A new “feature” storytelling method

I am working with Lee University Student Media on a new type of “feature story” that I think is pretty compelling. But it’s not a feature story. But it is a feature story. Or it’s a feature and a whole lot more!

Student media advisers (or just content producers in general), you might find this interesting!

We thought, what if we took one freshman and let them tell their story during the semester? We could just write a traditional feature story about a freshman – but that is so directional and legacy form really (and we do those – sure! They are bread and butter. We want marmalade on miche). Our new idea is that we would create really a non-traditional feature effort that integrates several forms into one narrative campaign.

What does this look like? So far we’ve written a profile feature/humans of NY type piece on Laura, our subject, and she has posted her first introductory “vlog“. Next, we are going to send a film crew with her to a worship concert on campus and then get her take on that experience through a semi-produced/semi-vloggy piece. Before and after that we will have her vlog on freshman issues – so really, the cornerstone of this will be her personal vlog about freshman issues. We have also created a hashtag for the campaign to give it continuity, and so that we can continue the effort with a new student next year.

The hashtag for the campaign (#FreshLee) gives continuity to the campaign and allows us to continue the effort with a new student next year. We will likely create a contest next year, and have access to bands and possibly gift cards or other incentives to offer as rewards for involvement. This will create a new stream of involvement/engagement as well.

The real key to this form is integrating user-generated content and owned content. The user-generated content does so many things. First, it gives us more content! Then, it creates a relationship with the reader – well, a parasocial relationship with most of them, but a relationship none-the-less. In this age of students saying that a youtuber is their “best friend” and what-not, the parasocial relationship is a real and powerful thing. Beyond that, mixing user-generated content with owned content gives a sense of authenticity to the owned content. Also, the user-generated content allows followers to “experience” things with the vlogging student.

This new “feature” is loosely based off of the Clean & Clear “See the Real Me” campaign – they have some great insights in their behind the scenes videos on youtube. While we are not trying to market anything, we do want to create a relationship with our readership and we want to create new and compelling content that our readership relates to.

I’m very excited about this new, non-traditional “feature” piece that integrates traditional content with user-generated content with opinion content with narrative content through written and video and photographic media across social and traditional platforms!

What fun!!! And Laura is awesome! Her story is truly compelling. Maybe we’ll start a new feature news form!

#FreshLee #LeeClarion #LeeStudent Media #everyonehasastory


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