You’ll likely know what makes a “classic” white paper: at least five pages of narrative text that delivers useful information about a business issue or technical problem, not a sales pitch.
By now, you should know the drill: brochures may describe features and benefits, but if you’re going to create any traction with your ebook or white paper, you must focus on ideas and insights of value to your audience.
Why do so many freelance writers fail while many who face even greater obstacles succeed? Is it natural talent? Is it hard work? Is it sheer persistence?
One of the primary maxims of writing sales copy is: “Know Your Customer.” However, that particular pearl of wisdom sometimes gets ignored in white papers. Why?
The recession has caused all of us to take a closer look at our expenditures and find new ways to stretch our existing dollars. Businesses are certainly taking the same approach with their marketing budgets, which is having a corresponding impact on white paper marketing.
Comedians know it. Politicians know it. And white paper writers must know it, too: The first key to success is to understand your audience.
In addition to a higher unemployment rate, another by-product of the recession has been its impact on the size of the commercial white paper. As companies scale back their marketing budgets during recessionary periods, marketing expenditures are being carefully scrutinized, renegotiated and reduced if possible. The result of these cost-containment initiatives has been an explosion […]
Ideally you create one white paper for every segment of an audience. But what if you can’t swing that? What if, for some reason—time, money, or whatever—you need to reach more than one audience with the same white paper? In a previous article, I described how to “clone” one basic document for various segments of […]
Our relationship with printed material is on the decline. Today, the preponderance of material that we rely on to inform us, educate us, and assist us with our daily decisions comes from online sources. White papers certainly fall into this category. Given the decline in printed information, why do white papers remain so popular?
We’ve all seen them: technical papers, websites and brochures that launch into lengthy descriptions of exotic technologies without telling you what they’re for or why we should care. Such documents make great bedtime reading, but they’re not so good at persuading readers to take action—anything but!
There’s an old saying: “A verbal agreement isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on.” Nailing down a contract for a writing project can guarantee smooth sailing, but is it really necessary?
Some people are tempted to call anything they do a white paper. There’s no law against that, but be careful! The term “white paper” carries expectations. If you use it carelessly, you will disappoint your prospects.
For most writers accustomed to creating large volumes of text, cramming information into the 140-character limit of Twitter can be a challenging exercise. Nonetheless, white paper writers are becoming increasingly aware of the power of Twitter and how it can be used to promote a white paper, gain widespread visibility, and more importantly, increase the number of leads and business prospects.
Great writers obsess over their words, and who can blame them? Words create the messages that make readers buy. But it’s a mistake to ignore potent graphic elements such as illustrations, charts, photos and subheads. They’re powerful weapons that pack punch into your prose. Let’s start with a question: Why use graphics?
It happens to everyone—that point when the words for this particular white paper just won’t come. Of course, the more frustrated (or frightened, or angry) you get about the situation, the worse it becomes. So, how do you move forward?
With competition so tough these days, you’ve got to seize every opportunity to craft content that will compel your readers to buy. But when writing to persuade, if you begin with your own product or service in mind, you’ve started wrong.
On the hit TV show “The Apprentice,” contestants slog through a harsh application process for an apprenticeship with Donald Trump, hoping they don’t hear Trump growl those dreaded words: “You’re fired!” For the 100 people who vied for an apprenticeship with white-paper guru Michael Stelzner, the application process was cordial yet demanding. Stelzner selected Apryl Parcher as the winner.
Like white papers, customer case studies have seen their stock rise in recent years—especially as buyers become increasingly more skeptical. Here are the 5 nuts and bolts of case studies that truly sell…
Most white paper readers want content directed right to them. But what if you have two or three different audiences in different roles or sectors? How can you engage them all?Of course, you can write a separate white paper for each audience. But what if your company or client can’t afford that?
How do you launch a successful freelance writing career? Where do you start? Should you approach it differently today, considering the economy?
As a society, most of us have been skeptical about one issue or another at some point in time (that probability is dramatically increased if you live in Manhattan). Often, business executives think that no-one except their own employees can create a good white paper.
You’re working on an important white paper project and it’s time to interview a subject-matter expert. You not only need to get a lot of information from the interview, it has to be the right stuff. What’s the best way to do an interview to get everything you need?
How long can a company use the same white paper? As long as it works, really. Learn how to keep an older paper up to date.
Have you seen any of the commercials for the Dyson vacuum cleaner? In these segments, founder James Dyson demonstrates the unique properties of their Root Cyclone technology and why it is a better path to a cleaner carpet. So in these commercials, is James Dyson educating you or selling you a vacuum cleaner?
You know the value of networking. But if the same old methods have grown tiresome—and if they’re not as effective as they used to be—you might want to try a different way of getting the word out.
White papers have been with us for a long time. But innovations in printing and distribution—and even in the way we conceive white paper content—have dramatically changed the game. Let’s take a look at the ways you can bring color to the white paper and multiply the impact of your efforts.
Do you use white papers in your marketing? Are you happy about the new business they help attract? Here are three main reasons your lead generating white papers aren’t working…
Too many people believe they can boost their productivity simply by managing their time more effectively. And it’s true that the disciplined use of time management tools can help most people in most circumstances. However, if you don’t address your poor work habits before applying a new time management system, it’s like putting your foot on the accelerator with the emergency brake still engaged.
If you needed evidence that white papers have finally attained the status of a mainstream communications vehicle, there is no better example than their impact in the 2008 presidential primaries and fall political campaign.
Are there really any standards for white papers?
You’ve got a lot of information to present in your white paper, but exactly how long should the paper be? Will 5 pages be enough? Will 15 be too many? We asked some expert white paper writers for their opinions on the ideal length for white papers.
Every white paper needs at least one effective graphic to help anchor its argument in the reader’s mind. The problem: Not every white paper has a budget for custom graphics. Here are two cost-effective tools that can really help out, one for business graphics, and the other for stock photography.
You craft a direct mail campaign with an information product offer. Maybe it’s a white paper you wrote on a topic related to your area of specialty. You mail 200 letters and receive 7 downloads. But when you follow up with these respondents, you keep getting voicemail.
In the near future, we’ll not only read white papers, we’ll listen to them as well. A brand-new trend is slowly moving onto the marketing scene: Embedding audio clips into PDF files. As readers move through the paper, they can listen to audio, providing a human touch.
In written communication, there are a few things that can maximize the reader’s response to your message. The first and most important element that can turn a white paper, website, sales letter or advertisement into an action-generating mechanism is the headline.