7-Page Projects with a Higher Payoff than Full-Length Books!
We often talk about the value of choosing an industry marketplace to focus your writing projects on — a niche, if you will.
That value is tremendous, because it makes you a specialist who commands higher fees than the average writer.
But there’s another way to become a specialist who earns a sizeable income …
Simply become an expert at a specific type of writing service, rather than a specific industry.
And while there are a number of opportunities you can choose to specialize in, today I want to talk about a specific service-based niche opportunity: White Papers.
The project name may not sound all that sexy. But the return on your writing time can be off the charts …
The “Edu-Marketing” Opportunity That Pays in Spades
If you’re not familiar with them, a white paper is a document that both educates and persuades. It identifies a problem and then offers a solution. And, it’s a marketing tool used exclusively in the Business-to-Business (B2B) marketplace.
B2B companies use white papers to introduce new products and systems, such as technology innovations. But beyond simply informing, white papers are designed to help key decision-makers and influencers reach a decision about implementing a particular solution. And they do so with zero hype.
Companies that publish white papers use them in a variety of marketing approaches. For example, they help companies:
- Create leads for their sales team
- Drive sales
- Generate awareness about products and services
- Introduce a company to new prospects
- Build credibility
- Establish leadership in specific fields
White papers typically run between five and 10 pages long. On average, white paper projects take anywhere from 30 to 50 hours to write, depending on how complicated the project is and how much research you need to do.
So it’s an ideal opportunity if you like medium-size projects that wrap up in a short time. But it’s the money you can make in this industry that makes white-paper writing a viable long-term career …
How to Build a Lucrative Writing Business Out of White Papers
I’ll give it to you straight: The starting fee for a white paper is about $2,500. Once you build up a list of satisfied clients, that number only goes up. Let’s say you get three successful white papers under your belt. By the time you take on your fourth project, you could bump your asking price up to $4,000 per white paper. Get a little more experience under your belt — let’s say about a year — and you can bump it up again to $5,000. I even know a handful of white paper writers who charge as much as $7,500.
This is why white papers can become extremely lucrative as a writing specialty. Let’s assume you spend at least every other week working on your self-marketing plan and connecting with clients to line up those projects. Writing a white paper every other week for a year, even with four weeks of vacation, can put you over six-figures — at $120,000 to be exact.
As you can see, it can be very profitable …
Incredible Writing Opportunity — But Is it Right for You?
The demand for white papers is high. According to a study by Eccolo Media, 84% of businesses find white papers either extremely or moderately influential in their purchasing decisions. The study also found that 77% of business decision-makers said they read one or more white papers last year.
On top of that, they found that white papers are the most viral piece of marketing collateral with 89% saying they pass them along to others. One in three said they shared them with three or more people.
Yet while you can make great money writing white papers, it’s not for everyone.
For starters, research plays a major role in the white paper process. You’ll spend part of your time acting much like an investigative reporter, digging up facts and scanning data. Any time you write a white paper, it is essential that you back up your claims with examples and information from third-party sources. When appropriate, you can even include charts, diagrams, or graphs to drive your point home.
You’ll also need to interview business experts in whatever industry you write for. Sometimes they’ll be part of your client’s company, sometimes they’ll be experts in the field you write about. So you’ll want to be able to ask targeted questions that uncover facts you can then draw from in your white paper.
To be sure, the writing itself should be on the informal side. Just keep in mind, your white papers need to be written in an objective voice — there’s no room for sales talk in a well-written white paper.
The No-Hype Writing Field You’ve Been Waiting for
The bottom line is that scores of companies have a definite need for white papers. And, the demand for well-written white papers far outweighs the number of freelance copywriters who’ve chosen to specialize in writing white papers.
If you decide to take on the world of white papers, in conjunction with the proper training, take some time to learn as much as you can about the process. Download and read white papers from the industries you’re most interested in writing for.
Then, start looking for potential clients. Pay attention to what a company is already publishing. If it’s in an industry you would enjoy writing about and researching, approach them and ask if they need any freelance writing services. Better yet, suggest a new project idea they might be interested in.
So if you’re excited by the idea of a wide variety of projects written in a no-hype, journalistic style, the white paper industry could be the writing opportunity you’ve been waiting for.
Do you have any questions about getting started as a White Paper Specialist? Let us know in the comments.
The AWAI Method™ for Becoming a Skilled, In-Demand Copywriter
The AWAI Method™ combines the most up-to-date strategies, insights, and teaching methods with the tried-and-true copywriting fundamentals so you can take on ANY project — not just sales letters. Learn More »
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