The best of That White Paper Guy in 2016 (for marketers)

2016 was a busy and productive year for all of us at That White Paper Guy.

We wrote white papers on everything from self-driving cars to post-surgical infections, getting close to a company total of 250 projects.

And we continued to shared lots of tips on how to create successful white papers of your own.

numerals 2016 in skyline with writer as the 1

This website: bigger and better

Our website was our biggest channel for sharing information.

In fact, it’s grown so much that we added a sitemap to help you find the content you want.

While reviewing our content in the sitemap, we were reminded of some of our favorites from the past year.

And we’d like to share them with you again.

Gordon Graham’s favorite posts of 2016

“My favorite posts we published in 2016 were the #1 mistake B2B content marketers make and the #1 mistake B2B copywriters make,” says Gordon, our founder and the original “white paper guy.”

Gordon Graham, That White Paper Guy

“I liked these roundups of considered opinions from many of my peers and mentors,” he notes.

The articles feature quotes from well-known names in the industry including Bob Bly, Sally Cole, Casey Demchak, Rachel Foster, Casey Hibbard, and Steve Slaunwhite.

“I want to believe these mistakes will lessen over the coming year,” notes Gordon.

“But many of these problems are so deep-rooted we’ll probably continue to see them in 2017.”

Angie Gallop’s favorite post of 2016

Angie Gallop, partner to That White Paper Guy in life and the business

Angie is Gordon’s partner in life and in the business.

Over the past decade, Angie has seen many successful projects fly through That White Paper Guy.

And she’s seen the occasional project sink without being completed.

We estimate 1 out of 20 white papers we start is never completed.

Even with a 95% completion rate, those few that don’t work still sting.

“We care about every white paper we write, and we usually become cheerleaders for our client’s businesses,” says Angie.

“So any project that doesn’t turn out creates a lot of grief for us, too.”

That’s why her favorite post of the year was 9 tips for how to be a great client.

She says the guidelines in this article come from more than a decade of sweat and tears managing complex white paper projects.

“Those are hard-won tips,” says Angie. “So I recommend that every white paper client checks them out before commissioning your next white paper!”

Pauline Clark’s favorite post of 2016

Pauline Clark, assistant to That White Paper Guy

As you may know, I (Pauline Clark) manage the social media for That White Paper Guy and write some of these blog posts.

With my background in journalism, I especially liked the tips in 3 lessons journalists must unlearn to write white papers.

We often hear what we should do. But sometimes it helps to hear what we should stop doing, too.

As the B2B market develops and journalism continues to suffer through hard times, it’s important for journalists to know they have options.

And as a marketer, you should know that many journalists have all the skills you need to help you develop an effective a white paper.

They just need to take the time to learn—and unlearn—some tricks of the trade. Once they do that, their skills can be a great asset to you.

Best comments on a post

Judging from the comments, one of your favorite articles of the year was How white paper writers can use high-priced resources.

This article offers five tips for how to access high-priced resources that could back up the assertions in your white paper.

And there’s almost as much added value in the comments.

We also enjoyed the feedback from the article Copywriting vs content writing. Choosing which type of writer you need for your projects may be something you’ve puzzled over.

We love getting comments, and seeing which topics prompt people to react.

We recommend you check the comments after any post you read. And if you missed these two gems, go back and take a look.

Most re-tweeted post of the year

Gordon’s always been a fan of George Carlin.

So he couldn’t resist looking for a link between the late American comic and B2B copywriting.

You can see what he found in White papers and… George Carlin?

photo of George Carlin

So what can we learn from George?

To start with, tell the truth and use clear language, not marketing-speak. And there’s more, so be sure to check out this post if you missed it.

2016 Highlight: White paper planning workshop

Beyond writing, Gordon often gives workshops and speaks at industry events.

One of his favorite events this year was the white paper planning workshop he gave with his colleague Ed Gandia in May.

About 120 writers signed up to hear how to offer white paper planning as a separate value-added service.

Gordon believes this is a best practice that all white paper marketers should follow.

While this can add a few hundreds dollars to the cost of a white paper, better planning helps steer clear of the classic problems that can afflict these projects:

  • Lack of clarity and consensus
  • Change in direction late in the project
  • New reviewer added late in the project

All these can cause delays, rework, and unnecessary stress for everyone on the project.

“Too many clients push their writers to jump in and start writing, without a proper overview of a white paper project,” he says.

“A proper planning process ensures that everyone is on the same page, with fewer surprises along the way.”

He believes most white papers that fail are caused by skipping or rushing through the planning step.

Stay tuned in 2017, as we roll out some new, cost-effective packages for planning your white papers.

Advice especially for B2B marketers

While our posts often speak to both writers and marketers, some are especially useful to marketers.

Although it was labelled as a writing tip, this post has good advice for any marketer considering doing a white paper: White paper writer tip #1: stop selling

Make sure you’re not shooting yourself in the foot by making any of the mistakes listed here.

Don't shoot yourself in the foot by writing a sales pitch into a white paper

If you’d like to see more tips on how to develop effective white papers, check out the other articles in this series:

These tips can help any marketer looking to develop powerful white papers in the coming year.

What’s ahead for That White Paper Guy

We’ve got lots of things in the works for 2017.

Of course, continuing to share resources with our readers is at the top of the list.

One new way we’ll be doing that is through Pinterest.

Yes, you heard right! Pinterest is not just for recipes and crafts!

For example, we’ll be sharing samples of white papers we consider strong or weak in certain ways. Like an online “swipe file” this resource should be valuable when you’re planning your future white papers.

We’ll tell you more early in the new year.

And we’ll be rolling out some e-books and special reports for you in 2017.

Since this is our last post of 2016, best wishes to all as we head into 2017.

Merry Christmas from Pauline, Angie, and Gordon

Merry Christmas from Pauline, Angie, and Gordon

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