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.
And we continued to shared lots of tips on how to create successful white papers of your own.
This website: bigger and better
Our website is 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
“I liked these roundups of considered opinions from 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 is Gordon’s partner in life and in the business.
Over the past decade, she 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 didn’t work still sting.
“We care about every white paper we write, and we usually become cheerleaders for our client’s business,” says Angie.
“So any project that doesn’t turn out creates a lot of grief for us, too.”
That’s why her favorite posts of the year were all about managing clients:
- 9 tips for how to be a great client gives writers an idea of what they should expect from clients
- Daphne Gray-Grant shares how to get faster approvals and keep clients from nit-picking
- Bob Bly tells us how to handle comments and get through that critical end-stage of the writing process
“Those are hard-won tips,” says Angie. “Each of these writers has been managing clients for decades. Taken together, these posts are a survival guide for ushering projects through to completion.”
Pauline Clark’s favorite post of 2016
As you may know, I (Pauline Clark) manage social media and write blog posts for That White Paper Guy.
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.
They just need to take the time to learn—and unlearn—some tricks of the trade.
Two related articles can help guide tech writers and copywriters who are considering going into white papers:
- 3 lessons tech writers must unlearn
to write white papers
- 4 lessons copywriters must unlearn
to write white papers
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 strengthen the argument in your white paper.
And there’s almost as much added value in the comments.
We also enjoyed the feedback from the post Copywriting vs content writing. We learned a lot from the thoughtful comments on this piece.
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?
So what can we learn from George?
To start with, tell the truth and use clear language, not marketing-speak.
There’s much more so be sure to check out this post if you missed it.
2016 Highlight: White paper planning workshop
Besides 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 and buddy, Ed Gandia, in May.
About 120 writers signed up to hear how to boost their income by offering white paper planning as a separate value-added service.
Gordon believes this is a best practice that all white paper writers should follow.
“Too many writers jump in and start writing, without a proper overview of a white paper project,” he says. “And too many clients push them to get started without briefing them properly.”
He believes most white papers that fail are caused by skipping or rushing through this planning step.
2016 Highlight: AWAI Bootcamp
Gordon’s other favorite event of the year was the AWAI Bootcamp in October.
This was the annual meet-up of 450 writers in beautiful Del Ray Beach, Florida. This was the first time Gordon ever attended and he says he’ll definitely be going back next year.
“Where else can you run into someone in the hall that you’ve been following for years?” he says.
“Or meet someone in the bar who’s doing exactly the same kind of writing you do?”
Gordon says the AWAI is a fantastic organization. Bootcamp is their premiere event of the year.
Watch for a post with some tips for writers from one of the fall bootcamp’s great keynote speakers, coming in January.
And why not plan on attending the Bootcamp in October 2017? It’s not just for beginners.
Education for B2B writers
There was a lot to be gleaned from a 3-part interview copywriter Will Newman did with Gordon for AWAI.
Here are the links to Will’s articles:
- How My Third Grade Teacher Got Me Started on My B2B Career: A Conversation with Gordon Graham—Part 1
- Choosing the “Blue Ocean” Could Be the Best Career Move You’ll Ever Make: A Conversation with Gordon Graham—Part 2
- 12 Quick-Start Gateways to The Writer’s Life:
A Conversation with Gordon Graham— Part 3
Gordon was delighted to meet Will at the AWAI Bootcamp. Here’s his selfie to prove it. (He’s just learning how to take selfies!)
If you’re not sure where to start in the B2B world, you might enjoy Gordon’s Crash Course in B2B Content.
This is an online, self-paced program that covers 12 popular forms of B2B content, from blog posts to white papers.
Each section includes a narrated slide deck with tips and pricing guidelines, a video walk-through of a sample, and links to many further resources.
This program is intended for writers at every stage of their careers including:
- beginners who need to build their confidence
- working copywriters being asked to do new formats
- established copywriters keen to boost their incomes by expanding their offerings
The most fun we had this year
We love what we do at That White Paper Guy, and writing white papers is a great field to be in.
But we enjoyed taking a look at the lighter side of work with That Messy Office contest.
We were surprised how few of you shared your own messy offices with us. But Gordon was certainly happy to get his cleaned up this year.
Here’s two of our favorite posts resulting from the contest, and our overall drive for tidiness:
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 you 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! We’ll tell you more early in the new year.
Gordon is busy now developing more workshops and training programs to be offered through the AWAI.
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.