Back in December I told you about a book I had read called Writing White Papers by Michael Stelzner and that I was going to try my hand at doing just that. Well I am finally done. Writing this white paper was different than writing anything I have written before. During the process, I learned a lot about how to write a white paper (thanks to Stelzner’s book) and I was also reminded of an important lesson that should be applied to any writing that you are doing - you must identify your ideal reader.
The first thing I had to do in writing this white paper was to identify who I was writing this paper for. What was interesting about this exercise was that I did not identify them in a general ‘this group of people is my target market’ kind of way. I actually imagined the one person that would be the most qualified lead that I could generate from this white paper - my ideal reader. In doing so I could ask myself what this one person was like and what would be important to them. I could identify the benefits of our service that would most appeal to them and make sure they were highlighted in the paper. This process was very helpful to me. It allowed me to really focus on what information should be included in the paper and in what tone and manner it should be presented.
The difference between identifying your your target market/audience versus identifying your ideal reader can be seen in this example:
My target market or audience: Businesses looking to reduce fraud online.
My ideal reader: IT person, male, 25-35 years old, technically oriented, benefits he would look for include: easy integration of services into existing platforms, low maintenance, effectiveness, reliability and security.
Those are two very different targets. The first one includes all kinds of people, businesses, personalities, needs and desires. It would be difficult to write one white paper that would appeal to them all. However, the second one is very specific and...