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Quick tip: How to layer information for multiple audiences

multi-layer rainbow cake to signify layering information in a white paper

Ideally you can create one white paper for every segment of your target audience. But what if you can’t swing that? What if for some reason—time, money, or whatever—you need to reach more than one audience with the same white paper? In another article, I described how to “clone” one basic document for various segments…

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Quick tip: Don’t say “once every xx seconds…”

Woman sitting alone with stat on 1 suicide every 40 seconds

I’ve been researching suicide lately. Don’t worry; I’m not thinking about doing myself in. It’s for a fictional story I’m working on. In my research, I encountered a statistic that always bugs me. Here it is, from no less than the World Health Organization: Suicide: one person dies every 40 seconds1 What a shocker, right?…

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White Paper World 36: February 1, 2024

White Paper World logo Feb-2024

Quick tip: Don’t say “once every xx seconds…” Great book: How to Lie with Statistics February Book Giveaway: Send me a shoddy statistic! Need help with your next white paper? Quick tip: Don’t say “once every xx seconds…” I’ve been researching suicide lately. Don’t worry; I’m not thinking about doing myself in. It’s for a…

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Quick tip: Here’s a great little book on statistics

So far, I’ve posted two quick tips on how to avoid shoddy statistics. Both articles included examples from the real world. You can see those here: Don’t use numbers out of context Don’t say “once every xx seconds…” So how about some positive tips on how to use numbers properly? If you’re interested in how…

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Quick tip: To find the gem, wash away the muck

A tiny piece of emerald on a miner's fingertip

One problem I often see in white papers is over-long quotes from sources. Lengthy quotes can easily slow down your narrative and distract from the point you’re trying to make. If you see a quote that runs two or three paragraphs long, you can be pretty sure the writer included too much. Your goal as…

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Quick tip: Don’t start your white paper like this

white paper writer clearing his throat before he gets down to saying something new

Too many white papers suffer from what I call “throat-clearing.” That’s when a paper begins by repeating something the audience already knows. Consider this example from a white paper from HP: Rapid innovations in Internet and mobile computing technology are drawing many communications, media, and entertainment (ME) companies to expand into profitable new markets to…

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How to tell a story

Child telling a B2B story with a nasty old glitch

Every child knows what a story is. We’ve all been hearing stories since before we could walk. Marketing gurus constantly tell us to use stories to engage prospects. For sure, any case study or problem/solution white paper must tell a compelling story. But have you ever stopped to ask what “a story” really is? Any…

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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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What ChatGPT says about white papers

event horizon of a black hole

Every writer is talking about the ground-breaking AI program, ChatGPT. We’re all wondering whether it means the end of our careers or the start of a new and exciting chapter. So I decided to ask the source. I interviewed ChatGPT on the issues every writer is concerned about: What it can and can’t do What it…

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