Why are Feature Articles so valuable to you and to the industry?
Firstly they get a read rate of 6 to 8 times higher than normal articles.
Secondly, information and ideas are intrinsic to good business planning and industry growth.
15 years ago when I started with Forkliftaction I was Research Manager and spent 18 months looking for articles on the Forklift industry. I found two. Both were written by the CIA and both were focussed on the forklift capabilities of South American countries. There was very little in the information base and certainly no unbiased, industry wide, analysis that could be considered as a resource for planning and growth. We have now done more than 170 features analysing different sectors of our industry. They are not only News, but a resource for the industry (a contribution to the future for planning and growth and a contribution to history as a record of change).
Our features work very different than our news.
The Forkliftaction News is published weekly, on Thursdays, and we are proud to say that the News is independent and mostly original.
The difference between FLA and other trade publications is not really a cultural one. It is a very profound strategic one. Most, if not all trade publications now have one editor and sometimes also a (part time or freelance) journalist on their books. The content of their magazines consist mainly of advertorials supplied or co-written by advertisers.
These magazines risk losing credibility with their readers and therefore they are very keen on any stories that look informative enough.
To give us longevity, a long career in the industry built upon solid blocks of credibility, authority and loyalty from our readers we invest in our journalists. Currently we have 4 journalists working for us as well as 1 Editor. They have the task to stay in contact with the players in the industry and develop stories from media releases, interviews and news leads through anonymous or open contacts. Our 10-15 news articles every week are written by our team and are kept informative and neutral.
The news team works completely independently from the marketing team. No advertisers have input in the news we publish.
And all advertorials are paid content and published in a separate column which is clearly headed as ‘ANNOUNCEMENTS’.
In the early years, every month we used to look into the economical, technological and financial trends in a specific industry sector in materials handling. Our readers liked reading these features and they were very successful.
However, the voluntary input from the players in these sectors was always enormous, every player very keen to have their name and expertise included in these articles. They all sent volumes of content/ideas/findings, mostly focused on their own products.
The burden was on our journalists to spend long hours in organizing the contributions, finding a relevant and interesting story line (and weeding out the “spin”).
The features became very time intensive (read expensive). Some of the keen contributors had never advertised with us but wisely realized the value of being read in our news reports for their business marketing.
In 2012, we changed the formula to weed out the “spin” and keep them informative. The experts and participants in these articles are now also sponsors of them. Sponsors have to have expertise in the selected topic to be able to contribute to the editorial content. Other sponsors don’t have input in the article but their name listed at the end of it as one of the sponsors). In return for their sponsorship we give the sponsor an additional presence in the Feature Edition in the ANNOUNCEMENTS column.
The sponsors still do not have any power to influence the reporting (which remains independent) but they do have the opportunity to tell their story. The sponsors therefore allow our journalists to spend more time in making these articles more interesting. Without sponsors …well…in the end, Forkliftaction needs to make a living.
PS: See all 170+ Features at this link