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White Paper World 6: July 2022


  • Fresh content: White papers and… backgammon?!
  • Quick tip: My secret weapon for “writing” white papers
  • What I’m reading: Another fine book by Bob Bly
  • Just for fun: Amaaazing dinosaurs

Fresh content: White papers and… backgammon?!

backgammon board and white paper

Believe it or not, doing a white paper is a lot like playing a game of backgammon.

Both certainly require a keen mix of planning, calculation, and luck.

What’s more, just like there are three different types of white papers, there are three different styles of backgammon play.

And just as there are three main parts to a white paper, there are three main parts to every backgammon game.

If you’ve never played backgammon, it’s an exciting and easy-to-learn game that has stood the test of time.

Check out this article on how this ancient game has many similarities with white papers today… with many tips sprinkled throughout.

And that’s not all… I’m on a mission!

Though it seems silly, this article has a serious goal.

I’ve been on a mission for more than 20 years to help people publish white papers that are more lively, engaging, and persuasive.

To further that mission, I started a series of fresh, irreverent looks at how white papers resemble some unexpected things, including:

White papers and… baking a blueberry pie?!

White papers and… George Carlin?!

White papers and… Halloween?!

White papers and… renovating a bathroom?!

White papers and… the polar vortex?!

In each piece, I include whatever parallels occur to me plus some useful tips on how to make your own white papers better.

I hope you find these entertaining and informative.

Please let me know if you like them, or if you think I should Stop. Right. Now.

Drop me a line with your thoughts at Gordon AT


Gordon Graham's hands showing finger joints pinned

Quick tip: My secret weapon for “writing” white papers

Yes, that’s a current photograph of my hands! I’ve been recovering from surgery this month, with a clown-sized bandage on my pinky.

That’s finger #3 where I’ve had the small joint removed and the bones fused together. And I’ll soon be getting that done on finger #4.

Turns out that 50+ years of pounding on keyboards plus 35 years of clicking on a mouse have worn out several of my joints.

That’s osteoarthritis, folks, aka wear-and-tear on the joints.

Having one hand out of commission has renewed my use of dictation, especially now that’s it built right into Word.

I’ve used voice recognition software for decades, and I often think it’s been one of the secret weapons of my writing career.

After all, a classic bit of advice to writers is to “write like you speak.”

So why not write AS you speak?

Why not dictate the first draft of your next white paper?

Here are just a few of the benefits:

  • It’s 2.5X faster than typing.
  • It leaves your hands free to juggle through sources.
  • It removes more of the clunky machine interface between you and your thoughts.
  • It’s free with Microsoft 365 or Google Docs with Chrome.

If you’ve never tried it, click the Dictate button on the Home ribbon in Word.

Dictation feature in Word

You may find it a bit weird to say things like:

“New line If you’ve never tried it comma click the Dictate button…”

But it won’t take long to get the hang of it.

Word Dictation Cheat Sheet July-2022

For lots more on dictation, see my article “Tips on using dictation software to write.

And to help you get started here’s a free cheat sheet on how to dictate punctuation and symbols into Word.

Happy dictating your next white paper!


What I’m reading: Another fine book by Bob Bly

I have plenty of books by Bob Bly—the copywriter’s copywriter—on my shelves. And every so often, I add another.

handbook of Content Marketing book cover


His recent book The Content Marketing Handbook is a treasure trove of insightful tips and advice.

Anyone who reads this book will understand content marketing better than a lot of people now working in this field.

It covers all the fundamentals, the best practices for various formats, how to use content to boost traffic, and much more.

Naturally, I turned eagerly to the chapter on creating white papers and special reports.



And I was treated to the best 17 pages of advice on writing long-form content I’ve ever seen.

For a recap of what Bly says about white papers, especially what to include and what to leave out, check out my full review of this book.


screenshot from Prehistoric Planet

Just for fun: Amaaazing dinosaurs!

Back in 1990, Jurassic Park used groundbreaking computer graphics to depict life-life dinosaurs.

In the latest entry in the franchise, Jurassic World Dominion, you can see photo-realistic dinosaurs menacing people in numerous settings.

I found it great fun and a worthy wrap to the franchise. Until the next movie, that is!

But if you’re not a fan of dinosaurs munching on people, you might prefer Prehistoric Planet, a BBC production on Apple TV+.

It’s worth taking a one-month free trial just to watch that show. That’s what I did.

The dinosaurs in Prehistoric Planet are not presented as marvels or terrors, but as living animals on a real-life nature show.

You see dinosaurs finding food, competing for mates, and tending their young.

You see fuzzy young dinosaurs learning to hunt, swim, or fly.

And you see dinosaurs like you’ve never seen them before… not even in the Jurassic franchise.

If you like dinosaurs as much as I like dinosaurs, treat yourself to both these shows.

dinosaur business man holding a white paper

P.S. Are white papers like dinosaurs?

Reading about dinosaurs has nowhere near the same impact as watching one of these shows.

So does that mean white papers are as dead as the dinosaurs?

Why not forget about publishing written white papers and do all our marketing with videos and social media?

Most B2B marketing managers just don’t have the experience or the budget to direct a lively, professional, effective video.

Besides, B2B prospects expect to do more than watch videos. They expect to read and talk and think about any big decision.

The same goes for social media. No one does due diligence on a million-dollar decision simply by reading Tweets and looking at Pinterest.

So B2B marketers wisely save video for what it does best: engaging new prospects via short explainer videos.

They use social media for what it does best: Pointing to more substantial content.

And they use white papers for what they do best: Showing how they have the best solution to a nagging business problem.


That’s all for this time

If you liked this e-newsletter, please forward it to a colleague who’s 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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