The secrets to a successful web story

35 web stories later and it’s time to reveal my writing secrets

One of the secret strategies to marketing The Talon is placing them in students’ lockers on distribution day.

One of the secret strategies to marketing The Talon is placing them in students’ lockers on distribution day.

Samantha Roghaar, Ads Manager

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Often people ask me what it’s like to be a writer for The Talon. While it’s no easy task, I’ve genuinely loved getting to write unique stories every month for the print and web editions. When writing for The Talon, the subjects for articles are endless but choosing a story idea can be the hardest part of the process. The first secret I’ll reveal is how I come up with my story ideas. Typically, I try to think about the time of the year and what is going on at our school or in the community. I like picking topics that are relevant rather than random. For example, at the beginning of this year I wrote a homecoming survival guide web story because it was right around the time of homecoming and anyone can go to homecoming. However, if coming up with a relevant story idea is too challenging, then go the random route! When I couldn’t come up with a story idea, I enjoyed remaking my brother’s “6 facts about goats” article into “6 facts about llamas”.

Once story ideas are chosen, I like to come up with my headline and deck. My next secret is that the best headlines are the ones that make use of alliteration or a pun to grab the reader’s attention. Stories with boring or generic headlines will be overlooked which is why it’s very important to spend a few minutes thinking of a creative title. The deck also plays a key part in the article because it gives readers a preview of the story and after reading it, readers will decide if they actually want to read the whole piece. One of my favorite headlines and decks was from my academic team article titled “The Ashwinners” with “a recap of East Lake’s most competitive sports team’s home competition” as the deck.

Finally, the last secret to my stories is trying to include as many students as possible. Whether this is through quotes, interviews, or the pictures, I know students loved being featured in The Talon. All together these elements have allowed me to survive being in newspaper class and writing articles these past two years. It has been a honor writing for The Talon and I wish the best of luck to its writers to come.

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