Have you ever fantasized about curling up by a roaring fire with a cup of cocoa and your favorite whitepaper? Probably not. Because, while we crave the information they contain, they are too often dry and long-winded. But in an article at MarketingProfs, Jonathan Kranz explains how to improve your whitepapers. Here's some of his advice:

Break it down. Stand-alone sections make it easy for readers to find the information they really want. "[My] real goal," says Kranz, "is to attract and hold the attention of busy prospects with short attention spans and a single question burning in their minds: What's in it for me?"

Lighten up. In today's world, an informal, conversational tone works best. "It's me to you," he says. "As if we're having a coffee and sharing terrific ideas sketched on the back of paper napkins." Also, don't take the word "whitepaper" too literally—add visual interest with elements like images, charts, pull quotes and color.

Invite a response. As you conclude, forget about an old-school summary that ends with the weak request to call for more information. Instead, use a checklist that reiterates your whitepaper's key concepts and encourages readers to visualize how your solutions could improve their own business.

The Po!nt: Don't let outdated formats keep you from producing user-friendly whitepapers that create maximum value for your readers. "By adding new color to a tried-and-true tactic," says Kranz, "you gain a more powerful way to generate leads, attract favorable media attention, and move prospects further along your sales pipeline."

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