When White Papers Get Poisoned (and 3 Antidotes)

“White paper” covers a multitude of formats, and it’s rare to find two people who take it to mean the same thing. Poisoned white papers harm the publisher more than the reader, but there are antidotes. I’ve looked at a half-dozen documents called “white papers” in the last few days and marveled at the variety […]

Earning Your Customers’ Trust – Your Writer Can Help

Your marketing communications play a big role in earning your customers’ trust. Writers can help with this, but it’s not easy to get them to do so. With its 2010 Trust Barometer, the public relations firm Edelman reports that 83% of U.S. consumers value transparent and honest practices, and a company being a “company I […]

Don’t Explain. Tell Your Story.

Try to think of your ideal reader as a child. Have you ever met a child who preferred an explanation over a story? Explaining makes for lousy marketing. Dan Heath, Fast Company Writing for a Child As a marketing manager, have you ever thought of your ideal reader as a child? We learn not to […]

4 Ways to Get Your Story Out of the Content Tar Pit

Rescue your marketing communications content from the tar pit. Your readers can find it more easily and it will tell your story better. Around 1900, a few men standing near the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles, California, realized that there were animal bones in the tar. “What a find!” exclaimed the first. “We […]

Wit in Corporate Writing? 3 Places to Try It, and Lots of Places to Avoid It

Before you try to write witty corporate or marketing content, know your ideal reader intimately. Otherwise, don’t even bother. Witty? Says who? Well, that’s really what it all gets down to, then, isn’t it? Who says your writing is witty? And who gives him/her the authority to judge it? “Give me a place to stand, […]

3 Reasons Why You’ve Got a Bad Case of Bad Case Studies

Case studies can be low-hanging fruit for the marketing manager, but it’s easy to get them wrong and end up with ineffective content posing as a case study. “I’ve got a series of webinars that are recorded interviews with customers,” the director of marketing said. “I want to have the webinars transcribed, then turn the […]

“Never Mind Fixing Our Sentences. Fix Our Story.”

The marketable story is always there. It’s easy for us to lose sight of the best way to tell our story, though. And if we lose sight of it, our ideal reader will certainly never be able to find it. Hire a marketing communications writer who can tell you to cut out all the bull […]

When Graphics Get in the Way

Graphics and diagrams are at the heart of good marketing communications, but your writer can’t always make them work for a written piece. The deadline loomed, and still I had no more than an outline from the writer. “What’s taking so long?” I asked. “I think I have writer’s block,” replied the writer. “You don’t […]

Hire a Writer Who Understands “Following”

At its core, the goal of a marketing effort these days is to create a following and start conversations that include you. Hire a writer who understands how you want to go about it. My friend and colleague John Bromhead is fond of saying, Marketing is the process of starting a conversation. David Meerman Scott […]

Is Your White Paper a Y.A.W.N.E.R.?

Your white papers are good incentive content. If you think nobody’s reading them, maybe it’s because the ideal readers cannot find them. It’s hard not to feel good about having a white paper to give prospects, even harder when you have an entire library of them. If well done, they demonstrate the willingness to align […]