B2B White Paper Interviews – 7 Questions (Part 2)

Subject matter experts (SMEs) have the story in their heads. White papers help make that story readable, and these questions help build the paper. Continuing from the previous post on interviews and how to write them up into a white paper, here are 4 more customer interview questions for generating the information readers want to […]

“Who is the Audience for this Piece?”

Too much focus on your ideal reader is a good thing. It’s the marketing communications writer’s job to enforce that focus. My new client’s CTO is bright and busy, and he talks fast. I was on time for my appointment in his office to interview him on server virtualization, and before I’d gotten to my […]

Show Me Some Marketing Science

How do your co-workers view Marketing? Do they understand what you do, and why it isn’t Sales? Show them some science. Leon Sterling of Compelling Concepts wrote last week about the blurred (or missing) distinction between Marketing and Sales in the minds of most people in a given organization. True, Marketing is strategy and Sales […]

4 Elements of a White Paper Outline

White papers – or any long pieces – need structure, and you need to agree on the structure before you write the paper. Be sure your writer includes these elements in an outline. How often do you get started down a path in your work, only to realize you have to backtrack and go down […]

3 Ways to Make Your Subject Matter Experts Think

In a customer interview, your marketing communications writer can get more out of interviewees or subject matter experts if she can make them think. Years ago, my boss at the time, a VP of marketing, gave me the secret to working with our infuriating, inscrutable, mercurial CEO: You’ve got to make him think. Frankly, I […]

“You Want Research with that Paper?”

The last time you hired a writer for a white paper, did you have all of the information ready for her or not? Think about three scenarios before you contact – let alone hire – the writer: Ducks in a row You already have available all of the relevant material the writer will need. It […]

A Case Study That Didn’t Go Well

“We need you to interview the VP of marketing at Zog Systems and write up a case study on how they use our software tools,” said the product manager. To me. “But if you want a technical case study, why interview the VP of marketing?” “He’s the interview we can get. Make it work.” Now, […]

Preparing the SME

When you hire a writer to interview a subject matter expert (SME) or a customer, you have a bit of work to do on both sides of the relationship. Tell the writer about the interviewee’s specialty and personal characteristics, the kinds of information to elicit, and what you want out of the interview. If I […]

The Big “E” of Review Loops

Review loops rarely go fast enough for me. I spend a lot of time reminding – “pestering” is a less compassionate way of putting it – reviewers to turn copy around, because writers need time to incorporate changes, and some reviewers forget that until the eleventh hour, then expect final copy in no time flat. […]

Breathing life into a bag of bullets

Corporate life is one slide deck after another. The success of a marketing manager is often measured by how well we design, organize and circulate them. There’s no denying, though, that most slide decks – pardon me for avoiding the trademarked term, “P****P***t,” from the company in Redmond – are pretty dry. There’s also no […]