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Tools of the trade

hand tools on wooden table

We all need tools, and writers are no exception. Here’s a roundup of all the cool tools of the writing trade mentioned in White Paper World so far. I’ve tried all these and each one earns a solid two thumbs-up from me. And I use most of these tools on every white paper I write.…

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A great example of a numbered list

great numbered list from Robert Reich in The Guardian

I recently came across an excellent example of a numbered list. You know, strawberry? It was a political column published in, of all places, The Guardian online newspaper. It’s clearly not a white paper. For one thing, it’s only 700 words long. And it’s an opinion piece in a newspaper, not a piece of B2B…

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Fix a draft that’s too short or too long

fix a white paper length

I’ve seen everything from a one-page sales sheet to a 100-page book called a “white paper.” Clearly these are both pretty extreme examples. Most white papers today are 6 to 8 pages of main body copy (2,000 to 3,500 words). And most have a few more pages wrapped around the main body: Front matter at…

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5 reasons why writers should explore rhetoric


I never studied rhetoric at school. There were no doubt a few courses on rhetoric in my university syllabus. But I flipped right past them. At the time, I considered the topic old-fashioned, boring, and useless. Oh, the folly of youth! Today, I dearly wish I had taken those courses. I’ve come to see rhetoric…

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White paper writer tip #2: Build an argument

head of Aristotle on ancient Greek coin

Every white paper writer must learn how to build a coherent argument. Without one, your white papers won’t convince anyone of anything. But a white paper that presents a strong argument can be right on the money. It can generate great results for years running. The question is, what makes a good argument? And how do…

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A tale of four white papers [with SAMPLES]

four white paper covers

Out of all 300+ white papers I’ve worked on, a few stand out in my recollections. This is the story of four of those projects, and what we can learn from them. There’s nothing magical or heroic about these stories. What makes them memorable is that each project faced a different challenge: An impossible deadline…

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3 keys to readable white papers

3 keys from a keyboard that makes for better writing

Many white papers are just too hard to read. Fortunately, three simple techniques can make any draft easier to read. Use shorter words. Use shorter sentences. And use shorter paragraphs. In other words, three keys can make your next white paper easier to read: Delete to eliminate long words Period (.) to break up long…

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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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Tips on using dictation software to write

Using voice recognition in an office

Marketer or writer, you need to get text out of your mind and onto your screen every day. Most people do that by typing. If you’re fast, you might get 60 words a minute. But you can talk at something like 150 words a minute: 2.5 times that fast. That’s why I love dictation software:…

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How to pick the perfect flavor for your next white paper

cover How to Pick the Prefect Flavor for Your Next White Paper

How many flavors of white papers are there? Most “white paper experts” list 8 or 10 types of white papers. When I first started in white papers, I used to agree. But after working on of these documents, I’ve made a startling discovery. There are really only three main flavors of white paper. That’s right:…

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