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White Paper World 16: February 9, 2023

  • Fresh content: White papers and… Harry Potter?!
  • Quick tip: Read a draft to your reviewers
  • New service: Get a video review of your white paper!
  • Congrats to our January book winner

Harry Potter and Ron in the flying car

Fresh content: White papers and… Harry Potter?!

When my wife, Angie, faced a health crisis a couple years ago, our family dove into the world of Harry Potter.

Our nightly readings and periodic movie nights gave us a sense of stability as we shared his adventures.

Last year, we went to see the phenomenal stage play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in Toronto.

Now we’re planning a trip to the Warner Brothers Studio Tour London to see where the movies were made.

All that got me wondering: Are there any similarities between Harry Potter and white papers?

So here’s a tongue-in-cheek look at how these two compare… with tips on white papers sprinkled throughout.

And if you don’t know the stories, this article has no spoilers.


read a white paper out loud

Quick tip: Read a draft to your reviewers

Did you ever work with a SME who kept putting off reviewing a white paper draft?

Maybe English wasn’t their first language.

Or maybe they weren’t sure how to express their comments on your draft.

But they were too embarrassed to admit it.

Here’s a smart way around that:

1. Schedule a meeting or Zoom, and read the draft out loud to them.

This works best with a group of three or four reviewers max.

2. Invite everyone to interrupt if they have any questions, if they disagree with anything you just read, or if they can’t understand something.

3. Listen carefully, don’t get defensive, and attempt to resolve each comment. At least ask around the table if anyone else has the same view.

4. Try to re-word any troublesome sentences on the fly and get everyone’s okay.

This reading-out-loud approach can feel like slow-going.

But it’s really a win-win:

  • You get your comments
  • Everyone feels like you listened to them
  • Some reviewers gain more confidence
  • You come away with a corrected draft

This simple trick can save days or weeks of review time or get a white paper that’s stuck in reviews moving again.


White Paper Review latest

New service: Get a video review of your white paper

Did you know I have a YouTube show with my buddy Brian Boys?

Click here to check out the latest episode.

Every show, we review white papers the way movie critics review films.

We choose a white paper we really like—a good example—and then one we think needs a lot of help—a bad example.

By watching along, you’ll learn how big companies can embarrass themselves with a bad white paper and how much small firms can level the playing field by doing a good white paper.

Now we’re getting requests from marketers for custom reviews of their draft white papers.

So—by popular demand—we’re announcing a new service for 2023.

Need expert help on your white paper?

Now you can hire us to review your white paper and give you concrete advice to make it better.

You get our undivided attention in a 45-minute private video, plus a PDF of our “Top 3 Recommendations.”

And we’ll be nice, we promise. Our goal is to help you make your white paper even stronger.

Here’s what a recent client said about this service:

“Thank you so much for your excellent review of my white paper. Lots to digest but it’s the kind of gentle, constructive observations and recommendations expected from two experts.”

Carl Husa, white paper writer

The cost is a one-time fee of $500… one-third less than I used to charge for a written review.

So if you have a white paper you’d like us to review, just let me know.


Congrats to our January book winner!

Last issue, I asked you to send in your resolutions for your writing career in 2023.

We got more entries than for any other Book Giveaway yet!

Once again, we selected one entry at random. And our winner is Redante Asuncion-Reed from the Philippines, who specializes in tech for non-profits.

Here, with his permission, are his career resolutions for 2023.

Redante Asuncion-Reed

Redante Asuncion-Reed

1. What do you plan to do differently?

“I plan on devoting much more time and effort to marketing and venturing deeper into the content marketing industry.

“As someone who wants to make a career change from the non-profit world, having a full-time job really hampered my efforts last year.

“Now that I’m a full-time freelancer, I have the time and energy to devote to this effort.”

2. Where will you put more time, energy, and resources?

“I plan on devoting more time to networking on LinkedIn, reading industry newsletters, responding to announcements for job ads from specialized jobs newsletters, and reaching out to content marketing agencies.”

3. Where will you venture out of your comfort zone?

“I plan on devoting more time to networking with folks who work in agencies, circulating in online communities like Superpath, and guest blogging on reputable websites in my niche (technology for non-profits).”

I certainly wish Redante all the very best with his goals!

For his free book, he chose a Kindle version of the AP Stylebook. Great

At the end of 2023, I’d like to check back with everyone who sent in resolutions to see how it went.

Of course, you don’t need to enter a contest to make some wise plans for the year. What are you going to try this year that you never did before?

For me, I’ll be exploring AI and writing white papers with it!

Coming next issue: What ChatGPT says about writing white papers!

That’s all for this time

Can you believe it: White Paper World has been going for a full year!

Thank you for your interest and for all the kind things you’ve said about this newsletter.

If you missed anything, you can see all the previous issues here:

And if you aren’t already, make sure to subscribe 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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