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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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Big idea: Let’s get rid of the “sales funnel”

rusty funnel with text Say Goodbye to the Sales Funnel!

Now that the concept of the “sales funnel” is more than 100 years old, let’s retire it for good. And I’ve got a fresh metaphor to suggest in its place. It’s my favorite of three other possibilities, each one more realistic and more useful for B2B marketers and writers. What’s wrong with the sales funnel?…

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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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White paper writer tip #1: Stop selling

Sleazy salesperson with three silly claims

You must avoid the #1 problem with this format: Too much selling The solution is simple: Stop writing sales pitches and calling them white papers. Sponsors, recognize the danger of inserting a sales pitch into a white paper. Stop pressuring your writers to include them. Stop shooting yourself in the foot! What’s the problem with selling?…

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Quick Tip: My favorite way to polish a draft

polishing a white paper draft

Read it out loud. That quickly reveals any awkward phrases or run-on sentences. To me, reading out loud is the absolute best way to revise a white paper draft. But it can be awkward to read a draft to yourself and try to make changes at the same time. There’s a simple solution… Did you…

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