Outsourcing White Papers

Wednesday, April 16, 2008 by Mistlee

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Outsourcing White Papers

By Michael Stelzner

Do you work for a company that produces white papers in-house? Is the quality a bit shy of fair?

I recently received an email from a gal named Beth about this very issue. Here's her question:

I have been writing the bulk of the white papers, and our lead generation from them has been strong. However, I also have other responsibilities and department managers are trying to move white paper writing to 'non-writers,' such as product managers.

I am, at the moment, the white paper editor. Most of the white papers coming to me require more time to edit than it would have taken me to write them.

I would like to make the case for having our white papers written by knowledgeable writers and hire 'real' writers.

Do you think there is a case for using 'real' writers, and do you have suggestions on how to make it?

Beth, this is a great question. What follows is my response:

Beth, first realize you are NOT alone.

You would be surprised by the number of folks I speak to that are in your shoes.

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So here's how you make the case:

1. Ask why the company is producing white papers? In your case we know it is for lead generation. Keep this little fact handy.

2. Use a parallel example: If you are a software company, ask if they would ever consider having marketing do software development. Pretty quickly they should understand that writing is a skill, just like engineering. Go back to point number 1 above and ask them if they are willing to risk a paper that doesn't resonate with readers.

3. Use proof points: Show the results from projects written by you vs. those produced by product managers.

4. Ask how important the project is: If the business is reliant on the marketing success of the paper, you have a good argument to outsource to a pro.

5. Look at the calender: Ask how quickly the project needs to be completed. Our studies show it is a 40 hour commitment for an untrained white paper professional. Ask if the manager has an "extra" week on top of his or her other duties.

6. Run the numbers: Calculate the time of the manager and your time to do edits. Determine the cost to the company based on average salaries. Chances are it's costing MORE than if it was outsourced.

7. ?? Let's hear from you. What are your ideas?


About the Author:
Visit http://www.writingwhitepapers.com/blog/ for extensive resources on crafting compelling white papers and applying creative marketing tactics.

Michael A. Stelzner is the author of the new book Writing White Papers: How to Capture Readers and Keep Them Engaged and has written nearly 100 white papers for companies such as Microsoft, FedEx, Motorola, Monster and SAP.
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