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It takes only a quick Google search to see that the internet is oversaturated with information on nearly every conceivable topic. Creating fresh press writing in an area where it seems that everything has been done before — and indeed done several dozen times over — is a challenge every writer and marketer faces. What makes a piece stand out from the crowd, and what elusive qualities will keep your reader engaged beyond your catchy headline?
Explore beyond your regular haunts in the online landscape and take a look at some truly engaging examples of stellar press writing. Block out a bit of time to really explore these pieces, and you’ll find a wealth of examples that show how you can creatively approach topics ranging from recent news to issues as old as time.
Image via Flickr by Harsha Goonewardana
Dive into “The Hunted” and experience the immersive story of Mike and Delia Owens, who resettled in remote Africa in the 1970s, only to discover that the reach of poachers goes further than they’d imagined. The pair has an epic story that includes both the breathtaking beauty of Africa’s wildlife and the heartbreaking crush of witnessing the treacherous reach of large-scale poaching. If you’ve only read about poaching in a more academic sense, this immersive story is guaranteed to excite you.
Though lengthy, this piece from The New Yorker is a rich example of how solid writing can still stand strong in the age of online oversaturation. Once you begin the tale, it’s difficult to stop reading. The fascinating storyline pulls you in and keeps you moving along as you experience an Africa from decades ago, neatly brought to life with nothing but words. Taking this storytelling approach in your pieces can instantly distinguish them from the drier and more factual blogs that dominate online.
“Prison Without Walls” begins like a good novel: “One snowy night last winter, I walked into a pizzeria….” The story goes on to explore the potential of replacing American incarceration with a system that relies instead on electronic surveillance devices. Packed with studies, facts, and statistics, this piece avoids being too dry thanks to its engaging narrative of the author, who donned one of the devices himself to see how others would react to it.
Taking a personal experiential approach to nearly any topic is a fascinating way to make it seem more relevant. Perhaps the reader doesn’t have experience with incarceration, but anyone can imagine partaking in the experiment. This strategy only serves as a lead-in to the deeper discussion, but it’s an effective tactic that makes the piece stand out in an area where the topic might otherwise get buried.
‘I’m No Longer Afraid’: 35 Women Tell Their Stories About Being Assaulted by Bill Cosby, and the Culture That Wouldn’t Listen is a fascinating piece that includes profiles of all 35 women involved in the sexual assault allegations against the comedian. The piece discusses the power of women claiming their own victimhood. Though its focus is clearly on the Cosby case, it also dives into other rape cases and explores the culture surrounding them all.
Readers can engage with this article through the introduction or take the time to go through each victim’s individual story. This is a powerful layout that makes it easy to go deeper where you want more information, yet provides all the essential details that you’ll need upfront. Consider structuring your own pieces similarly to make it easy for online readers to navigate deeper into the story when they want, without being forced to slog through more information than they’re prepared for in a single sitting.
This Edible Geography post is an expanded version of an interview published in the New City Reader. The concept is simple, and the format is timeless, but this piece is worthy of consideration because it shows how simply engaging the right individual can give you a standout piece in an area where oversaturation is high.
This is a tactic that anyone can use for their content. The key is to find the right individual for your interview. Here, the founder of T.G.I. Friday’s discusses how the restaurant revolutionized the American happy hour, creating the atmosphere of a cocktail party in a public space. Rich in historic pictures, this piece is an engaging read that emphasizes the power of a good discussion with the right person. Press writing examples like this demonstrate how having the right questions and a solid topic can be the key to success with a piece where the author does very little actual writing.
There are roughly 1.6 million ants for every human being on earth. This piece combines intrigue, humor, and a little horror to draw you into the world of these tiny creatures. You’ll discover why the author is “A person who has had ants in his underwear,” and learn that ants in one’s water bottle “felt like iron filings and they tasted like aspirin.” This siege story explores the Argentine ant and how it’s nearly impossible to eradicate from one’s home. Living through the saga of the writer, you experience the creepy-crawly realities of coexisting with this species.
Learning about ants has never been so fascinating. And while some of the anecdotes are sure to give you a shudder, they’ll also keep you reading. This is a prime example of how evoking any strong emotion — positive or negative — will enhance your press writing. Make your reader feel, regardless of which way they emote on the issue, and you’ll keep them hooked.
Battle oversaturation with deep, immersive writing that goes beyond the Tweet or Facebook post. Travel deeper into your topics and bring them to life in fresh new ways for content that will engage your readers, even in a world where it may seem that it’s all been done.