Sunday May 12 is Mother’s Day in the United States — meaning that you’ve got got just under one month to pick your mom up something that lets you know how much you appreciate her. While flowers or chocolates are standard fare, Apple’s got an even better idea: Why not buy her an Apple product? […]
University lecturer, author and media consultantÂ Mary Hogarth shares her tips on feature writing.
There is no shortcut to good writing. Whether you are writing for print or online, aim to engage, inform and entertain.
An excellent feature requires meticulous research. Writers must find the right market, come up with a viable idea and develop a sharp angle before securing first-class interviews with appropriate experts.
Here are five pillars for enhancing your skills, which have evolved from my latest book, Writing Feature ArticlesÂ (pictured below), published by Routledge.
1) Find the right market
A good writer begins by finding the right audience for their work before developing the content.
I suggest selecting three possible outlets, then researching each one to determine the most suitable in terms of editorial pillars and audience, before narrowing it down to one title.
Always check that your chosen publication has not run a similar feature before undertaking an in-depth study of its audience needs and the house-style.
Analyse article lengths, writing styles, and tone to capture those subtle nuances.
2) Develop a strong angle
Articles need compelling angles, from which you can then develop a headline.
Write the headline first before crafting the rest of the content. Why? Because without a headline an article can lack clear direction, which might impact on the structure and would be unlikely to engage the commissioning editor.
Furthermore, the headline will help you determine who to interview and the questions to ask
3) Keep it factual
Always keep to the facts. Avoid including your opinion or general comments, because unless you are a bonafide expert on the subject about which you are writing, such content is likely to downgrade your article.
Undertake background reading, in-depth research and find viable interviewees.
For example, if writing a piece on professional sports coaching find a high-profile expert rather than going to your local gym and cornering the personal trainer.
4) Provide added value
In this digital age, an article needs added value, be it a short audio piece, video clip, or a well-chosen infographic.
If writing for a print magazine, think of your article in terms of a theme with additional components that can be published online.
For example, if writing a piece on the impact of alternative therapies on dementia, the print article could focus on how alternative therapies can support dementia patients.
While the online article â€“ perhaps titled My Story â€“ could be an interview with a relative of a dementia patient explaining how or if such therapies had helped, written up in the first person.
A short video of an actual therapy session or a soundbite from a therapist explaining the core benefits could also add further impact.
5) Edit your work
Never send in your first draft.
Always edit the first draft to address any awkward sentences or potentially unanswered questions in the text, while the third read is for proofreading purposes.
Marketers get a lot of incoming from the data they have to deal with, bound up in hundreds of spreadsheets and reports, making it time consuming and tricky to get value out of. Tech companies like Datorama and Funnel.io have appeared to try and lighten this load.
Adverity is a data intelligence platform also playing his this space by applying AI to produce actionable insights in real-time.
Founded in 2015, itâ€™s a cloud agnostic SaaS platform compatible with Amazon, Google and Microsoft which provides data to destinations such as SQL databases, Snowflake, AWS Redshift, SAP HANA. Its business model is based on yearly subscription fees.
Itâ€™s now closed an â‚¬11 million ($12.4 million) Series B funding round, bringing the total amount raised to date to â‚¬15 million ($17 million). The investment is led by London-based Felix Capital, with participation from Silicon Valleyâ€™s Sapphire Ventures and the SAP.iO fund. The company now plans to use its war chest to expand into the US market.
In addition to the latest round of investors, Adverity continues to be backed by existing investors including, Speedinvest, Mangrove Capital (early backer of Skype, Wix.com and Walkman), 42cap, and local Austrian company the AWS Founders Fund.
Adverityâ€™s latest AI-powered product Presense is currently under closed beta testing for selected clients and will be launched later this year.
Alexander IgelsbÃ¶ck, CEO and Co-Founder of Adverity, commented: â€œEvery company wants and needs to be data-driven. This is especially true in marketing where the fragmentation of data, and complexity in getting insights from it, poses a huge challenge for CMOs. Adverityâ€™s mission is to solve those challenges by eliminating the hurdles facing companies today.”
Adverityâ€™s clients include companies such as IKEA, Red Bull, Mediacom, Mindshare and IPG. Headquartered in Vienna, Austria, the company has offices across London, Sofia and Frankfurt.
Sasha Astafyeva, Principal at Felix Capital, commented: â€œData is a powerful tool for engaging customers and Adverity helps marketers harness the power of their data to make better decisions, grow their business and better serve their customers.”
The companyâ€™s founding members are Alexander IgelsbÃ¶ck, Martin Brunthaler and Andreas GlÃ¤nzer. IgelsbÃ¶ck previously headed a startup incubator in Austria (KochAbo GmbH) and prior to that was VP Product Management at VeriSign Inc, where he met Brunthaler, who was Director of Engineering. GlÃ¤nzerâ€™s experience was gained in a sales role at Google and as Regional Head of iProspect. The three previously founded a price comparison technology company that was acquired by Heise Media in Germany.
Did Apple mislead investors by not coming clean sooner about the drop in iPhone sales? That’s what a pair of new class action lawsuits suggest. The suits were filed by City of Roseville employees’ retirement fund and the Schall Law Firm, a national shareholder rights litigation firm. They allege that Apple made false or misleading […]
Weengs, the U.K. logistics startup for e-commerce businesses that need a more convenient way of getting online orders to customers, has raised Â£6.5 million in Series A funding. Leading the round is venture capital firm Oxford Capital, with Weengâ€™s seed investors, including Local Globe, Cherry Ventures and Venture Friends, following on.
Founded by Alex Christodolou and Greg Zontanos, provides small and medium-sized online stores of various kinds, including eBay and Amazon power sellers and brick ‘n’ mortar stores with an e-commerce component, with a “ship-from-store” logistics solution that handles collection, packing and delivery.
The basic premise is that time costs money, which can make e-commerce quite prohibitive. By outsourcing time-consuming and labour intensive logistics, store owners can put their time into other more profitable and differentiating aspects of their business, such as sales and marketing, and customer experience.
To make this work, Weengs collects orders daily from retailersâ€™ stores, and professionally packs them back at the Weengs warehouse before they are shipped to customers via the couriers the company partners with.
Weengs says it can pack and ship a broad range of products globally, including less obvious items such as plants to musical instruments, electronics and everyday items like cosmetics. It has developed algorithms to pick the most appropriate courier service based on the item and customer priorities.
“Our business is part of the rising omnichannel opportunity we are seeing in retail,” says Pier Ronzi, Weeng’s more recently added co-founder and CEO. “Increasingly, it makes sense for retailers to ship-from-store. Basically cities and stores are becoming distributed inventories that retailers can leverage to increase their business and Weengs helps them [by] offering a one-stop-shop solution for their fulfilment while they can focus on their core activity”.
Since Weengs’ seed round, the team has grown to 70 people and saw Ronzi, who previously worked at McKinsey&Co, join the company. The startup now has around 400 retailers as customers and says it has fulfilled more than 500,000 online orders to date.
“We have learnt that our service saves retailers a huge amount of time and that is the key to our value proposition versus, for example, price,” says Ronzi. Prior to Weengs, customers typically handled fulfilment themselves or used costly fulfilment centres.
To that end, Weengs says it will use the new funding to invest heavily in its new warehouse and accompanying automation and technology. The plan is to “supercharge” operations to be able to fulfil more than 15,000 e-commerce orders per day.
Explains the Weengs CEO: “The packing operations today is mainly manual. In the new automated warehouse we are implementing a process governed by our software and leveraging a packing machine that automatically performs the packing operations: the order item is fed to the machine and, at the end of a quick automated process, the order comes out packed in a very high standard and bespoke box, labelled and ready to be handed over to the carriers. The process becomes heavily automated but we still add the human touch for value added activities such as preparation of fragile items and supervision of the whole process”.