Creating a Free Gift Article, aka White Paper

Posted on May 4, 2012

Creating a Free Gift Article, aka White Paper

We are just finishing up our new “free gift article” (aka white paper), Business Blog:  50 Things to Blog About, and the experience is exceeding my expectations.   A white paper  is a way of sharing valuable knowledge or experience to visitors to your website.  They can be posted there, or offered via e-mail (in exchange for your name and e-mail address).   They are a great way to share your expertise, find new audiences, and build your connections.   Here’s what I learned creating our own white paper:

1. Choose a Topic.  Pick one that’s of interest to your customers.  Our selection of a white paper on business blogging came from conversations we have all the time on this topic:  the challenge of getting started, and the challenge of maintaining the blog.  There’s no better way to pick a topic than to listen to what customers talk about – you know the topic will be of value to them.

2. Make Time, But Set a Deadline.  Because the paper is meant to be valuable, it will be content-rich and somewhat long.  Give yourself, or your team, time to do the research and write the piece.  Do also set a deadline.  It is so easy to delay the writing if a deadline is not firm.  Believe me, I know.

3. Invest in Great Graphics.  Our own graphic designer for this piece, Caroline Haley of 312 Creative, blew us away with her design, made especially for this piece of writing.  I frequently have the pleasure of working with graphic designers.  Style matters, so whatever your budget, find a gifted graphic artist and get there help.  After all the time invested in the research and writing, the white paper and your customers, deserve the style treatment.

Our own white paper will be available shortly, so stay tuned (sign up for our newsletter on the home page if you do not want to miss it).

If you need more advice on creating a white paper for your customers, please leave me a comment, I would be happy to share more of the experience with you. – Maureen

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