You? Write a White Paper?
A long, boring treatise that lands like a thud when you plop it on your desk? A thick report stuffed with pie charts, bar charts, graphs and industry lingo?
Just the sound of it can trigger nightmares about your days writing high school term papers.
Why would you want to write one of THOSE?
You wouldn’t. But here are three reasons why you’d want spend a day or two cranking out a short, well-written White Paper that the media will gobble up:
—It’s a powerful way to generate publicity, particularly for a new product.
—You can offer a White Paper as a free download. This is a sneaky tactic if you want to make money from your TV talk show appearance by pulling viewers to your website. You can’t just say “go to my website.” But you can tell them to go to your website and download a free White Paper on a topic they’re passionate about.
—Hounds who are job-hunting can use a White Paper to get through the door at companies where they’re dying to work.
A White Paper is your company’s statement about how a problem should be solved. So if you sell any kind of complex or technical product or service, or if you have an elegant solution to a challenging problem, a well-written, well-publicized White Paper can be a key link in your sales, marketing and public relations strategy.
In the old days, experts spent months writing big, thick White Papers to promote their expertise. But more and more media people say they don’t take the time to read White Papers longer than about seven pages. And more people who write them primarily as sales and publicity magents are strapped for time.
Here’s how it works. You pick a topic, preferably a problem that people in your target audience are experiencing, then you offer information on how to solve it.
Perry Marshall, a former engineer who has written dozens of short White Papers, says there’s a good reason to offer problem-solving information instead of a straight sales pitch.
“Because nobody who bought a drill ever wanted a drill,” he said. “They wanted a hole. Therefore, if you sell drills, you should advertise information about making holes, not about drills.”
If you want to, you can interview industry executives about your topic and quote them in the White Paper, then return to their companies again to hand-deliver the paper in which they are quoted. Who knows? A few months later, you might be returning for a job interview.
Perry, one of my coaches, has an excellent 5-day email course on how to publish and publicize White Papers, and it’s free.
When you write your White Paper and it’s ready for the media, you can write a press release about it highlighting your key findings, then include a link within the release where people can download the report.