The lede is one of the most important components of an article. It hooks the reader, tells them what the article is about and encourages them to continue reading. Before writing the lede, ask yourself “What is this article about?” Go through your research and find the information, statistic or anecdote that best represents the article’s information and formulate your lede around it. Also check out “Driving Rules for Getting to the Point with Your Lede” and “Lede On, Hook Your Readers Every Time”
A good article has a great lede, satisfying conclusion, smooth transitions and an interesting angle. The ideas presented have solid supporting facts obtained from thorough research. A good article also has expert or anectdotal quotes and tight editing. Not to mention you get that satisfied-high-five-yourself-feeling after it’s completed.
Sources are everywhere – your neighborhood, local colleges and universities, Google, social media. Sources can be found through asking sources you already have “Is there anyone else you think I should talk to?” Professional organizations can also point you to sources, take care to anticipate bias from certain trade/professional organizations. The key to a great piece is compiling and utilizing a diverse mix.
2. How do you conduct an interview?
Essentially, an interview is simply asking a source questions and waiting for their response. As people have become more media savvy it has become difficult for interviewers to break through the barriers PR folks or media weary subjects set up. “How to Lose Control of an Interview,” “Email Interviews vs. Phone Interviews part one and two and “The Art of a Yes/No Question in Interviews” are handy references to look at the subject more in depth.
1. I don’t have clips, how can I pitch without them?
The old freelance writing catch 22. You need clips to get gigs, but without gigs you can’t get clips. You could always go the “write for exposure route,” but you risk writing for a less than stellar publication that may not last long enough to give you the clips you need. Instead, if you’re going to write for free, write for yourself. Create articles in your niche, with real interviews, real sources to showcase your writing. These are writing samples. They don’t count as clips as they are not published, but they will help you land a gig so you can begin to build a clip file.
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