8 reasons to hire a white paper writer who knows your industry
Some say the best white paper writers are generalists who can write about any topic under the sun.
They’ll say they can sift through what’s important and what’s not and explain things in a reader-friendly way.
That White Paper Guy (Gordon Graham) is a generalist who has written on dozens of topics. But someone with his breadth of experience is rare.
As more businesses use white papers, these documents are becoming more sophisticated.
This is why you should consider hiring a white paper writer with relevant industry experience.
Now, this may seem self-serving because it describes me to a T.
You see, I’m a CPA who specializes in B2B content for accountants and those who serve accountants.
I only write about accounting. That’s it.
But in the four years I’ve been at it, I’ve come to understand there are very good justifications for why clients seek me out.
Here are 8 reasons to hire a writer with experience in your field.
Reason #1: Experts speak the language of your audience
I spent 15 years working as an accountant. I take the same continuing education classes, I read the same trade journals, and I go to the same conferences as my clients.
I’m comfortable with the industry jargon and acronyms, and I know how to use them correctly. I understand the mindset of accountants and how they think.
When accountants read my work, they feel like I’m speaking directly to them.
Reason #2: Experts understand your target market
I don’t have to spend time trying to understand the 30,000-foot view of what accountants care about.
I already understand the different sub-specialties within accounting so I can gauge the level of familiarity your target market likely has with your topic.
And because I’m not in the trenches with my head down, buried in the day-to-day work of being an accountant, I’m fully aware of the technological changes on the horizon that accountants need to learn about before it’s too late.
Reason #3: Experts don’t need any hand-holding
Say you want me to write a white paper about lease accounting. I already know the basics, and I know where to find the authoritative sources for the finer details.
I can read those highly technical resources and pull out what your audience needs to know. You can give me a one-sentence topic, and I can flesh out an outline from there.
And, because I’m connected to lots of accountants, I might be able to find the perfect SME whose insights will add extra credibility.
Reason #4: Experts do more insightful interviews with SMEs
Because I have first-hand experience as an accountant, I develop an instant rapport with the SMEs I interview.
They don’t have to worry about getting too technical, or that I’ll get lost in tech-speak. They don’t have to spend precious time getting me up to speed on the topic.
We can dive right into the meat of the interview. I can ask better questions which means I get the quotes and comments that add zing to your white paper.
Reason #5: Experts don’t make embarrassing gaffes
One recent project of mine was re-writing a blog post about accounting that had been written by a non-accountant.
The original post was so full of errors they had to take it offline after the Twittersphere of CPAs erupted in ridicule.
That won’t happen when you hire someone who knows your industry.
Reason #6: Experts have ideas for white paper topics
I spend my days reading and writing about accounting, so I can easily spout off ideas for your white paper.
If you have a few ideas already, I can tell you which ones will likely resonate the most, or which could be tweaked into a unique take on a familiar topic.
For more on hiring writers, read our article: How to hire a white paper writer
Reason #7: Experts can create better, more useful content
I have my finger on the pulse of what accountants are thinking about today and what they need to be thinking about to be ready for the future.
When your white paper comes out, readers will think I’ve read their mind.
One of my clients—who’s also a CPA—says he gets chills from reading my writing, because my assessment of what the future of our profession will be like resonates so well with him.
Reason #8: Experts know more than just the topic of a single white paper
I live and breathe accounting and I do wide-ranging research.
I can connect the dots between what’s relevant to your white paper and what’s going on in the rest of the world of accounting and beyond. I can add details that add texture and credibility to your white paper.
Those extra bits of information make for a stronger argument in favor of your solution. And a strong argument to hire an expert in your field to write about your field.
Want to learn more about writing white papers? Pick up a copy of Gordon Graham’s book, White Papers for Dummies. With dozens of tips and best practices for planning, producing, and promoting effective white papers, it’s the most comprehensive guide to white papers ever published.
Now for the bad news
Now that I’ve convinced you that your next white paper needs to be written by an industry insider, let me break the bad news to you.
It’s rare to find industry experts who are also skilled writers. Industry experts who can write and who understand marketing are especially rare. They can be hard to find and they’re often highly in demand.
If you can find one, it might be a month or two (or even more) before they can fit you into their schedule. You won’t get a draft two weeks from today.
Because they’re in demand, they’ll charge more than the freelancers on Upwork. Sometimes a LOT more.
But if you can find a good one, and develop a great relationship with that writer, you have the potential to develop true cornerstone content that will produce results for a long time to come.
Isn’t that worth the investment?
What do you think? Would you sooner work with a writer who already knows your industry—or one who’s learning about it for the first time? Do you struggle to find industry experts? Please leave your comment below.
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I couldn’t agree more, Liz! Like you, I specialize in B2B writing in financial services, including accounting. I’ve written in this niche for over 30 years. Any client who hires a non-expert for this kind of writing will be disappointed — I can guarantee it!
I’ve seen the results when a non-financial person tries to write about accounting. It’s painful to read.
Every point you made, Liz, is absolutely true! I’m a writer, but I wouldn’t know the first thing about asking the correct questions or ‘speaking the language’ of accounting.
I speak ‘school bus’ and ‘transportation technology’. Why? Because I drove one!
Which is exactly why you can write white papers about accounting, and if I attempted that type of writing, the paper would be ridiculed on the Twittersphere!
Thanks Debbie. I’m glad to hear that there’s another writer using her professional experience in writing. I’ll let you write the pieces about transportation and school buses!
A compelling argument to stay in your lane!
Interesting article, Liz. I am recently retired from 30 years in the financial services business (life insurance and investments). Before that experience, I worked as a technical writer, while also writing and publishing a book (Lexington Books). I’m an SME in financial products–with credentials (CLU, LUTCF)–and an interest in writing white papers. Your article was helpful to me. Thank you for sharing.
From Liz: “Glad you found it useful. The financial services sector is starved for people like you. You’ll have no trouble finding clients who want to hire you.”