For those who have not attended one of Michael Stelzner’s in-person workshops, you missed a real treat at the White Paper Boot Camp in San Diego last week. The weather was perfect (a balmy 75°), the lush, tropical surroundings at the Hyatt Regency Mission Bay were gorgeous, and the workshop was intense!
People flew in from all over the country (and Canada), including freelance writers, marketing managers and business executives—a great mix. Some had been following Mike for a while, and others found out about him more recently or were referred by business associates. However, everyone there expected to learn a lot about the art of writing and marketing white papers, and Mike certainly didn’t disappoint.
Breakfast & Lunch
Even if you attended Mike’s White Paper Success Summit and have read his book, there was still a lot to learn at this hands-on workshop. After a lovely breakfast of fresh fruit, pastries and coffee, the fun began with introductions and a short overview of what a white paper is and who reads them. But Mike quickly got down to brass tacks. By 10:00 we had already learned the ins and outs of the needs assessment, and had begun exercises on selecting a topic and building an outline.
Before lunch we covered interviewing, research, and writing the first page—including interactive exercises. We did some role-playing on the interview process, and there was even a fast-moving group brainstorm session where Mike used an easel and pad to collect thoughts from everyone on research techniques and options. Great stuff!
The Main Course
After a delicious lunch out on the grounds, we came back inside for a freelancer’s breakout session, where a few questions from the floor on a variety of freelance topics were answered by Mike, me and a guest copywriting coach, Chris Marlow. Then it was back in the saddle again for the nitty-gritty on titles, writing core elements, and marketing—all punctuated with plenty of exercises and question-answer sessions.
Mike definitely pulled out all the stops for this boot camp, and his laser focus really kept things moving. The audience responded with lots of questions and insights from a variety of perspectives, which was a lesson in itself. The end result was that I felt I had taken a semester-long college class in one sitting, and had the bones of another white paper finished and ready to flesh out before the end of the day. Whew!
Dessert & Coffee
What was the most valuable thing I learned from this experience? Well, apart from receiving highly focused instruction, the group dynamics gave me a benefit I didn’t expect. There were some excellent practical questions asked, and Mike not only fielded them well, but also drew on the experiences of other attendees for answers when appropriate. In fact, I can’t wait to review the videos, because I’m sure I’ll pick up some tidbits I missed during the live sessions.
Kudos to Mike, Irene and all the technical staff for pulling off a great learning event! The White Paper Boot Camp attendees I spoke to really enjoyed it. They felt that the subject matter was exactly what they expected and was well-covered. For those who couldn’t make it, stay tuned for the videos!Receive email updates when new articles are posted.