White papers serve as amazing promotional materials for businesses. Have you ever wondered how to write white papers of your own?
White papers allow companies to share their knowledge and expertise with their target audiences. Often, these white papers are offered in exchange for a valid email address. The audience gets to learn about the company through the white paper, and the company that offers the white paper is able to build a database of email subscribers for future communication.
White papers are a perfect example of content marketing, because the audience is able to familiarize themselves with the company before deciding whether or not they want to spend their money.
We write papers for our clients all the time, so let’s run through the two most effective strategies.
What is voice? In writing, voice is the style or personality of the writer or narrator.
But that’s not the whole story.
I’m a conversationalist. By that, I mean that I thrive on connections, and if I’m telling you a story, I want it to feel as if I’m talking to one of my closest pals. Yes, audience, I consider you my compadres. My authentic voice is that of a friend. When you read my writing, I want you to relate to me, and feel as if you could interject and share your opinions with me. (This is always welcomed in the comment section!)
It’s great to connect with your readers, but a conversational tone isn’t for every writer. It’s certainly not for all companies.
In fact, I don’t always have the opportunity or desire to write like a “friend.” My tone changes based on the client I’m working with. When writing for the medical profession, the voice is often authoritative and professional, informed by extensive interviews with the client. If writing for a yoga practice, I may take on a relaxed, rhetorical style. Your brand will define your voice. The better you know your brand and the message you want to share with the world, the better grasp you’ll have on how to deliver that message.
Start with storytelling: Marketing follows naturally.
Once upon a time in a land far, far away lived a young, fair maiden who dreamed of a life far more enchanting. Like any courageous maiden, she fled the confines of her castle to explore the world around her. She met mysterious strangers – some she grew to love, others she chose to learn from. The maiden took chances, made mistakes, and learned more on her journey than she could have ever imagined.
But who is this young, fair lady? Could it be Belle from Beauty and the Beast? Possibly. Could it be Carrie in Sex and the City? Maybe. Could it be me? Perhaps.
The story could be about anyone. The who doesn’t necessarily make a difference (yet). The importance of the story is that it captured your attention, which is exactly what I hoped to do.
But it certainly won’t keep you here.
Illustrated by Elly Walton
Door-to-door salesmen have a few things right. It’s hard to say no to someone who’s standing on your doorstep with a rusty Dodge in your driveway and a “Baby on Board” sign in the window. “I’ll listen to what this guy has to say,” you think. An hour later, there’s a new vacuum cleaner in your living room.
More than that, door-to-door salesmen don’t walk up with the new Power-Hoover-Sucker-Upper-in-Titanium-Blue and say, “Look at this vacuum cleaner! You totally need one! Everyone else has one, shouldn’t you?!”
The one thing most social media professionals won’t confess to a potential client on a first date is that the No. 1 return on their investment will be loyalty.
Nobody wants to hear that.
I know, because as a business selling social media services, I have to “sell” the concept of loyalty more often than I should. Loyalty? BAH! Show me the green! Let’s just say our all-organic-all-the-time foundation keeps us very selective about who we work with. BuzzFarmers, remember?
And are their opportunities for e-commerce? Sure, especially if you’re an e-commerce driven company. But the reason why most companies aren’t seeing an immediate return on their investment for social media, and the reason why social media is moving toward a branding function where companies buy followers, more than a marketing function where companies earn them, is because the return on your social media investment takes time.
For example …
Illustrated by David Flanagan
Recently, Amanda discussed on the Swipely blog how the business applications of “Big Data” is a concept that has been getting a lot of attention in the media during the recent election season. Big Data – or a massive set of data that can be too big to handle, interpret, and read without the help of technology – can also provide tremendous insights and opportunities.
Why is this important, and what can you do with the data once you’ve collected it? Thinking about the psychology and science of behavior (in this case, spending habits), is one way to use Big Data to make connections that will be useful in building loyalty in your business.
It was a close call, but we almost saw the demise of our favorite childhood golden treat—the Twinkie. But how did it almost happen? Did we take them for granted? They’re on a shelf in every convenience store, how did we miss them? Did people stop liking them? DOUBTFUL (amiright?). Even the fried Twinkie trend didn’t stop them from almost dropping out of existance.
But Harvard Business Review (disclosure: Harvard is a client) posted something about Hostess during this desperate time that I think is so important:
“Hostess established a relationship with us as consumers, but over time that foundation didn’t do enough to keep us engaged.”
People often sell products and services better than websites do. That’s why automated systems don’t do telesales and why door-to-door salesmen can still make a living (once you let them in). It’s also why video marketing is successful.
Transacting with a real human not only reduces the chances of rejection, but it also induces the fuzzy feeling we get when we talk to new, interesting strangers.
Would you like to be a new, interesting stranger? You do if you have a product or service to sell. After that stage, you want to be a loyal friend who always has the best answers and is willing to bend over backward to make their friends happy.
Customer service is an art form that local mom and pop shops and independent small business have perfected.
Here are a few ways that you can start humanizing your business today, right now, right this minute. Some of them are through social media and blogging, others are through basic human connection.