Blog post vs. white paper: How do you decide?

An Iranian watercolor struck me as a way to show the difference between a blog post topic and a white paper topic.

“A School Scene,” which you see in the photo above, is beautiful. But it has too much going on to be a blog post.

Blog posts should focus tightly on one topic. Like the painting section below, which shows three men sitting below a tree.

A white paper is the longest piece most advisors will write. Its length means it might be able to accommodate the entire painting.

Like a blog post, a white paper should focus on a single theme. However, it offers more opportunities for depth and diversions.

In a white paper, the painting section in the upper right-hand corner would dominate. You’d work in the other areas of the painting to the extent they support the dominant section’s theme. An area with a weak, yet useful connection might become a sidebar, isolated in a box so it wouldn’t disrupt the main argument’s flow.

Some of the decorative elements in this painting might be too much for a white paper. They might be appropriate for a scholarly article, fiction, or a full-length book.

If this analogy helped you, please comment

Sometimes pictures make it easier to understand concepts normally explained using words. Did these two pictures help you? Do you have an image that helps you write better? Please share.

If your firm needs help with writing or editing white papers, please contact me. To learn more about what makes for a great white paper, read “White paper marketing: Walk a fine line.”


4 replies
  1. Derek Lawson
    Derek Lawson says:

    Good morning Susan,

    I really appreciated the way you dissected the picture and then referenced the different parts within the picture to different types of writing. It’s definitely something I’ll keep in mind as I begin your writing class and start writing on my own this month.


  2. Pat Allen
    Pat Allen says:

    You’re a natural-born instructor, Susan. Great way to illustrate the differences.

    My guess would be that more advisors will write more blog posts than white papers. Is that right?

  3. Brent Carnduff
    Brent Carnduff says:

    Great way to explain it Susan. I would have said that a blog may describe one aspect of a “how too” where as the white paper would describe the whole. Your image is much clearer! Thanks for sharing.

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