White paper tactic: Advise prospects on how to choose a product or service

Educating your prospects can turn them into clients. This is especially true when you use white papers to “set the specifications” for hiring.

White papers often feature a “how to choose a ____” section that advises readers a service or product offered by the company sponsoring the white paper.

“If your marketing campaign teaches prospects the seven things to look for in a widget, and your widget has all seven, you will be the buyer’s first choice,” as Robert Bly says in The White Paper Marketing Handbook: How to Generate More Leads and Sales with White Papers, Special Reports, Booklets, and CDs.

Of course, your recommendations need to be relevant and credible, in addition to matching your credentials. For example, you wouldn’t trust me if I recommend that you only consider financial writers who live in Massachusetts and hold a Ph.D. in Japanese history. You’ll react differently if I suggest you seek an investment writer with the following credentials:

1.  CFA charter

2.  Financial journalism experience

3.  Experience working in-house on investment-related marketing communications

4.  Commentator and trainer on effective communications

What about you? If you’ve used the “how to choose” technique, I’d like to hear about your experience.