In journalism, the lead is the most important aspect of the story. It can make a break a story. The lead is what gets the readers' attention to read the rest of the story. However, there is a lead for every type of story you write. Say for instance you write a hard news story, you would use a summary lead and for a feature story you would use a feature lead aka "soft/delayed lead". So what's the difference????
• Also called delayed leads.
• Can be several paragraphs long.
• Takes a little longer to get to the gist of the story.
• Teases the reader with a descriptive or storytelling approach.
• Requires use of a nut graph early in the story to give reader the point of the story.
• Different types: descriptive, anecdotal, narrative, mystery, teaser, question
Feature Lead tips and Example:
Bring it to life with human interest
Give startling statistics
In 1989, Elizabeth McCann of Spring, Texas, felt a knot in her left breast. Her physician told her that she needed a biopsy, but was 99 percent sure it would be benign. McCann kept putting it off — until the pain in her breast woke her up at night. …
— ContourMed backgrounder
A startling statistic can set up your story beautifully:
Every day, each of the 25,000 U.S. veterinary clinics will get, on average, a visit from two arthritic dogs. Odds are, one of those dogs will leave the clinic untreated, still suffering in silent pain.
More than 10 million dogs (that's one in five adult dogs) suffer from osteoarthritis …
— Novartis Animal Health's Deramaxx release