After talking up white papers as a means of adding to a goods and services provider's sales toolbox for many years, I was thrilled to make Michael Stelzner's aquaintence, who had posted comments last year about my post on the importance of white papers.
You see, Mike lives and breathes white papers - among other aspects of marketing. He just completed the first major study of white paper writers and has posted his findings FREE through the end of December. Nice job, Mike.
Whether you represent products or services, take a look at this site for a few reasons - the study is fascinating in itself - but I enjoyed the whole website as a treasure trove of information surrounding the topic. This is an excellent example of how to build credibility through a website - and to make free offers to get you involved and learn more about the topic at hand. There is even a forum for posting feedback -
The study was eye opening - for example I didn't know that a ten-page white paper can range between $2000-$10,000 to outsource, and I also didn't realize the time investment for creating a well done, professional white paper. If you are a writer, or have access to one - and can do up to 30 hours of research and writing plus great editing for an average white paper, you'll have an advantage.
I also liked the questions surrounding what type of white papers are created. My bias is toward an informational, educational paper that promotes your organization in a very limited way, but delivers a powerful message.
WhitePaperSource is a wealth of solid, professionally presented help and information - seeing this site again reminded me of how wonderful a niche can be - where you are not all things to all people, but you go very deep in one main area. Whether you sell products or services - there is a strong lesson here to see. If you do download the study, be sure to post a comment on the forum.