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White Paper World 12: November 10, 2022

  • Fresh content: Let’s deconstruct a numbered list
  • Quick tip: Case studies and white papers
  • Holiday shopping: Writers love books!
  • Just for fun: October book winner

great numbered list from Robert Reich in The Guardian

Fresh content: Let’s deconstruct a numbered list

I recently came across an excellent example of a numbered list.

You know, strawberry?

scoop of strawberry ice creamIt was a political column published in, of all places, The Guardian newspaper.

It’s clearly not a white paper.

But it’s still a fabulous showcase for how to handle this format right.

And even if you disagree with the author’s politics, I think his piece is worth studying.


I thought it was useful to consider the title, the structure, the evidence, the logic, and some of the phrasings in this piece to see what makes it tick.

Join me in deconstructing this fine example of a numbered list.


Quick tip: Case studies and white papers

You can include a case study in a white paper.

But you can’t include a white paper in a case study. 

Remember the key differences between these two formats:

  • A case study tells the story of one happy customer.
  • A white paper describes a better way to solve an industry-wide problem.

A case study usually runs 1,000 to 1,500 words, while a white paper runs three or four times that long.

So you can see the scope and coverage of each document is quite different.

How to use a case study in a white paper

The story of a happy customer can be an effective proof point in a white paper.


Here’s how to do that:

1. Boil down a case study to about 50 words for just the key results.

2. Tuck one or more of these mini-case studies into a white paper.

You may want to set these apart as sidebars.

< Here’s an example. See how this sums up the whole story in a few numbers?


To find out more, see my article “How to use a case study inside a white paper.”

Why you can’t use a white paper in a case study

For one thing, you can’t sum up a whole white paper in 50 words.

In so few words, you can barely even say what it covers. You can’t begin to build an argument.

And no one reading a one- or two-page case study wants to be referred to another six- or eight-page document. That just doesn’t fit the flow of a story.

So in other words, you can use a story inside an essay.

But you can’t use an essay inside a story. Get it?

books open in sunshine to suggest recommended books

Holiday shopping: Writers love books!

Wondering what to give a colleague this year? Or maybe yourself?

It doesn’t matter who has been been naughty or nice. You’ll find something on my updated list of recommended books on white papers and everything else

The Elements of Style Illustrated book cover

For example, did you know there’s an illustrated version of The Elements of Style? How did they do that? Well, they put in some amusing paintings that go remarkably well with the text.

That’s just one of the many titles on my list.

And yep, if you click through and buy from my list, I’ll get a few pennies from Amazon.

And guess what I’ll spend all those pennies on? More books!



Just for fun: October book winner

Speaking of books, it’s time for our October book winner.

The question was: Which three marketing tactics will you commit to using through the rest of 2022 and into 2023?

My daughters pawed through the entries and selected the winner at random…

Vanessa Gunter

October winner, Vanessa Gunter

Vanessa Gunter is a health and wellness writer who creates content and copy from her base near Boston.

For the rest of 2022, Vanessa intends to post articles, connect with everyone she knows on LinkedIn, and work on creating a useful e-book.

In January, she will start mailing out postcards to mental health agencies and alternative healthcare practitioners announcing her “grand opening.”

Let us know how it goes, Vanessa!


We’ve sent Vanessa a free copy of The Content Marketing Handbook by Bob Bly, an excellent book packed with tips on writing all kinds of content—including white papers.

Checklist of marketing tactics thumbnail


Remember: Even if you didn’t win the book, you are still a big winner when you define your marketing tactics and get using them.

So it’s never too late to give this checklist a try and see what happens.

You have nothing to lose… and many new clients to gain!




That’s all for this time

If you liked this e-newsletter, please forward it to a colleague interested in white papers.

You can see all the previous issues here:

And if you have any comments or questions about white papers, please send them to Gordon AT and I’ll do my best to answer… maybe in my next article!

Good luck with all your projects!

Gordon Graham
That White Paper Guy


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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