November 27, 2006

Do Your White Papers Flatter Your Audience?

Do you know the difference between flattery and a compliment? According to Mike Siger's Simplenomic blog: "A compliment is what the person wanted to hear, while flattery is praise to which he is totally indifferent." When it comes to your white papers, do they tell your audience what they want to hear by giving them valuable information to solve problems, or does it flatter them by giving them information that you want them to read to which they are completely indifferent? Many white papers spend too much space self-promoting the sponsoring company, touting market leadership, or provide non-related product information that creates reader indifference. When an executive reads this kind of information they will either stop reading it, fail to pass it on to another individual, or place your white paper in the "circular file". To ensure white paper success, make sure it compliments your audience, by providing information that they want to read, which allows them to retain clear and logical solutions to their specific problems. Some ideas for a complimentary-style white paper include:

  • Provide current statistics that educate your audience and reinforce your point-of-view.
  • Provide realistic and accurate examples of customer problems.
  • Make sure your solution advantages addresses how to solve those problems in detail.
  • Provide visual enhancements to describe both problems and solutions so that your reader doesn't have to wade through several paragraphs before they can grasp key points.
  • Provide a strong conclusion that translates specific attributes into business benefits.
Have you ever read a white paper that flatters their audience. I'd like to hear about your experience. Please help support us with your blog link. Thank you!


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