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White papers versus e-books

seesaw showing ebooks and white papers

So a client asked me to write an e-book. Before I started, I searched high and low for guidance on what makes a good e-book: How long should they be? How many graphics should they contain? Landscape or portrait format? Any other distinguishing characteristics? Unfortunately, it sounds like an “e-book” can be just about any…

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Quick Tip: Write AS you speak

Dictation feature in Word

Some classic advice to writers is “write like you speak.” So why not write AS you speak? Why not dictate the first draft of your next white paper? Here are just a few of the benefits: It’s 2.5X faster than typing. It leaves your hands free to juggle through sources. It removes more of the…

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White Paper World, July 2022

White Paper World logo v3

A newsletter for B2B writers and marketers keen to learn more about white papers Issue 6 • July 2022 Fresh content: White papers and… backgammon?! Quick tip: My secret weapon for “writing” white papers What I’m reading: Another fine book by Bob Bly Just for fun: Amaaazing dinosaurs Fresh content: White papers and… backgammon?! Believe…

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White papers and… backgammon?!

backgammon board and white paper

Yes, playing backgammon is a lot like doing a white paper.  If you don’t know what backgammon is, see the intro below. If you already know the history of backgammon, skip down to “6 similarities between backgammon and white papers.”    Intro: What is backgammon? Backgammon is an ancient game that dates back at least…

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5 reasons white papers are challenged: data and stories

photo of slice of dessert soufflé with coffee

Let’s compare a white paper to a dessert soufflé. Done right, a soufflé is an extraordinary dessert that gets people talking. But making a great soufflé takes the right ingredients, the right recipe, and an oven and soufflé pan in tip-top shape. If you’re missing one of these, your soufflé will fall flat. By the…

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White Paper FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

When I first started writing white papers 25 years ago, I looked all over for a FAQ. When I couldn’t find one, I decided to write one myself.   Over the years, I’ve kept adding to it, until today when it covers 36 questions. This is undoubtedly the most detailed, most thorough FAQ on white papers…

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6 reasons white papers fail: data and stories

Not every white paper that’s started ever gets finished. In fact, my data shows 1 in 6 white papers fail. At That White Paper Guy, I recently analyzed 300 of my white paper projects going back to 1997. I was shocked to discover that 50 of these white papers—1 in 6—were abandoned and never published. …

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How I analyzed 300 white papers

smiley faces to signify white paper ratings: green orange red

I recently reviewed all the white papers I worked on from 1997 to 2020. The results were fascinating. Of these 300 white papers, a full 50 were abandoned and never published. That’s 1 in 6. Three dozen more were published, but with clear defects. That’s 1 in 9. That means 214 of my papers (71%)…

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Quick Tip: Show people on your white paper covers

show people on your white paper cover

The cover of any white paper is extremely valuable real estate. Don’t waste this space by showing nothing but text. That approach went out in the 1990s. Here are three old-fashioned examples.       What’s wrong with these covers? Well, many things: They’re not engaging They’re not visual, except for the splats of color They’re…

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