|I'm Dreaming of a White ... Paper
Seems every time I turn around someone is asking me to write a white paper. And why not? A survey of more than 500 C-suite executives found that white papers were ranked as the most influential content among collateral marketing materials.
As Michael Stelzner, the author of Writing White Papers: How to Capture Readers and Keep Them Engaged, wrote: “The old-fashioned way of selling—advertising, traditional press releases and product marketing—doesn’t work anymore. These days, educational marketing is much more effective and that’s where white papers come in.”
To understand what a white paper is, it’s probably easiest to understand what it is not. It is not filled with product features and propaganda, poorly written, devoid of actionable information, missing references, opinionated, unengaging, “salesy,” esoteric, or technically complex.
It is persuasive, offering new information (or, at least, information presented in a new way) and providing value. It should be well constructed, well written, and engaging, with a goal of eliciting confidence that the author is a thought leader and subject matter expert. It should also be well designed and have various entry points, since that’s how we read these days.
Perhaps most important, it should be search-engine optimized because the goal, after all, is to drive potential clients to your website where they provide their contact information in order to download the white paper, thus giving you sales leads.
In the past few months, I've written white papers on healthcare quality for a company that provides data around cost and quality; on physician recruitment for a recruiting company; and on the improved quality and reduced costs second opinions can bring for you guessed it's a company that provides second opinions.
None named the sponsoring company. All could stand on their own because I used credible references. And all should bring my clients business.
So, here’s my question to you … where are your white papers?
How is Healthcare Reform Affecting Your Business?
If you provide any service or product in the healthcare industry and you haven't asked yourself this question -- and incorporated the answer into your strategy -- then you're already behind the curve. The sheer magnitude of initiatives occurring under reform, including value-based purchasing, hospital consolidation, the quest for transparency, new benefit designs, and the challenges inherent in millions of newly insured Americans flooding the system, will affect any business involved in any aspect of health care.
Not sure of the answer to this question? Give me a call. I can help.
From the Office
The year 2014 is already shaping up to be a fun one.
- I'm now the subject matter expert for healthcare reform for Blue Cross Blue Shield MyBlueCommunity, answering questions, leading discussions, and posting blogs.
- In January, I'm speaking about healthcare reform to the sales force of a large healthcare publishing company so they can understand what the shifting environment means for them.
- In March, I'm giving a three-hour workshop on white papers at the annual meeting of the American Medical Writers Association’s Mid-Atlantic Chapter in Washington, DC.
- March is also the annual meeting of the Association of Healthcare Journalists in Denver. (Let me know if you're going -- I'll buy you a drink.)
- In April, I'm participating on a panel about nontraditional careers for scientists at the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology's annual meeting.
- This spring, I'm teaching a class on the US healthcare system and healthcare reform at the College of William & Mary.
Need a speaker? Some training? You know where to find me!