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Quick Tip: Teach, don’t preach


What’s the #1 problem with too many white papers?

If you said “too much selling,” you’re right.

There’s a time and place for a sales pitch. But a white paper is neither.

I first heard this 20+ years ago when I interviewed executives from the two largest white paper syndication services at the time.

“The best white papers come at it from an educational tone versus a preachy approach,” said Jay Habegger from Bitpipe.

“We’ve seen the most success with people who use white papers to educate and teach, as opposed to selling,” said Jeff Ramminger from Knowledge Storm.

In other words, you’ve got to prepare the ground and plant the seed before you can harvest a sale.

Too many sales and marketing people want to skip over the education portion and rush into the pitch they’re used to delivering.

But that’s like sending around the collection plate before you deliver the sermon.

If you try that, your prospects will keep their wallets closed and head quickly for the exits.


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About Gordon Graham

Worked on 300+ 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 50+ 5-star ratings on Amazon. Won 16 awards from the Society for Technical Communication. And named AWAI 2019 Copywriter of the Year.

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