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Writers: Five strategies for finding white paper clients

Are you a writer looking for white paper clients?

Here are five high-level strategies for finding them when you’re just starting out. 

Some of these efforts can take days or weeks to implement, but the payoff is worth it.

photo of fingers typing on keyboard

Of course, you already know the three big questions that show whether any company needs white papersRight?

These five added strategies include building up your confidence, taking care of inbound and outbound marketing, and never saying you’re too busy.

Client-finding strategy #1: Build your confidence

Working as a writer, you have no doubt accumulated a lot of knowledge in certain domains.

Take a few minutes to take stock of every area you have written about over the years.

Next, generalize that knowledge. Ask yourself which vertical markets your knowledge touches; then ask which horizontal business functions that involves.

This exercise will likely generate an impressive list of your existing knowledge. All the better to answer that question clients love to ask, “Have you ever written about… ?”

Client-finding strategy #2: Pick low-hanging fruit

This means finding work in the easiest possible way: helping others who already write white papers.

Do your existing clients do white papers? Do they outsource them to an experienced white paper writer? Or to a creative agency?

Approach all three sources and ask how you can help with their white papers. And don’t leave what you could do up to their imagination.

Propose some concrete tasks you can do:

  • Research
  • Proofreading
  • Minor revisions
  • Formatting
  • Editing for house style or clarity
  • Relieving someone during vacation, illness or maternity leave

Client-finding strategy #3: Develop your inbound marketing

Inbound marketing means attracting clients to you, through marketing with content or internet marketing.

To achieve this, I suggest you build up your web presence, create a “buzz piece”—a white paper of your own to attract leads—and learn how to use social media in a skilful way.

As you start to write white papers, gather good samples and testimonials and publish them on your website for future prospects to see.

If you dislike selling, like most writers, this is the best way for you to start.

Client-finding strategy #4: Develop your outbound marketing

Outbound marketing is the opposite: going out and pitching your services to prospective clients through traditional selling.

One proven technique is to draw up a list of Dream Clients you would love to work with.

Then study each one, analyze the white papers they do, and find out who there is responsible for white papers.

When you have enough samples and testimonials, approach each Dream Client in turn, perhaps one a day or one a week, depending on how hungry you are.

Use a combination of direct mail, e-mail and phone calls. Don’t expect a mass e-mail to get you anywhere.

If you like selling, unlike most writers, this is probably the best way to go.

Client-finding strategy #5: Keep doing whatever works for you

No list can possibly sum up every sales and marketing method, or predict which ones will work for you.

Try everything you can… and when you find something that generates business, keep on using it.

You may find—as I did—that before you get to the end of this list, you’re already busy writing white papers.

But never stop marketing. Never say you’re too busy.

White papers are lengthy projects. You may be jammed up this week… but will you still be busy six or eight weeks from now?

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About Gordon Graham

Worked on 300 white papers on everything from choosing enterprise software to designing virtual worlds for kids, for clients from Silicon Valley to Switzerland, from household names like Google and Verizon to tiny startups with big ideas. Wrote White Papers for Dummies which earned more than 50 5-star ratings on Amazon. And named 2019 Copywriter of the Year by AWAI, the world's leading training organization for professional copywriters.

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  1. Paolo on February 25, 2018 at 1:03 pm

    Hello Graham,

    I was intrigued with Client Finding Strategy #4: writing your own white paper. My big question is for someone has never written a white paper sample, what exactly do I write about for my first sample?

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