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Quick Tip: Pick your idea the way Goldilocks does

A white paper needs an idea that’s not too big, not too small.

Just like Goldilocks, you need an idea that’s just right.

Here’s how to find one.

goldilocks not too big not too small

Say you work for a company that makes electric lawn tools, the kind that run on batteries instead of gasoline.

And you’re looking for a topic for your next white paper.

Idea #1: Climate change

Too big. Overwhelming.

Huge UN reports are written on this. And entire books.

Your white paper can mention climate change, but that’s about it.

And you’re not at the UN or an NGO. You’re at a company that sells electric tools.

Do you have any real numbers on how much greenhouse gas every one of your electric lawnmowers saves over its lifetime?

I didn’t think so.

Idea #2: No more stinky fumes and loud noise

Too small. One sentence says it all.

Those are great benefits, but you can express them in a few bullets on your website, in your videos, and on your product boxes.

You don’t need a white paper for that.

You need a topic that will interest a B2B buyer enough to motivate them to download and actually scan through your paper.

Idea #3: Why lawn care companies are switching to all-electric tools

Bingo. This kind of cost/benefit analysis is what a white paper does best.

You could include a table showing how much every tool saves on gas and labor every year. Maybe with a blank column where a prospect can calculate their own projected savings.

You could include tips on how to present this idea to the boss. Maybe with a pre-written e-mail to use.

You could suggest how to sign up more customers thanks to lower noise and less disruption to the neighbors. Maybe with a case study of one lawn care company who did just that.

The whole argument should point to less money out, more money in. What business owner wouldn’t want that?

See how we found an idea for a white paper that’s just right—not too big, not too small?

Goldilocks would be proud.


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About Gordon Graham

Worked on 320+ white papers for clients from Silicon Valley to Switzerland, on everything from choosing enterprise software to designing virtual worlds for kids, for clients from tiny startups to 3M, Google, and Verizon. Wrote White Papers for Dummies which earned 60+ 5-star ratings on Amazon. Won 16 awards from the Society for Technical Communication. Named AWAI 2019 Copywriter of the Year.

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