Archive for the 'Freelance Writing' Category

Are White Papers Just for Technology Companies?

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

Are you working for a company outside of high tech?  Maybe financial services, health care or manufacturing?  You might be wondering, “Are white papers useful for us?”

Heck, you might even be a freelance writer looking to write white papers for these non-tech spaces.  I’d like to address that here.

The question was spawned by a reader (we’ll call her Ruth S.) who wrote me and asked:

I’m a newbie white paper writer who wants to target the life sciences/biotech industry. Yes, I know there are many science writers working in this industry.

But I actually have an academic background (degrees) in this industry. I know that isn’t necessary, but I’m hoping it won’t hurt, and that it might even help.

So is there a market for biotech white papers? Do you have any contacts in the industry? Can you help me get my foot in the biotech white paper door?

Wonderful question Ruth!  Here’s my response:


Using Twitter For White Papers

Monday, October 26th, 2009

Are you scratching your head trying to come up with current trends on a particular white paper topic? Why not tap into Twitter? By using applications that harness the power of this vast network, you can selectively search the Twittersphere for trends in your industry.

Set up alerts around key phrases


White Paper Client Interview Template: Good for Sales Letters, Too

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

An interesting thing happened while collaborating on some sales letter work recently. While sitting in on the initial client interviews, I found myself going back to Mike’s white paper interview template to “fill in” some gaps while we were talking to the client.

Mike’s white paper process is much more interview-heavy than other types of marketing writing, but it’s also much more comprehensive. The “Stelzner method” is more of a guided discussion than an in-depth creative brief filled out over the phone, and I’ve found it much more efficient for gathering information than your typical client discovery questionnaire. This is especially true when talking to technical experts, as they can tend to run off on tangents or even miss the point of a question entirely unless it is asked of them in several different ways.


Top 10 Blogs for Writers – The 2009/2010 Winners

Monday, September 21st, 2009

There’s some serious gold here folks! With literally hundreds of nominations pouring in, this year’s 4th annual competition was intense.

The 27 finalists have been carefully examined, with the greatest weight on the quality of their content.  What follows are the top 10 blogs for writers for 2009/2010.

If you’re a writer, you’ll find daily doses of inspiration and discovery at these excellent blogs: (more…)

Finalists – 4th Annual Top 10 Blogs for Writers Contest

Monday, September 14th, 2009

Wow! I called for nominations for the top 10 writers blogs AND nearly 300 came in!

Here are the finalists for the top 10:

Big Debate: Bowerman vs. Stelzner: Generalist or Specialist? Which is Better for Writers?

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

I’ve got some exciting news.  I’ll be debating Peter Bowerman (Well-Fed Writer author) in a live (and free) event next week called: Generalist vs. Specialist: Which Is Better for Writers in a Tough Economy?

I think you know which position I’m coming down on as a white paper writer.

Are you a specialist or a generalist? Is the need for more work forcing you to reconsider your writing focus?  Are you contemplating developing a writing niche?  Or maybe you’ve decided it’s time to be a generalist again?

Come hear the debate and make an informed decision.

By the way, the tickets to this online event are totally free.  But we can only accommodate 1,000 people.  And by the looks of it, we’ll fill up in the next few days.

Go here to learn more about the debate and reserve your free seat:

Hope to see you there!

By the way, I have a confession… It’s been more than 20 years since I’ve debated anyone.  Unlike my college debate days, this is going to be a lot more fun (Peter and I are actually good friends)!  Be sure to join me.  Just go here:

Nominate Your Favorite Writing Blog: 4th Annual Top 10 Blogs for Writers Contest

Thursday, August 13th, 2009

It’s time to open up nominations for our 4th annual Top 10 Blogs for Writers contest—the blogosphere’s biggest contest for writing blogs.

Since we first began this contest four years ago, blogs for writers have really taken off. Many of last years winners have gone on to build very successful blogs.

How to Nominate Your Favorite Writing Blog:

  1. Reply to this message with your nomination
  2. You have only one vote (only your first will be counted)
  3. Please include the web address of the blog
  4. Explain why you think the blog is worthy of winning this year’s award?

To make the cut, a blog must be nominated more than once.

The winners will be announced here and also in our 25,000 reader newsletter.

Nominations must be received by September 11, 2009.

UPDATE: Click here to see the winners.

White Paper Boot Camp San Diego, The Highlights

Thursday, August 13th, 2009

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.


Freelance Writer Hiring Trends: Credit Checks and Drug Tests??

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

I have to share story with you. It’s one of the most bizarre things that’s ever happened in my freelance writing career—and it happened to me just recently.

Now before I share this story with you, I want you to know that I thought I had pretty much seen it all… I work with some of the largest companies in the world (and some of the smallest) and have seen the many hoops they make us freelancers jump through. But I’ve never experienced about to share with you

Secret to Writing Success: Visualize Your Reader

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

One of the primary maxims of writing sales copy is: “Know Your Customer.” However, that particular pearl of wisdom sometimes gets ignored in white papers. Why?

We’re taught to “Talk Sideways”

When I took a speech class in college, one of the tips the instructor gave for handling stage fright was to look over the heads of my audience and avoid direct eye contact. Have you ever heard that one? Or how about visualizing your audience naked?

While these “talking sideways” tactics may help temporarily reduced sweaty palms in public speaking, they didn’t help me “connect” with my audience, which I later learned was much more important, both in public speaking and writing persuasive copy. Talking directly “to” your audience—making that eye contact—is what gets the best audience response.

Here’s a little nugget of wisdom I learned in copywriting that may help you make better connection with your readers:

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