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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

Quick Tip: Read a draft to your reviewers Did you ever work with a SME so weak in English they put off reviewing a white paper draft? Maybe English isn’t their first language. Or maybe they’re not sure how to express their comments on your draft. That may be enough for them to put off…

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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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Quick Tip: Don’t cross the red line

Companies doing their first-ever white paper often suffer from what I call “The Kitchen Sink Syndrome.” They tell me they want to generate leads. But they’re also dying to tell the world about their brilliant new product. And then they come up with a listicle or two. So they dump all that into one document.…

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Quick Tip: Case studies and white papers

You can include a case study in a white paper. But you can’t include a white paper in a case study.  Remember the key differences between these formats: A case study tells the story of one happy customer A white paper describes a better way to solve an industry-wide problem A case study usually runs 1,000…

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Quick Tip: Pick your idea the way Goldilocks does

A white paper needs an idea that’s not too big, not too small. Just like Goldilocks, you need an idea that’s just right. Here’s how to find one. Say you work for a company that makes electric lawn tools, the kind that run on batteries instead of gasoline. And you’re looking for a topic for…

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Quick Tip: Don’t ask dumb questions

a SME disturbed by the dumb questions a writer is asking on a Zoom

Some people say, “There’s so such thing as a dumb question.” I disagree. Here’s why. Say you’ve lined up an interview with the VP of R&D for a white paper you’re working on. There are plenty of dumb questions you could ask a busy manager like that. Dumb question #1: Anything way too open-ended —”What does…

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Quick Tip: Push your listicle to the top

push your listicle to the top

Quick tip: Push your listicles to the top AP Style and everyone else says to spell out numbers up to nine when you’re writing copy or content, right? But you really should break this rule when naming a numbered list (listicle). Here’s why. Consider two white papers, called: —Three Secrets of SEO You Must Understand…

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Quick Tip: 3 keys to better writing

3 keys from a keyboard that makes for better writing

Are you struggling to achieve a crisp, business-like writing style? Here are three keys to better writing. They’re all right there on your keyboard, and using them is free. Delete key: Cut unnecessary words   And replace longer words with shorter words. Here’s one trick for doing that. Whenever you see similar terms joined with…

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Quick Tip: Teach, don’t preach

priest giving sermon

  What’s the #1 problem with too many white papers? If you said “too much selling,” you’re right. There’s a time and place for a sales pitch. But a white paper is neither. I first heard this 20+ years ago when I interviewed executives from the two largest white paper syndication services at the time. “The…

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