Archive for Writing Great White Papers

How to Create a White Paper:
Get Found Online and Grow Readership

White-paper-digital-assetsIf you want to grow your reader base, that is, if you want to get found and get known online, small businesses and entrepreneurs will offer prospects and clients online information for free, such as a white paper, a report or a compelling article. This is part of the CAST acronym for ways to grow readership.

CAST Your Net: A is for Assets

I’ve been blogging about ways to grow your reader base using this memory device:

Social Media

I’m referring to digital assets, or content that is offered as a service to your readers. Your assets should range from free to fee: Read More→

Is Your White Paper a Sales Pitch in Disguise?

I asked Lauren Carlson to share with you here some important perspectives on content marketing. It doesn’t matter what you call your information (white paper/eBook, microsite/landing page), what matters is using information wisely to get found, get known and get clients.

Is Your White Paper a Sales Pitch in Disguise?
Guest Post by Lauren Carlson,

When was the last time you read a white paper that added real value to your research process? I’m racking my brain and finding it quite difficult to come up with any good examples.

More often than not, today’s white papers are really just masked sales pitches, too long to keep the attention of today’s buyer. They aren’t engaging the customer and are therefore not serving much of a purpose. So, now what?

It’s time for companies to turn to 2.0 technologies to reach the 2.0 buyer. Twitter is extremely powerful for reaching audiences and building relationships. Advances in graphic design and technology leave no excuse for not having vibrant, captivating content.

There is even software that makes it easy to create, manage and track buyer activity on your site so that you know the kind of information your potential customers want.

With all of these advancements for content marketing, it’s about time we shred the white paper. Marketing Automation Software Guide (MASG) posted an article on this topic. Below is a summary.

Introducing the new buyer Read More→

Blog Writing Tips for Business Clarity

Good business writing should be like a good butler: working smoothly in the service of the reader without calling attention to itself.

This means that you avoid language that sounds impressive. This weekend I was reviewing some books on business writing, including Harvard Business Review’s Guide to Better Business Writing.

Although these tips are designed for business professionals who write reports,  proposals, presentations and memos, they are totally applicable to blog writing.

There is no better way to approach business and blog writing tasks than to keep in mind three realities:

  1. Business readers are content driven
  2. Readers are pressed for time
  3. Readers are seeking out solutions

There is a confusing amount of contradictory advice about how to compose a business report:

  • Writing should be clear – but it should also “sound good”
  • Information should be simple and straightforward – yet cleverly composed to stand out
  • Get to the bottom line quickly – but don’t leave out background details

Use your words to carry information, ideas and build relationships with readers by speaking their language. Go easy on the jargon and cliches.

How you organize your content is important. Your readers will be drawn into reading your words when they are logically presented to flow in a way that makes sense.

Readers decide whether or not to read your post or report based on the first few sentences. You need to grab their attention immediately, and create a desire to know more.

The number one question readers are asking when they glance at material is this: “Why am I reading this? What’s in this for me? Why should I care?”

Not to be harsh, but they don’t care about you. The introductory paragraph needs to quickly establish the relevancy and utility of the document to readers.

An effective introduction briskly tells a story built around four elements:

  1. The situation: A quick factual sketch of the current business situation that serves to anchor the reader.
  2. The complication: A problem that unsettles the situation in the story you’re telling. It’s why you’re writing the memo or report. Read More→

White Papers: A Key Piece of Your Content Marketing,
Especially Offline

Notebook I'm working on a white paper for one of my long term clients. I had a flash back: it reminded me of my first journalism assignment when I was a cub reporter for the San Diego Union Tribune. That was 50 years ago! I feel like I've come full circle back to my first job and first love: writing about people.

If you don't have a white paper you can use for your marketing, think about doing this. My client has plenty of web pages up and does a superb e-newsletter (I know this because I help him with his!)

But as he says, "My clients are CEOs and high-level directors of companies. They don't spend much time online. I need something tangible, printed, that I can leave behind after a meeting, or send to them before."

Read More→

Recession-proof Your Business: Listen to What the Experts Do

(Please note: the following blog post is a promotional announcement about our January 09 CD sale. The CDs are offered at a 61% discount. The sale ends when supplies end, or when February comes around…)

"Every single money-sucking business problem you have is going to be resolved, one way or the other."

what I heard the other day, and it's true. Whatever your problems, with
your business or your blog, things either solve themselves…or you
aren't in business any more!

No business, no problem! I know, that's rather grim, but maybe you could use a little help so this doesn't happen…

Do what smart professionals do:  Get immediate
professional advice and learn what you need to do differently:

  • Get a healthy Reality Check on your situation…
  • Fix the profit-leaks in your business, for your blog and all your content marketing efforts…
  • Learn how the smart pros like Tom Antion, Joan Stewart and The Blog
    Squad are still reeling in leads and converting them to customers…
  • And quickly get busy making your business work like crazy

Read More→

Content Marketing for Consultants: How Michael got more business than he can handle

Special_report Many of the professionals I work with providing newsletter services ( are highly educated consultants and executive coaches who make their living by delivering information, coaching and training services to others in organizations.

In other words, they’re independent service professionals who are hired by businesses to create great results: like my friend Michael who markets his business writing services to corporations. In 2003, Mike had a problem because of the economy at that time. Businesses were pulling in the reins on hiring outside consultants. Remind you of anything?

If this kind of story sounds familiar to you, read on. I want you to go look at a video where Mike tells his story of how he turned an economic downturn into more business than he could handle.

I often ask consultants, "Besides your newsletter, what other ways do you market yourself and get clients?" Nine out of ten rely on word of mouth referrals from past clients and colleagues. Only a few are regularly using email, blogs or social networking methods for getting known and getting leads.

My suggestion?

Read More→

Wishy-Washy Writing: Just delete these 5 words

This is worth reading and not just because it echoes my thoughts every time I read someone’s blog writing that’s too wishy-washy: 5 Words You Can Cut Out, from the Daily Writing Tip:

  1. just
  2. really
  3. quite
  4. perhaps
  5. that

I have to add two:

  1. maybe
  2. very

Every time you re-read your writing, be on the look-out for these wishy-washy offenders and make your writing stronger, better.

What’s the Greatest Online Marketing Challenge?

The Great Internet Challenge:
How to Get Your Business Found on the Web
by The Blog Squad(tm), Patsi Krakoff, Psy.D. and Denise Wakeman. Go here to register to get the full report (no fee) with our compliments.

Flow for Your Landing Pages

Even if you’re not writing a white paper for your business, you can use Stelzner’s white paper writing tips for your sales pages, persuasive copy and advertorials. It makes your writing flow. (You’ll need to read ’til the end to get a $10 coupon off Michael’s white paper CD…)

I just got off the phone with a client in our mentor group. Karma Kitaj is a life coach with 30 years experience helping people achieve happiness and success as a psychotherapist. Like many solo professionals, she’s bright, educated and experienced at what she does. But as a copywriter, well, let’s just say she’s in the early learning stages!

I reviewed her landing page for her life coaching business and used Michael Stelzner’s white paper writing tips to improve the flow of the copy. Here’s what I suggested:

  1. Attention-grabbing headline (to be written after the copy is finished)
  2. The Pain – what is the problem readers have? This needs to be written with strong emotions
  3. The Generic Solution – how this was handled this in the past and why this isn’t working anymore
  4. The New Solution – What is life coaching and how do you know if you’re ready for it?
  5. What to look for in picking a life coach – 10 tips
  6. The specific solution – Who she is and why she is qualified to coach life issues
  7. An example of a life coaching client and the results obtained
  8. Call to action – next steps on how to find out more about Karma and her services

Read More→

White Paper Success with Michael Stelzner

Some experts just know how to deliver a quality seminar. Michael Stelzner gets a standing ovation for his live event in San Diego yesterday. He really knows white papers, and hardly stopped for air. He delivered non-stop, valuable information interspersed with exercises and still had plenty of time for audience questions.

I have to admit I don’t always like going to live seminars, especially the ones with loud rock music and excessive group activities. I’m there to learn, not to chit-chat…and I love rock, just not in a seminar setting. Michael used classical music. And the food was delicious too.

Many of the participants were writers and eager to learn. And for good reason. Some are charged with writing their company’s white papers. Others, freelancers, were eager to become proficient because white paper writers earn high fees.

A white paper can cost from $1000 to $6000, depending on the experience of the writer…(a good reason to gain experience, I’d say.) I’m working on our 2nd white paper now and can hardly wait to "bill" Denise $6000! (Well, since it’s our 2nd one…)

During the event, we wrote an outline for a white paper of our own. I did one for Customized Newsletter Services, and just need to fill in the important parts. Here’s Michael’s suggested outline for

Read More→