Sunday, October 15, 2006

Writing a White Paper? Read The Following Book

Perhaps you're looking to position your business as the industry expert or convince C-level executives that you understand their business issues and can provide solutions they need. Whichever the case, creating a white paper will help your organization generate new leads and help close out sales. The next question is - How do I create a white paper? You may think it's quite easy but when you sit down and you're in front of your monitor with your Starbucks grande latte you realize that writing a white paper is a tremendous task.

Writing a White Paper - Where do I Start?

After reading Michael Stelzner's new book "Writing White Papers: How to Capture Readers and Keep Them Engaged" I would highly recommend that you start with this book. Michael is one of the leading authorities on the topic of writing and marketing white papers and has written a simple easy to read book on the topic. Why should I have any idea on this subject? I provide advice to my clients on a daily basis on how to improve their online marketing tactics so I know a bit about white papers and lead generation. I also have a writing background with a Masters' in history (I know history! Thank goodness I went back to school in technology!).

Why "Writing White Papers"

Why did I like this book? Michael clearly lays out what the purpose of white papers are, what you should be trying to achieve, how to research your given topic, how to structure your white paper, what to avoid (really important!) and how to market your white paper once you have completed your masterpiece.

Some of the specific items that I liked were:
  • Great tips such as interviewing subject matter experts for your white paper as well as some excellent marketing ideas such as strategies in displaying your white papers on your website. For example: Provide quotations on what people thought about your white paper.
  • Excellent research resources at the end of the book
  • Clearly laid out plan on how to write white papers. Michael even discusses the setting and frame of mind you want to be in when starting to write a white paper. All he needs to do is write the white paper for you (which I'm sure he would gladly do for a cost!)
While I found the book a bit repetitive, this was effective in reinforcing the key points of the book. Michael also recommended that when someone fills out a form to download a white paper, you should delay the sending of the white paper for 30 minutes. I'm not sure I would recommend that as typically web visitors expect things right away and may not want to wait around for this.
However, this is something that you may want to test out for yourself.

After reading this book (which only took me about 3 hours to plow through) I was even inspired to think about a white paper that would be specific to blogs. Michael believes that white papers really should be without humour and personality but blogs as we know are much different and are all about being informal. How about something called a "Blog Paper"? :)

Any other good books that you've read to help generate leads for your business? I wish you all the success at this!

Chad H.

1 comment:

Michael Stelzner said...

Chad - Thanks much for your review of my book. All my best! - Mike Stelzner

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