Is Competition Preventing You From Releasing Your White Paper?

Thursday, May 15, 2008 by Mistlee

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Is Competition Preventing You From Releasing Your White Paper?

By Michael Stelzner

Is fear of the competition preventing you from releasing a masterful white paper?

Are you certain your ideas will be embraced by prospects, but are scared the competition will simply copy you?

These are big questions-and surprisingly common concerns.

Indeed, I recently received an email from Julie on this very topic. Let me address this directly here.

But first, here is Julie's full question:

"We are in a quandary about putting white papers on the web for free. Perhaps you could give some guidelines?

We still have a good deal of innovative ideas we would like to publish - that would be useful to distinguish us from our competitors.

We know, however, that whatever we publish on the web will be copied by others. So, we're trying to find ways to put those ideas out there, but control them away from our competitors.

We are considering bundles - a public white paper, a pay-for white paper with more details, and a product we can "drop in" as part of an implementation.

Any other ideas for keeping some of our materials "out there" but a little protected?

Great questions Julie.

White Papers Are Always Free

First about the "pay" white papers you mentioned above. BAD idea.

All white papers are free. And they are expected to be free by readers.

Instead, I might come out with a comprehensive report that perhaps works in a sister relationship with a white paper. You COULD charge for that.

Competitor's ALREADY Have Your Stuff

Let's be super honest here. You have all of your competitor's confidential PowerPoints on your desk. And you got them from your customers. Guess what, the competition has all of your "secret" data also.

If you provide a paper to a prospect (for pay or for free), it WILL end up in the hands of people you consider a competitive threat.

This is just a fact of life and we need to accept this in the business world.

I know all of my competitors have my stuff. In fact I just slammed one last week for literally taking content right from my book and placing it in his white paper-word for word!

If your goal is to distinguish your business, then what are you waiting for? Get those papers written and start using them.

Sure the competition will find them. They might even attempt to copy you.

However, you have one major thing going for you. You were the company that gets the credit for the great idea.

AND, you get the benefit of hot leads and new opportunity because you have a paper on the topic and the competitors do not.

My Final Answer: Get the first mover advantage now. Create a well-crafted and compelling white paper. Market the heck out of it. Win business during slow times. Come out of nowhere and shock the competition. Let them try to catch up. The rewards of your efforts will outweigh any threat from those guys.

Let's here from you? Is fear holding you back? Have you moved forward on a project despite competitors? If so, what happened?


About the Author:
Visit 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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