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Tools of the trade

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.

 


Click on a link to jump to that tool:

 


You know what I’ve noticed?

So far, all these tools fall into three main types, as shown in this table.

TypePurposeExample
EvaluatorGives you an "objective" score on part of your document, such as the idea, the title, or the readabilityBrainstorm Buddy

Headline Analyzer

MS-Word Editor
Word finderHelps you find the precise word or phrase you need, such as a metaphor or quotationDr. Mardy's Dictionary of Metaphorical Quotations

Word Hippo
Writing aidHelps you draft or finish a white paper, using online forms or just-in-time trainingThe White Paper Writing Tool

 

There are many more tools that can help you with research, writing, and formatting that I’ll get to in the months ahead.

This page doesn’t cover a whole other category of tools: books on writing and everything else. For those, see my recommended book list.

To make sure you see every new writing tool as soon as I write about it, subscribe to my free newsletter.

And if you’re a developer or marketer for a new tool that would help writers do  long-form content, please drop me a line to Gordon at thatwhitepaperguy.com

 


Brainstorm Buddy: Tests out your white paper ideas, then gives tips on making them stronger

Can’t decide which idea for a white paper is the best?

Need some professional help picking a topic to engage your audience?

Now there’s an app for that.

Retired journalist (and math grad) Linda Formechelli just unveiled Brainstorm Buddy, an online service designed to help writers weigh ideas.

She calls it “the first automated content idea analyzer tool.”

Linda Formechelli creator of Brainstorm Buddy

Linda Formechelli, writer and
creator of Brainstorm Buddy

Buddy is easy and quick to use: Just type in your idea, answer a brief set of multiple-choice questions, and you get a rating out of 100.

If your idea doesn’t cut the mustard, you’ll also see lots of tips on how to make it stronger.

Linda developed this concept based on 20 years of pitching articles to big magazines like Family Circle, Inc., and Wired.

When she realized most freelance writers have trouble coming up with strong ideas, she taught them her methods.

 

Later, Linda got involved in content marketing for companies like Best Buy,GE, Intel, and Qualtrics, and discovered that content writers have the same problem. 

So she built her process into an easy-to-use tool: Brainstorm Buddy.

I tried it, and I’m a big fan. The app instantly helped me hone a white paper idea from so-so to sharp as a tack.

Next I used it to go through a pile of blog ideas and find the best ones. Bingo!

And today I use Brainstorm Buddy to test out ideas for every white paper I write.

Check out Brainstorm Buddy here: https://www.brainstormbuddyapp.com

 


Dr Mardy’s Dictionary of Metaphorical Quotations: Finds the perfect metaphor for your next Big Idea

 

coming in 2023

 


Grammarly logo

Grammarly: Checks your grammar and shows suggestions on-the-fly

 

coming in 2023

 


<screenshot of Headline Analyzer by CoSchedule

Headline Analyzer: Rates your white paper headlines for originality and SEO

Headline Analyzer is one of my secret weapons.

I’ve happily used this online tool for a couple of years now. And it never fails to help me come up with a more engaging title for a white paper.

Remember, the title is one of the most important parts of your document.

If your title doesn’t POP in a list of search results, your paper could be passed over and never noticed. That’s not what you want.

That’s where Headline Analyzer comes in.

Once you have a draft title, you can type it into Headline Analyzer and see how it scores.

Then you can play around with different words and phrases to see how each change affects your score.

The main score I use

use Headline Analyzer to improve your score

Headline Analyzer gives you one main score out of 100 that shows the overall effectiveness of the headline.

If that’s not even in the 70s, I try out some alternatives.

If I can push it past 80, I’m pretty happy. And so are my clients.

After all, if your white paper headline is in the top 20% of all the content on the web, that’s pretty good.

Yes, you can always raise your score by pushing your title closer to clickbait.

But then you’re gambling with the credibility of your piece. I don’t think that’s  wise in B2B marketing.

Free and paid versions

Like many apps, there’s a free version and a paid version of Headline Analyzer.

Here’s the difference.

With the free version, you see the Headline score and all this feedback:

  • Balance between common, uncommon, and emotive words
  • Character and word counts
  • Clarity
  • Sentiment
  • Skimmability
  • Reading grade level

But you only see the last three headlines you worked on. And you don’t get the SEO score.

With the paid version, you see every version of every headline you ever tried out, plus premium features such as Suggestions and the Power and Emotional Word Banks.

You also get the SEO score out of 100, which I really like. It quickly pulls up similar-titled articles that you can click to.

And that gives you a useful sampling of the other material a certain search string will show to a prospect.

How much you pay depends on how many headlines you need to analyze:

  • 5 headlines for $9 a month ($108 a year)
  • 20 headlines for $29 a month ($348 a year)
  • 60 headlines for $49 a month ($588 a year)

I’m good with five headlines a month; I use a couple for white papers and a couple for articles on this website.

There are similar apps on the web, but Headline Analyzer is top-rated.

I believe even the free version provides the richest feedback of any. And the paid version is another step up that I’ve found is well worth about $100 a year.

 


PowerPoint logo

PowerPoint: Does everything you need for basic graphics

coming in 2023

 

 

 


The White Paper Writing Tool: Guides you through writing a white paper

screenshot of The White Paper Writing Tool

My colleague Brian Boys has developed something quite amazing: a cool new product to help speed up your white paper writing.

The White Paper Writing Tool is a neat package of training videos, tips, and online forms to help you capture your thoughts and get that first draft down faster than ever before.

The software basically interviews you through the process of writing a shorter white paper.

With online forms to capture your ideas and videos to coach you along, this product is a mini-course plus a writing tool all in one.

Brian has an engaging online presence and a minimalist approach that boils everything down to the essentials.

Whether you’re a marketer, an entrepreneur, or a writer, I think you could benefit from this writing tool.

Check it out here: https://brianboys.podia.com/view/courses/the-white-paper-writing-tool

 


screenshot of wordhippo.com

Word Hippo: Gives all your word research in one place

I don’t know about you, but when I look up a word online, I don’t especially care what Merriam-Webster or any other single source says.

I want to see how people use language across the world wide web.

And I’ve just come across a power-packed website that provides an unbelievable number of functions in one place, clearly drawing on the power of the web.

It’s called WordHippo at www.wordhippo.com. If you’re a writer who ever needs to look up a word, bookmark it right now.

Here’s a taste of what WordHippo can find:

  • A definition of a word like a dictionary
  • A synonym or antonym (opposite) for a word like a thesaurus
  • Words that rhyme like a rhyming dictionary
  • Sample sentences that use a word

WordHippo can also find words from 2 to 14 letters long that start or end with, include, or don’t include certain letters.

It can show different forms of a word: adjective or adverb, noun or verb, past or present, singular or plural.

It can even translate any word to dozens of other languages from Afrikaans to Zulu, and pronounce any word for you.

And if that’s not all, it has features for crosswords and Scrabble. And I’m quite sure WordHippo would give you a devastating advantage in competitive Wordle.

 


To make sure you see every new writing tool, subscribe to my free newsletter

 

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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