesn’t work well with humans.
But in Alberta, communicators are starting to flirt with other structures. After attending one of my Beyond the Inverted Pyramid workshops, Elizabeth Tadman-Kickham, communications & marketing specialist at Strathcona County, rewrote a news story into a feature. Here’s the result:
Strathcona County makes over a traditional news story
|Element||Approach||Before: News||After: Feature|
|Lead||The 2014 Canada 55+ Games are coming to Strathcona County, Alberta this summer from August 27 to 30. The Canada 55+ Games is a nation wide program that promotes spiritual, mental and physical wellness among Canadians 55 years of age and older. Not just your average sporting event, the Canada 55+ Games features competition in 24 different sports and events ranging from swimming and hockey to scrabble and bocce.||Florence Storch is a 101-year-old Alberta woman with a unique hobby and a lofty goal. A javelin thrower, Florence has her sights set on winning a gold medal at the 2014 Canada 55+ Games.|
|Nut graph||This summer, Florence and 2000 other competitors from across Canada will have their chance at gold right here in Strathcona County, and you can come cheer them on.|
|Background section||The Canada 55+ Games is a nation-wide program that promotes spiritual, mental and physical wellness among Canadians 55 years of age and older. Not just your average sporting event, the Games features competition in 24 different sports and events ranging from swimming and hockey to scrabble and bocce.|
|Body||Here’s where you tell ’em what you’re going to tell ’em. The brisker, the better.|
I like the way Elizabeth got the readers into the story by inviting them to the games instead of just informing readers about the event.
|With 2000 participants from across the country, 300 of their family members and 550 volunteers registered, the 2014 Games are set to be the largest Canada 55+ Games in the program’s 18-year history! The Games are truly a four-day celebration of sport, culture and social well being and feature a number of free events that are open to the public including:|
Opening Ceremonies Fireworks — weather permitting
55+ Health & Wellness Expo
Ardrossan Mini Art Market — weather permitting
Art: Objet de Sport, an exhibit celebrating Canadian and Olympic sport and recreation.
|The 2014 Games will be held in Strathcona County from August 27 to 30 and are set to be the largest Canada 55+ Games in the program’s eighteen-year history. Come out, be inspired, and enjoy the festivities including:|
|Wrapup||Tell ’em what you told ’em in this one- to two-sentence paragraph.|
Tip: Copy your nut graph, paste it into the conclusion and massage for a great, low-work wrapup.
|Come cheer on the nation from August 27 to 30 in Strathcona County! For more information on the events listed above and the full Games sport and activity competition schedule, visit our Website or call 780-467-2211.||You can find sport schedules, cultural events and volunteer opportunities for the 2014 Canada 55+ Games by visiting our Website or calling 780-467-2211.|
|Kicker||The great thing about inverted pyramids is you just stop typing. Features require an ending. To leave a lasting impression, go with something that’s concrete, creative and provocative.|
I might add a detail or two to this kicker to make it more concrete. Maybe something like “Come join 2,000 participants from across the country — the oldest of whom is XX” before Elizabeth’s ending.
|Don’t let their age fool you; the competitors in these Games are here to win!|
So which of these stories would you rather read? And how can you use the feature-style story structure in your next piece?
Next steps: Build a solid structure
Want to master a story structure that increases readership instead of cutting it short?
- Get it off your desk: Bring Ann’s team in to write compelling copy.
- Polish staff skills: Bring Ann to your organization for a Go Beyond the Inverted Pyramid workshop.
- Boost your own abilities: Find out about Ann’s next feature story Master Class. Or work with Ann on developing the feature-style story structure in one-on-one writing coaching.
- Join the club: Get dozens of tipsheets on the feature-style story structure at RevUpReadership.com.
- Get more writing tips: Subscribe to our e-zine for free writing tips every month.
- Learn more: Read more story structure tips.