Reason #8 – Wrong Situation
My daughter works at the local movie theater. In training, they taught her to up-sell at the concession stand. But even a teenager selling popcorn at the movie theater doesn’t try to up-sell the customer before that customer even approaches the concessions counter.
There are different white papers for different situations. In-the-trenches white papers focused on technical minutia are very different documents from numbered lists.
According to Gordon Graham (aka the White Paper Guy), there are three types of white papers:
1. The Backgrounder – Describing the benefits and features of a product.
2. The Numbered List – Highlighting some aspects of an issue.
3. Problem/Solution – Recommending a solution to a difficult problem.
Each of these documents can be an important form of marketing material, but each must be used int eh appropriate situation. Imagine giving a backgrounder to somebody who doesn’t even realize a problem exists. What interest does that reader have in a solution to a problem they don’t think exists?
Imagine giving a 75-page document that goes into PhD-level technical details to the CEO who just wants a problem solved, and hires engineers to solve them.
These are two situations where the wrong white paper is put into somebody’s hands. Creating good content is important, but just as important is delivering the right content to the right reader.
This post originally appeared in my LinkedIn account.