Beware the Statistical Rathole

Marketing communications copy lives and breathes statistics, the life-blood of persuasion. What if your client doesn’t want anything to do with them? “I’d like to cite some figures in this paper about adoption rates for this technology,” said the marketing communications writer. “Can we find data on how sales are rising from year to year?” […]

Statistics in Your Content – Make Sure They Stick

How are you using statistics in your content? Sparingly, I hope. Your readers can remember only so many numbers at a time. Make sure they stick. Industry colleague Renato Beninatto was improvising the answer to a question posed to him at a live presentation when he uttered the most memorable factoid I’ve ever heard: Keep […]

Marketing Manager vs. Entrepreneur-exhaust

Entrepreneurs breathe their own exhaust. Marketing managers ask the audience what it thinks and try to keep entrepreneur-exhaust from poisoning it. The DEMO Innovation Tour came to town last week and held a reception at the office of one of the sponsors. Plenty of entrepreneurs were there, and their enthusiasm was palpable. In fact, it […]

Steal This White Paper Outline!

The first step in writing a white paper is an outline, which acts as a skeleton that you flesh out with evidence and persuasion. My post last October, 4 Elements of a White Paper Outline, resulted in a large number of visits, so I’ll go into more detail in this post. As a matter of […]

Is the Marketing Writer Up to It? Four Questions

A good marketing communications writer is versatile, but don’t push it. Everybody’s talent stops somewhere. How thin can you spread your marcomm writer? Can she do a good job on everything you need, like: white papers Web content technology overviews case studies press releases corporate backgrounders annual reports blog posts SEO copywriting (isn’t that redundant […]

Marketing Writing or Corporate Cheerleading?

What’s in your content: Marketing writing or corporate cheerleading? A parable for the marketing manager. A dear friend who does a lot of business writing once remarked, Compact, compelling copy that doesn’t fall into business jargon is tough.  So much of it is fake words strung together with cheerleading. I’ve mulled that over for a […]

Castrating Your White Paper in 1 Easy Step

Step 1: Cut off its graphics. The writer was not happy. “I put a lot of time, thought and effort into the graphics I used for that white paper, and the client pulled out every last one of them before publishing the piece. It’s an eight-page wall of text now. What a waste!” She showed […]

Meat or Muffins? Be Sure the Writer Knows

The writer did what we told him to do when we hired him. “Write a series of technical articles to help evangelize the technology,” we said, “two to three pages each. They should introduce developers and customers to the new features they can use in programming on the platform. We need to get the word […]

“Let’s Have the Tech Writers Do It”

A chief technology officer and a VP of Engineering were talking about an upcoming product launch. Both agreed that the new features were a big leap forward, worthy of a white paper. “We’ll need a white paper to explain the advantages,” said one. “We need to get existing customers to upgrade, but they won’t do […]

Call to (In)action

“Who is the audience?” “What do you want them to do after they’ve read the piece?” One of our writers systematically asks these questions at the outset of every project. It’s a bit oppressive at times – I can remember when it was refreshing – but it does keep us on our toes. She’s particularly […]