Learning how to write materials handling articles that are well-written to effectively attract warm leads in your target market is not easy. The following 10 tips will help:
How to write materials handling articles: 10 Tips:
1. Word count: The number of words in one article/blog should fall in the range of 500-750 for short pieces and 1000 to 1500 words for longer pieces. These are general rules. Write longer if the topic merits it and the information flows naturally. Long posts do well if their content is segmented with subheads (titles that break up the text) or easy-to-follow bullet points. You can also use list formats to make them bite sized. The reality is, most online readers will not read more than 10 to 15 paragraphs in a session.
For SEO, longer posts do well if they cover a topic comprehensively.
2. Write compelling, yet descriptive headlines and subheads: Writers often get too creative with the headline of their piece. Good titles should: 1) Compel a reader to read the piece, 2) Briefly describe what the article is about, and 3) Support search engine optimization efforts. A site that does that well is warehouseiq.com which provides warehouse and forklift resources techniques and training. It also provide useful resources such as forklift manuals.
Google looks for search keywords in headlines and gives them weight. If your article is about superior racking designs for warehouse optimization then the headline should read something like “How to optimize your warehouse using rack designs you haven’t considered”, and not “Rack-o-rama!”.
3. Be concise and descriptive: Be concise with your language. Explain everything, but the absolute basics. (No need to explain what a “lift truck” is, but you should explain what “cantilever rack” is.) Write for people who have just come to the business. Don’t assume your audience is full of experts. Even seasoned professionals will forgive you for over-simplification.
A clear concise article will reinforce what they already know, as well as introduce new information and ideas. And that gives value to all readers regardless of their level of expertise. A good rule of thumb is to write for a Grade 9 level of knowledge and understanding.
4. Avoid buzzwords: Marketers are notorious for inventing words or concepts that don’t serve the reader. A great example: “WarehousXPro9 is a forklift management solution” versus the more accurate “WarehousXPro9 is a forklift management web-based software package”.
What’s a solution? It’s the answer to a problem. That is a great message to convey in sales copy. However, it’s an over-used term and has become cliché. If you say something is a “solution” and don’t explain what it is, the reader can’t visualize it.
Better yet to say: “WarehousXPro9 is a sophisticated, yet easy to use software product.” You would go on to say: It is installed on a company’s server and can be accessed by any web-enabled device. Warehouse professionals can use a tablet or smartphone to access a series of visual dashboards that show data about a warehouse and allows them to manage the operation more efficiently.“
Bottom line here: If in doubt say more. Don’t be afraid to explain a concept so you leave the reader with a greater understanding of what’s being said.
5. Get to the point early: Don’t waste your time with long and winding introductions. If you are introducing a topic in a creative way connect it to the key point you are trying to make in the article quickly. If you go on too long you risk losing your reader.
A good introductory paragraph (in journalism it is a called a “lead”) can be an effective tool to engage the reader. It’s an on-ramp to the central point of the piece not a country road that gets you there eventually.
If you are not hitting the focus of your article by paragraph 3 or so, re-work the piece.
6. Don’t be“salesy”: It’s okay to plug your company but do it discreetly. If you write too much about why your company is great and why your products are awesome your reader will be put off. They may feel clubbed over the head. No one likes to be sold to.
Serve the reader first. The article should leave them feeling that they got value for taking the time to read what you had to say and they will come back for more the next time.
7. Demonstrate, don’t tell: Show the reader why something is true. Don’t tell them. Why would they believe the latest lift truck is “amazing”, just because you say so? Describe the new lift truck and its features and benefits, and let them draw their own conclusions.
8. Write with intention: Ask yourself the questions: Why would someone read this article/blog? Are you engaging with your intended audience? Is what you’re writing informative and helpful? Is your writing in line with the long-term strategy that expresses that you and your brand are topic experts?
People buy from experts, not sales people. Actually, they buy from experts that sell. Why? Because experts are trustworthy, helpful and useful.
9. Do more of what works, and less of what doesn’t: Writing content for a brand is strategic. It is about gaining a following, earning trust and respect and driving sales for your company as a byproduct.
How do you know if you are doing that? Measure engagement and outcomes. How many people read your articles? Which ones did well? Which ones didn’t?
If an article gets good traction and is well read (we use web analytics tools to track and understand this) write similar pieces in future because clearly there is a demand for the content. Use the free tools at http://google.com/analytics.
10. Take yourself out of the equation: Don’t write what you want to write. Write for your audience first and then bring it back to what you want to write about, or have the expertise in. Provide value to the reader. Put yourself in their shoes and ask why would I read this article or blog post?