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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.

Of course, you already know the three simple 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

In your working life, you have no doubt accumulated a lot of knowledge in certain domains.

Take a few minutes to take stock of every area where you have worked or anything 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 like HR or R&D that touches.

This exercise will likely generate an impressive list of your existing knowledge.

All the better to answer that question prospective clients love to ask, “Have you ever written about… ?”

If you can answer, “Sure, I know about… !” you will be much closer to landing the project.


ripe apples hanging on a branch

Client-finding strategy #2: Pick the 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

magnet to signify inbound promotions


Think of a magnet.

Inbound marketing means attracting clients to you, mainly through the web.

When you get inbound marketing working properly, prospective clients call you.

To achieve this, build up your online presence.

Finetune your LinkedIn profile.

If you like, create a modest website in WordPress.


Perhaps create a “buzz piece” or a white paper of your own to attract leads.

And learn how to use social media in a skillful 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

megaphone used for outbound promotions

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

Think of a megaphone.

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 at the company is responsible for white papers.


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

Use some combination of LinkedIn, e-mail, direct 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 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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  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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