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10 Tips to Write the Perfect, Client-Attracting White Paper for Your Consulting Firm

You’ve decided to write a white paper because you’re a serious, deep-thinking, knowledgeable consultant. How do you make that effort yield eager clients lining up to work with your consulting firm?

You know you can attract clients to your consulting firm with well placed, pithy articles. A good book is worth its weight in speaking opportunities and, ultimately, clients. What about white papers?

White papers sit somewhere between articles and books. They’re in what could be called the Goldilocks zone… if the bears had eaten Goldilocks when they found her. In other words, the jury’s out on white papers as a marketing vehicle for consulting firms.

Superlative white papers require significant investments of time and resources to research, write, and design. They’re also harder to distribute than books and articles.

Don’t dismiss them out of hand, though. Some topics are too meaty for an article. I’ve seen numerous consulting firms attract clients with white papers, and one white paper I wrote when I first started Ascendant drew a steady trickle of inquiries for years.

Plus, some executives (and U.S. Presidents) don’t read books. 

How do you cook up a white paper that is gobbled up by your prospective consulting clients like a scrumptious appetizer, leaving them even hungrier for your services than they were before?

My initial list or tips contained 15 guidelines. I’ve cut the list down to nine and left a spot for you to contribute your wisdom.

10 Tips to Write the Perfect, Client-Attracting White Paper


 

13 Comments
  1. Diane Bogino
    November 1, 2017 at 9:47 am Reply

    David, Thank you for this post. What do you suggest as the best way to “share” a white paper. For example, should people have to sign up for it, should you post it on a website with no obligation, should you send it to current clients via email?

    • David A. Fields
      November 1, 2017 at 10:19 am Reply

      Diane, you’ve brought up one of the great marketing questions: what content should be behind a gate of some sort, what content should be paid for, and what content should be freely available?

      There’s no easy answer or one-size-fits all rule. It depends on your overall marketing strategy, the current state of your network, and how powerful your white-paper is as a draw, all on its own.

      If you are writing your white paper to dramatically increase your reach and exposure, then making it freely available may be the best route. If you’re goal is to increase the size of your “tribe,” then you may want to require a sign-up.

      The broadest, general advice I can give is this: 1) You wrote the white paper to be shared, so share it; 2) The more people who have your content, the more likely you are to win new business. Therefore, err on the side of free, widespread distribution.

      Yes, send to current clients.

      Does that help?

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