Tag Archive for: writing white papers

Which investment white paper would you read?

Your white paper will attract more or fewer readers based partly on your decisions. Your title—and the way you position your topic—are critical.

I’ve listed some titles below. Think about which you find most appealing. If you understand what boosts the appeal of these titles, you can generate strong titles for your white papers. I welcome your comments on how to approach white papers and their titles.

Which of these white paper titles is best?

  1. Small cap stocks—this white paper could discuss any aspect of small cap stocks. The broadness of the topic cuts its appeal.
  2. Investing in small cap stocks—this title is more specific than #1, but not as specific as the titles below
  3. Why invest in small cap stocks—this title and the two that follow promise that they’ll make a case for me to invest in this asset class.
  4. The case for small cap investing
  5. The benefits of investing in small cap stocks
  6. How small cap stocks may help you boost returns, while reducing risks—this title is more specific about the benefits, which may attract readers interested in those benefits. The title is a bit long and it may make your compliance professionals nervous. Check with compliance before using any title that makes you stop and say, “Is this okay?”
  7. Opportunities in small cap stocks—this title suggests benefits without getting specific. It may be vague enough that your compliance professionals will allow it, assuming you have the proper disclosures in the body of your white paper.
  8. Your short-term opportunity in small cap stocks—”Short-term” adds a sense of urgency. If you don’t act soon, you may miss this opportunity.
  9. A 50-year opportunity in small cap stocks—I’m throwing this in because “Dan Fuss: The 50-Year Opportunity in Bonds” was one of my most popular articles for Advisor Perspectives. Of course, the name of legendary bond manager Fuss contributed to the article’s appeal.
  10. New research boosts the appeal of small cap stocks—if the title refers to proprietary research from your firm, this will help your white paper stand out from the many other white papers on this topic.

What’s YOUR take on these white paper titles? Can you suggest a better alternative? I’m interested in learning from your insights.

For more on what makes for a great white paper, read “White paper marketing: Walk a fine line.”



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.”