4 Surprising Traits Clients Want in a White Paper Writer

I had an opportunity recently to interview some clients about their experience with white paper writers. (As well as those who write special reports, ebooks, and other types of “long form” content.) The results were interesting — to say the least. Much of what these clients said didn’t surprise me. For example, they were unanimous that “meeting deadlines” was a desirable trait. However, there were a few characteristics they emphasized that I didn’t expect to hear. So if you write white papers — or are thinking of getting into this niche — take a look at the list below. These are traits you may not have realized are so important to clients. (I didn’t.) 1. A fan of white papers. This is the trait that surprised me the most. Many clients I spoke to preferred to work with writers who have a demonstrated interest in white papers. As one client put it, “I want a writer to be a fan, to read white papers, to have an opinion as to which ones are great. And why.” That makes sense. After all, there’s a reason Stephen King writes suspense. He’s a fan of the genre. White papers, too, is a genre. So if you’re going to craft these documents, read them. Study them. Become an aficionado. 2. A strategist. Almost unanimously, clients told me they want a writer who can strategize the development of a white paper. That means collaborating with the client to develop the topic and approach, dream up a great title, and basically be the brains behind the piece. Strategist. And writer. One client put it this way, “I...

How to Write a Sales Email That Works

Chances are, you receive dozens of “sales emails” in your inbox each day. You ignore most of them for a myriad of reasons: too long, too spammy, I-don’t-know-this-guy, boring, not relevant to me, hyped-up drivel, and so forth. That should give you an idea of what you’re up against when you need to craft a email to a prospect, client or customer. So how do you write one that works? (Gets opened, gets read, gets acted upon.) As someone who does this for a living, I wish the process were mysterious and complex — like brain surgery. The truth is, writing a persuasive email that gets the job done is remarkably simple. It’s all in the prep. Simply start by asking yourself these three “prep questions”: What do I want to say? Why is this important to the prospect? What “next step” do I want the prospect to take? Say, for example, your company offers a bookkeeping service for veterinary clinics. You’ve got some hot leads you want to follow-up on. So you decide to send each an email to, hopefully, get them to set up an initial phone meeting with you. Here’s how you would use the prep questions above to write that email… What do you want to say? Your answer might be: 1) Thank you for downloading the report. 2) Our bookkeeping service is exclusively for veterinarian clinics. 3) The number one benefit of our service is faster cash flow due to better insurance billing bookkeeping and management. So now that you’ve figured out what to say, can’t you just say it and be done with...

How To Write Faster Than a Superhero

Confession: I’m a fan of the superhero The Flash. If you’re at all familiar with comic book lore, you know that this is the guy who runs super, super fast. Why am I a fan? There’s something about being able to go “zoom” and you’re “there” — in seconds — that somehow appeals to me. Yet, despite his talent for sprinting faster than a Hennessey Venom, I’m fairly certain that The Flash can’t write any speedier than the rest of us. In fact, he would probably appreciate getting some practical tips on writing faster, more easily, and with a lot less stress. So, with that in mind, here are some strategies that have helped boost my writing productivity. Some of these may work for you, even if you’re not a superhero. 1. Create a “tent pole” outline Forget about the detailed, paragraph-by-paragraph outline your grade eight teacher taught you to create. In my experience, that just makes the writing process longer. Instead, simply make a list of points you want to make in roughly the order you want to make them in. These are your “tent poles”. Trust me. They’ll make the actual writing a lot easier. 2. Write and polish your opening first I spend a lot of time crafting the headline and opening few sentences. Once I have those in place, I find that the rest of the article, web page, sales letter, or whatever it is I’m writing, comes together quickly. Writing and polishing your opening is like pulling the starter cord on a lawnmower. It revs things up and gets things moving. Just having that finished...