I have never been a big fan of tri-fold brochures that attempt to convince me that I should buy a particular product or sign up for a certain service. These marketing materials tend not to be persuasive enough due to the fact that information has been crammed into a limited space. The customer benefits are not always obvious, contrary to emotional appeal – nice images, unusual fonts and unique paper may catch my attention, but not for long.
White papers appeal more to me as they provide logic through facts, statistics and quotes from end users or industry experts. They are not flashy, but usually filled with facts. For me, they are much more informative. I consider writing a good white paper a real art form as the author has to be a good researcher, persuasive essayist and a marketer all at once. At the same time, a good balance between the right amount of facts, images, quotes and often industry terms has to be achieved. Case studies tend to focus on customer stories and testimonials whereas white papers add a touch of credibility through unbiased information.
High quality content is becoming increasingly important as people crave useful information and have access to growing number of information channels before making buying decisions. All marketing materials should educate; therefore, business people, especially marketers, need to become avid readers and dedicated students to continuously improve their skills. I am planning to master the art of writing effective white papers in 2010 to deliver quality leads for my own business and customers. I encourage you to do the same. Good content leads to good customers.