Flowery Branch, Georgia

Your Client-Getting Plan Revealed

Welcome to Lesson 10. This is it! You’ve acquired a valuable writing skill that’s needed by so many companies. And you’ve created a professional white paper sample for your portfolio. Now it’s time to find the clients.

First, we’ll take an in-depth look at who’s going to hire you.

Then, you’ll get a plan for how to add white paper services to your business … and how to market yourself and find clients who need white papers.


Let’s get started.

An In-Depth Look at Who Buys White Papers

Companies who benefit from white papers tend to have products and services that have certain characteristics.

Let’s take a look at each characteristic and some examples of products or services that are perfect for white paper promotion.

B2B companies with technical products and/or new technology

Companies selling technical products often need to be able to “prove” that their products and services are the right solutions. White papers, with their research-heavy presentation and focus on providing an unbiased viewpoint, do that really effectively. Here are a few examples of the types of B2B tech clients/offerings you could be writing about …

  • New technology that transforms the way an industry operates. For instance, self-driving vehicles will be transforming the trucking industry (eventually) and are ripe for a white paper.
  • New technology and new processes such as additive manufacturing of metals2. This is relatively new and exciting because it can cut manufacturing costs and production time exponentially for certain materials, like those used in the aerospace industry.
  • New software whose functionality changes the way people work or vastly improves the ease of certain processes. For example …

    • New design software for printed circuit boards cuts engineering design time in half and increases accuracy by 30%.
    • New tracking software for incidents at hotels and entertainment venues simplifies paperwork and ensures that all details get captured and saved with images.
    • New project management software can be used by non-trained personnel to effectively manage projects despite their complexity.
  • Companies making products that are in trending technologies, opening up new possibilities.

    • Bigger adoption of solar panel technology leads to development of more affordable residential options.
    • 5G infrastructure proliferation gives many companies options to update their products to be “smarter” and talk to their customers about how that helps them.
    • Research companies use white papers to promote their research. Look at the landing page description for this ABI Research white paper on technology trends1:

Image of the sign up form to receive a free white paper from ABIresearch with the headline, Free whitepaper - 70 Technology Trends that Will - and Will Not - Shape 2022

From the landing page:

This white paper is a tool for our readers to help shape their understanding of the key critical trends that look set to materialize in 2022 as the world begins to emerge from the shadow of COVID-19. While next year is likely to remain challenging, it also projects promise and opportunity.

If you go to ABI Research’s home page, https://www.abiresearch.com/, you’ll see that their target audience is professionals from companies with digital transformation projects or investments in them … and those who are gathering information to make decisions.

B2B companies with complex products or services

Complex products or services need to be explained to be understood. For example …

  • Data services that help sales teams improve conversion rates ─ like the Cresta Backgrounder we looked at.

    Image from the Cresta whitepaper with the headline Good Salesperson, Bad Salesperson - Closing the Sales Performance Gap

    Image from the Cresta whitepaper that describes their process

    This Backgrounder helps explain why there’s a difference between the kinds of tools sales teams typically use (and don’t get great results from) and the Cresta solution. It requires a longer, more involved explanation, with examples, that results in a 13-page white paper. Any companies selling solutions like this benefit from white papers.

  • Companies selling a mix of software and services, like how the HP example in your swipe file used the Numbered List paper to explain the complexity involved in changing from paper to electronic files. This explanation has nothing to do with HP’s software or services, but it helps paint the picture for the reader on why HP’s help might result in a better conversion experience.

    A section of a whitepaper titled, Why HP for EHR Change Management

B2B agencies

Many B2B companies prefer to use agencies instead of hiring freelancers directly. Sometimes they use a combination of in-house marketing help, agency help, and freelance help. Why do companies hire an agency? Usually to access extra skills and expertise for campaigns, and to augment their in-house team’s capacity. Or, when they need specialty work done that their in-house team doesn’t do … like writing white papers.

B2B agencies like to have a pool of freelance writers available for work that comes in, and if you have a specialty, either an industry niche or project specialty (such as white papers), you can market yourself to them to help with those kinds of projects. We’re talking about thousands of B2B agencies with ongoing writer needs!

Who’s Going to Hire You?

Since white papers are marketing documents, the most likely person to hire you would be the marketing director, VP of marketing, or some other title within the marketing department.

However, there are a few other possibilities …

  • Company owner – If the company is small enough, the owner is very likely to be looking for freelance help to market their products and services, including white papers. These small companies tend to be pretty loyal too. Busy owners don’t want to spend a ton of time looking for different partners to help them with special functions. So, once they find someone who’s competent, reliable, professional, and good at their job … they tend to just send all that work to that awesome freelance partner. That’s why we encourage you to think beyond single white-paper projects. You can write all the related promotions as well.
  • Sales director – They probably won’t commission only a white paper, but sales directors do hire writers to provide effective copy their sales teams can use for cold prospecting, lead nurturing, and closing deals. White papers are often part of that nurturing process.
  • B2B agency owner – Especially for B2B agencies who support companies with complex products and services, it’s critical to bring in a writer who specializes in a particular industry or a particular project type (like white papers). This helps the agency manage their workload and provide high quality copy projects to their clients.
  • Product manager or technical manager – You could also get a call from a product or technical manager who’s responsible for a specific product line within a company. They often have responsibility for sales and/or marketing of their product set, so in this case, they’d function like a marketing director or sales director just for that product line. They’ll want to be sure they have all the resources they need to sell their products and services.

4 Steps to Set Up Your White Paper Business

Now you know who would hire you, so it’s time to set yourself up for when that happens. Follow these four simple steps to make it easy for clients to find you.

Step 1: Add your white paper specialty to your LinkedIn profile.

Make sure you’re telling people you write white papers. If you don’t tell them, they won’t know … and LinkedIn is a great place to get started.

Don’t stress about this, though, because it’s easy to include naturally.

Below are a few samples of how B2B writers have included white papers in their LinkedIn profiles …

Here’s a profile description for someone who’s focusing on white papers in any industry:

LinkedIn profile screen print for Rick Merfeld with the title, Author Freelance Writer Verified White Paper Specialist

But you could also list white papers as one of a variety of services and tied to a skillset, like this profile:

LinkedIn profile screen print for Joe Ely that says, I explain the complex understandably|Management and Manufacturing Veteran|Lean Manufacturing|Theory of Constraints|Consultant|White Paper Author|Thought Leader|Integrity & Ethics|Runner

You can focus on your industry, like this profile does, with white papers listed but not emphasized:

LinkedIn profile screen print for Anne W with the title, Medical Content Writer and Health Writer at Mind Body Ink: White Paper Writer|Health Writer

Or you can focus on the white paper, but list out your industry interests:

LinkedIn profile screen print for Mary Thibodeau with the title, Skilled Whitepaper Editor & Writer in Blockchain, Crypto, Defi, NFTs, Web3

Steve Maurer doesn’t mention white papers in his profile at all, choosing to focus on his industry and overall content writing:

LinkedIn profile screen print for Steve Maurer, B2B industrial copy and content creator & consultant for over 12 years (plus your ideal customer for 36).  I'm uniquely qualified to help you be the trusted guide & resource your customers need for top quality solutions.

But he does specifically talk about white papers in his About section:

LinkedIn about section that says, What do I write for my clients? Marketing content like case studies, tech bulletins, special reports/white papers, and corporate blogs. Sales copy in the form of emails, brochures, and sales letters. Sales enablement Copy for your team to use to talk to customers and close the deal. Press releases to help get the word out about your company news.

The bottom line is: DO tell people you’re a white paper writer somewhere on your LinkedIn profile.

Where you put it depends on how much emphasis you want to put on it and where it fits into your overall marketing strategy and service offerings. And remember, you can change your profile anytime you think it needs some tweaking!

Step 2: Create a professional-looking website.

B2B companies pay big bucks to writers for white paper services. Yes, your LinkedIn profile is probably most important: it functions as both your business card and your marketing platform, creating inbound and outbound marketing opportunities for you to reach prospects.

But a close second is having a website that showcases your professionalism and writing credentials. It allows you to control the story you tell and gives you more creative freedom to show customers what you want them to know about you.

Here’s an example of a copywriter who showcases his white paper services: https://www.richardhollins.com/

Screen print that lists featured services, 1. Annual Report Writing, 2. White Paper Copywriting, 3. Financial Services Copywriting

And here’s another example of a website focused on white paper services: https://copywritertoronto.com/white-paper-writer/

Website screen shot that says, The White Paper Writer B2B Tech Marketers Rely On.  Get a persuasive white paper that your customers actually want to read. Buttons that say, Schedule a Call and See Samples

Step 3: Have a process.

When a client hires you to help them with a white paper, they may or may not know how to proceed from there, what the next steps are.

If you have a documented process you can follow, not only will you impress your client with your professionalism, you’ll also help yourself by keeping the project on track and minimizing wasted time.

Even if your client has lots of experience with white papers and knows what to expect, the fact that you have a process to follow gives them confidence in your ability to deliver a quality final product.

Your Toolkit Bonus has a sample documented process you can tweak for your own needs.

The same website from Step 2, https://copywritertoronto.com/white-paper-writer/, has their process documented right on the site3:

Website screen print that says, What You Get.  A Powerful, Done-For-You White Paper That Fills Your Sales Funnel With Qualified Leads

This says to a client: “I’ve done this before. I know what I’m doing, and you can count on me.” You don’t need to post your process, but at least have one you can refer to when you’re talking with a prospect.

Step 4: Set Your Fees.

Again, from that white paper site, https://copywritertoronto.com/white-paper-writer/, they have their fees in the form of packages, listed right on their site:

Website screen print that says, Our White Paper Packages. Package 1, White Paper, Attract and nuture high-quality leads with a persuasive white paper - 5,997.  Package 2, White Paper Plus, Generate more leads with a persuasive white paper (and a landing page that drives opt-ins). Package 3, Marketing Genius, Drive the most value from your white paper with a complete package of lead-engagement content.

You don’t need to post your fee schedule, but you should have one you can use to speak to a prospect as you’re negotiating for the project.

And putting together packages, like they have, is a great way to get the upsell right up front, as well as reinforcing that you’ve done this before, and they can trust you with their project.

Once you pull all that together, you’re all set to …

Market Yourself to Clients

Here are some tips to find clients for your white paper services.

Look for B2B companies that already use marketing copy ─ case studies, articles and blogs, web copy, brochures, demos, video …

They know the value of marketing pieces to close sales!

Then look at the products and services they sell ─ are they complex, expensive, new technology, or otherwise fit the profile of a product or service perfect for a white paper?

You can reach out directly to them with a cold email. Target those job titles mentioned in “Who’s Going to Hire You?” above. Or you can try to build a relationship with them on LinkedIn by commenting on and liking their posts, following them, and otherwise engaging and connecting with them.

And don’t forget to reach out to B2B agencies, letting them know you specialize in white papers, and offering your services to them.

Those are all outbound marketing techniques.

You can also create some inbound marketing momentum by blogging about your expertise, posting on LinkedIn, and maybe even creating your own white paper on why B2B companies need to use white papers in their marketing.

The key to successful marketing is consistency and frequency. Tell people what you do, show them you know what you’re doing, and keep telling them and showing them.

Companies aren’t publishing white papers every week (typically), so timing is everything.

If you consistently market your white paper services, your target prospects are bound to see your message right when they need someone to create a white paper for them.

Exercise #9

Update your LinkedIn Profile and Website to Add White Paper Services

  1. Use the examples in Step 1 above or come up with your own way to highlight your new white paper services on your LinkedIn profile.

    1. Do you want to focus on being a white paper writer? Or do you want to focus on your niche first and list white papers as one of the services you offer within your niche?
    2. If you focus on white paper services, do you want to write only in certain niches, or will you write for any company in any industry needing white paper services?
    3. If you just want to have it as part of your About section, like Steve Maurer’s example, how will you highlight that skillset and showcase it to your prospects?
  2. If you have a freelance website, think about how you’ll add white papers to your website.

    1. Will you list it on your Services page?
    2. Will you give it space on your Home page?
    3. Will you post samples on your website?

Take some time, right now, to update your LinkedIn profile and website … and set yourself up for a successful launch of your white paper writing business. If you don’t have a website yet, create an outline for your main pages: Home, About, Services, etc. Then set a date to fill in those pages with amazing content about your skills and services … and LAUNCH the site!

In Conclusion

Congratulations! You did it! You’ve acquired a profitable skill that delivers incredible value to clients – and you’ll stand out from the crowd by even being able to write … WHITE PAPERS!

And after today’s lesson, you’re ready to land clients and start bringing in $500, $700, even $1,000 a page.

Who’s going to hire you to write these?

  • Marketing directors, VPs of marketing, other personnel within the marketing department
  • Company owners
  • Sales directors
  • Product and technical managers
  • B2B agency owners

And what kinds of products and services will need your white paper skills?

  • Technical products, especially those using new technology
  • Complex products or services, especially those with big price tags
  • Products that change the way the industry functions – industry disruptors

You can attract those white paper clients with both inbound and outbound marketing techniques:

  • Setting up your LinkedIn profile to tell people what you do
  • Updating your freelance website to include white paper services
  • Reaching out to and connecting with companies whose products are complex, expensive, and potentially have new technologies
  • Following companies with the right kinds of products, commenting on their posts, liking their products, and forming relationships with them
  • Blogging about your skills – creating content that helps prospects find you and your white paper skillset

Yay, you! Investing time and resources in yourself by learning to become a professional white paper writer shows how much you value having the right skillset for your freelance business.

Now … go get those clients!

And as a reminder, you’ll always have access to this AWAI “living program,” which means you’ll also automatically get any updates made to the program over time. These lessons and all your member page materials are available for reference or refresh any time you feel the need to go back through them.