Five Simple Ideas for…Copy Writing

Written by Janean Oberlander

There are many ways to tell a story, but to entice readers to linger over the yearbook copy, the best writers follow basic story-telling rules. Most of those rules revolve around the stories of the people in the school. The events may not change year to year, but the people do, and how they participate in and react to those events makes each year unique. Consider these basic points of copy writing to tell the story of those people.

1. As much as possible, write all copy as a feature story.

  • Write the story in the past tense. When students read it, it will be in the past.
  • Consider using sidebars or infoboxes for the facts of the event to keep them from impeding the flow of the story.

2. Write how students were affected by the event.

  • Do not just report the event.
  • Look for the side of the story no one knows.

3. before writing, research your subject.

  • Gather facts. Find several sources to make sure you are getting facts and not opinions.
  • Conduct interviews. Interview several people to get all angles of the story.

4. After you have researched your subject and completed your interviewing, read over your data to find your focal point or key thought.

  • Write an outline of your story.
  • Arrange your facts so they give emphasis to the focal point.

5. Try to capture the immediacy and emotion of a story.

  • Write the story as close to the time of the event as possible.
  • Write copy that contains both facts and student opinions and reactions.
Janean Oberlander