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Quick tip: Build your own list of sources

construction guy holding a clipboard

Here’s how to save time researching your next white paper. Build your own list of sources you trust, and go to them for insights. I’ve said this before: Don’t start with Google. Now I’m doubling down on that advice. Develop your own list of trusted sources. Don’t rely on Google to find them. This works especially…

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Quick tip: Do footnotes the Chicago way

do footnotes the Chicago way

So you’re writing a white paper with lots of sources. So you’re writing a white paper with lots of sources. Way to go on doing your research! Now you need footnotes (or endnotes) to cite those sources. But how do you format the pesky things? Just stick in URLs and call it done? Well, I’ve…

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Quick tip: Format white papers for the screen, not the page

white papers are not mini-books

I’ve seen figures saying 90% of all white papers are viewed on-screen. Yet too many white papers are still formatted like printed books: Long paragraphs of text Skimpy white space Few visual breaks Lots of extra pages at the start Making a white paper like a mini-book is NOT the way to reach busy prospects.…

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Quick Tip: Using multiple calls-to-action

You’ve heard the classic advice: Use a single call-to-action. Make it crystal clear what an interested prospect should do. But what if you have multiple audiences for the same white paper? What if one call-to-action isn’t enough? There’s a simple way to handle that: Just specify a different call-to-action for each segment of the audience.…

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Quick Tip: Stop charging by the hour!

yellow alarm clock on piles of US dollars

Whatever you think about AI, it’s fast. And cheap.  ChatGPT-4 can write a blog post faster than you can dictate the words. And it can revise and rewrite just as fast. For pennies. With no complaints. So if you’re a writer or agency still charging clients by the hour, you can’t compete with your old-fashioned…

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Quick Tip: With AI, tackle your most significant tasks first

baby in bathwater

Just because you CAN do something with AI doesn’t mean you SHOULD. Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater. Don’t get rid of a perfectly fine workflow just to save a few bucks. For example, people proclaim they now use AI to generate their own graphics so they’ve stopped buying stock photos. Is that…

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Quick Tip: With AI, write your white paper as a numbered list

with AI do a numbered list

ChatGPT struggles to write long-form content. So don’t make it. Keep it short. To write a white paper with AI, make a numbered list.  A numbered list—also known as a strawberry white paper—presents a collage of related points. You can arrange those points in some sort of sensible order. But you don’t have to build…

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Quick Tip: Don’t start your research with Google

Yes, you need a lot of research for a white paper. No, you don’t want to start with Google.  That might send you down countless rabbit holes. And with AI content being dumped online, we can expect the web to get even more polluted with lies and disinformation in the future. So here are three…

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Quick Tip: Read a draft to your reviewers

read a white paper out loud

Did you ever work with a SME who kept putting off reviewing a white paper draft? Maybe English wasn’t their first language. Or maybe they weren’t sure how to express their comments on your draft. But they were too embarrassed to admit it. Here’s a smart way around that: 1. Schedule a meeting or Zoom,…

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Quick Tip: My favourite way to polish a draft

polishing a white paper draft

Read it out loud. That quickly reveals any awkward phrases or run-on sentences. To me, reading out loud is the absolute best way to revise a white paper draft. But it can be awkward to read a draft to yourself and try to make changes at the same time. There’s a simple solution… Did you…

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