White Paper Writing Tips

Thursday, February 21, 2008 by Mistlee

White Paper Writing Tips

By Michael Stelzner

Are you a freelancer looking to tap into the lucrative white paper writing world?

I get a lot of emails from folks who are just starting out.

Here is an email I recently received from Mike (great name you have there):

I have a question regarding how to begin writing white papers. I've been freelancing for several years now, and am thinking about transitioning into white paper writing. I've read your book and it helped a lot.

The question I have is: When you have little experience writing white papers is it acceptable to "fake it"?

What I mean, is it okay to create some mock white papers to use as samples when pitching to companies? Obviously, I'd make them aware - if they ask - that they're simply mock-ups and not try to pass them off as the real thing.

Here's my answer:

The fact is that writing a white paper is a SIGNIFICANT effort.

I would hate to see you spin your wheels on a mock project that might get you in legal trouble down the road.

I think a better approach is to pick a few prospects (or one) and offer to do a white paper for nothing in exchange for being able to post it on your site OR show it to prospects.

What's great about this approach is the client might actually hire you to do the next one.

Alternatively, you could write a white paper about something you are familiar with or an expert on.

For example, let's say you have a kite building hobby. You might want to come up with a paper that talks about the virtues of a specific type of kite construction.

While you most likely are not targeting kite companies in your freelance business, you can write about something you are passionate about and have a good example in your quiver.

Folks, keep bringing on the questions!

Tell me, how did you get started writing white papers? Any tips you might suggest?

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