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A Customer's Perspective


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#1 iamlost

iamlost

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Posted 30 September 2011 - 02:02 PM

Miriam (aka SEOigloo) has written a superb 'white paper' quality article analysing a simple consumer activity, that of buying car tires. There is so much value to small business, webdevs, SEOs, et al in it that I strongly urge everyone to not only read it but print it out to show clients.

This is just a blog post so it does not go as 'white paper' breadth and depth as it might have but the high (and low) points are noted and discussed. Indeed I recommend that Miriam find the time (ha! :)) to take this post that extra step and actually create a white paper. Could be the start of an additional business hook.

An Inside Look At How I Chose 1 Local Tire Shop Out Of The 7-Pack, SEO Igloo Blog, 29-September-2011.

Note: even the chosen shop was far from perfect. Once again a huge problem is obviously no strategic business operations plan; no continuity of customer service, customer experience from social to site to B&M or indeed within each. It is sadly common to be so deep in the ruts of day to day operations that one loses sight of the 'overview': the slow death of well meaning mediocrity.

#2 bwelford

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Posted 30 September 2011 - 03:56 PM

A really worth-while read as you say, iamlost.

:applause:

I'm somewhat intrigued that you think it would be worth putting effort in to make this a white paper.

That raises three questions in my mind.

1. What should be added to turn it into a white paper?

2. How would you promote it differently as a white paper?

3. What additional benefits would arise to Miriam, if it was a white paper and was well promoted?

#3 iamlost

iamlost

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Posted 30 September 2011 - 07:51 PM

white paper: an authoritative report on a specific issue; especially one that:
---educates;
---offers solutions to described problems;
---provides philosophical and operational context to product or service discussed.
A white paper provides background and other supporting information that validates a proffered product or service. Put another way, a white paper is a long form objective soft sell of solutions to a specific business problem.

The value of a quality white paper is manifold:
* to educate prospective clients either before or after contact.
* to generate leads.
* to illuminate capability and expertise.

To succeed a white paper must:
* be objective, i.e. citing outside sources is de rigueur, every claim substantiated;
* provide a sufficiency of appropriate technical detail;
* speak clearly to and from the level of the intended audience.
If intended for multiple audiences (1) never speak 'down', and (2) consider writing different sections at different levels, i.e. summary at one, general body at another, technical appendices in a third.

Exemplary research and superb copywriting, proofing, and editing is a base requirement. White papers should be viewed as the cream of marketing content - rich and fulfilling.

Do all web published 'white papers' meet the above criteria?
No.
And that means an available competitive advantage exists.

1. What should be added to turn it into a white paper?
2. How would you promote it differently as a white paper?
3. What additional benefits would arise to Miriam, if it was a white paper and was well promoted?

1. What to add would depend on it's purpose, i.e. what business problem(s) is it meant to highlight and solve?
Perhaps replicate the tire scenario in other locales, perhaps replicate with different niches; primarily to deepen evidence of 'the' problem.

Identify each failing, explain why it is a failure, what choices are available as solutions. Quote, cite, and otherwise validate what you say with what others have said. Formalise the format with summary and appendices bracketing the body of content.

2. White papers are stand alone value offerings. As such they can be 'gifts' for signing up to newsletter; there are white paper directories, niche listing services, etc.; news organisations take white papers seriously, often citing them and their authors; etc.

3. A number of benefits should be clear from the foregoing. We know Miriam's expertise, white papers are a non-testimonial (perhaps a self-testimonial?) method of exhibiting/marketing such to the wider world. Indeed white papers tend to be a greater draw/resource than testimonials. And can create solid backlink value too.



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