How to Create Special Reports and White Papers

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This lesson is about “How to Create Special Reports and White Papers-The Power of Persuasion”MC3 Module 10 Lesson 3

WHAT’S A SPECIAL REPORT?

Think that a special report is just a different version of an e-book?

• Or perhaps you view a white paper as a research project full of facts and figures?

Are you wondering why you even need this type of content?

TILT THE NEEDLE

Understanding the purpose of white papers and special reports is important because this technique can help tilt the trust needle in your favor with the audiences you want to reach the most.

OVERVIEW

By the end of this lesson, you’ll discover effective ways to use special reports and white papers that help grow connections with a subset of your audience-the ones who relate to your view of how to solve their problems or provide for their unmet desires.

• You’ll incorporate these strategies into your own targeted content that persuades readers to take the next step towards becoming a customer.

THIS LESSON’S OBJECTIVES

Over the course of this lesson you’ll:

  • Compare the purpose of white papers and special reports to that of e-books
  • Walk-through the basics of creating persuasive special reports so that your marketing will be more successful
  • And learn a skillful-little-secret about increasing people’s desire for your solutions.
YOU CAN DO THIS!

Each lesson includes the three styles for adult learners with:

• An Audio File

• A Written Transcript

• And a Practice Guide that gives you “hands-on” training customized to your own business.

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

What is the difference between an e-book and a special report-which is also called a white paper?

  • There are many similarities in the creation of the two types of content, but they serve complementary purposes.
WHO’S YOUR AUDIENCE?

According to Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman, authors of the book “Content Rules” an e-book is less formal and generally has several topics broken down into smaller chunks designed for scanability.

  • A white paper tends to be more factual and focused on a single topic.

But the biggest differences are the desired audience and primary purpose.

WHAT’S THE PURPOSE?

An e-book should attract a broad range of visitors and provide valuable information that makes them want to exchange contact information to receive it.

In contrast, a white paper is focused on a subset of the audience with a specific need or type of objection.

  • The purpose is of this type of content is persuasion.

Providing information through case studies, research and stories helps the reader make a decision to take the next step in the sales process.

HOW TO PERSUADE?

So how do you go about creating persuasive special reports that move people closer to a purchasing decision?

  • Once again, the idea behind persuasion is not new, just the method to achieve it has been updated.

Let me tell you about a Greek philosopher who identified the key components of influence over 2000 years ago.

3 KEY COMPONENTS

Aristotle identified the three elements of ethos, pathos and logos in his study of how to convince an audience of your position.

Let’s simplify these key components:

STEP 1: FIRST IMPRESSIONS

First, ethos is the impression that you present to your audience.

  • Do seem like an obnoxious know-it-all or a helpful authority?
  • Do you present a professional image in your writing and presentation?
  • Do you establish rapport and empathize with their situation?

The image you display has much to do with whether people will trust you and the solutions you present.

Make sure your special report comes across as believable and concerned about the targeted audience.

STEP 2: SPEAK FROM THE HEART

Next, pathos is all about the emotion of the topic.

  • Do you connect with your audience on an emotional level?
  • Can you use stories and real-life examples to make the report touch the audiences in a deeper context?
  • Will people be fired up and motivated to take the next step by reading your report?
  • Do you help them get past their self-doubt and believe they have found a solution?
STEP 3: COMMON SENSE

Finally, the term logos relates to logical reasoning.

At the end of the day, your report still needs to come across as credible.

All emotion aside…does it make sense for the reader to take this course of action?

  • Do you provide examples of how the solution has worked for people just like them?
  • Is the “moral of the story” a reasonable conclusion from the information provided?
  • Is it a no-brainer to take the step that is asked for in the call-to-action?

Conversion happens when both the heart and head trust the solution offered.

WHAT ABOUT…

You’ve seen the basic elements needed for a persuasive special report.

Now let’s look at a skillful-little-secret used to ramp up people’s desire for your solution.

  • This secret is called an “open loop.”
SCRATCH THE ITCH…

Are you wondering what this means?

  • It’s simply a technique that captures our imagination and curiosity and keeps us reading.

For example at the beginning of this lesson we mentioned a secret that increases people desire for your solution.

  • Have you been wondering when we’d get back to that part?
  • Would you feel let down if we never circled back to it?

This is an example of an open loop.

HOOK NOW…EXPLAIN LATER

The captivating thought can be in the headline, or early in the report.

  • In either case it hooks the reader from the start and keeps them reading in anticipation of closing the loop.

This method is often used to lead people down a path that they might have been too skeptical to accept without understanding more about the situation.

  • In other words, if you began the report describing your solution, the reader would’ve said “yeah-right” and stopped reading.

How about it?

Can you think of ways to use this clever approach to increase interest in the topic of your report?

TIME TO GET REAL!

It’s time to go to your Practice Guide and identify your own strategies for creating a persuasive white paper or special report.

  • Think about the business objectives you want to achieve.

How do your potential customers have to think differently to be comfortable to take the next step?

NEXT LESSON

Now that you’ve discovered how to create your own targeted, persuasive white papers and special reports, let’s look at some other types of reciprocity engines with Lesson 4: “Giveaways, Contests and Other Types of Reciprocity Engines”

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