Tag: white papers

19
Jan

It’s digital signage trade show season: Time for a Message Tune-Up?

This is a press release issued today:

Marketing communications firm pressDOOH has developed a special program intended to help industry firms “tune up” their communications in advance of the many digital signage trade shows and related events scheduled over the next few weeks and months.

The “Message Tune-Up” program is aimed squarely at vendors, service companies and network operators looking to gain some marketing notice before and during such events as ISE, Digital Signage Expo, GlobalShop, NAB, Kioskcom/The Digital Signage Show and ScreenMedia Expo. The program offers quick reviews, recommendations and updates on marketing and press materials for companies heading into the show season, as well as fast turnarounds on newly crafted material.

“I have been going to these events for years, and know at least a couple of things will happen,” said pressDOOH founder Dave Haynes. “Some companies will remember at pretty much the last moment that they need to get out a release or update their hand-outs or mail-outs. So they’ll do it themselves and it will look like it. Others will hire a PR firm and get something cranked out that is polished but utterly pointless, because the PR writer had no idea about the industry or what the audience was actually interested in.”

pressDOOH is temporarily relaxing its minimum engagement policy for clients as a way to help a wider range of clients who don’t need a full communications program for the  shows, but do need two or three hours to get their material reviewed, tweaked and polished up by a fresh, experienced set of eyes. The most effective material for distribution is work that is clear, concise and relevant to the targeted readership.

“I think it would be refreshing change for everybody in the business if the big blitz of press releases and marketing materials that’s about to start was characterized by substance, effective messaging and far less hype,” said Haynes. “This industry is now at a level of maturity that the target audiences are knowledgeable and a little jaded. Their tolerance for BS gets lower every year.”

pressDOOH is a copywriting and marketing strategy firm working specifically in the digital signage and digital out of home sectors. The company was founded in 2009 by industry veteran Dave Haynes, a seasoned print journalist who has spent the past decade doing everything from running pioneering DOOH networks to selling top industry software.  pressDOOH produces press material, white papers, case studies, sales and marketing sheets and Website copy, as well as does overall marketing strategy, for companies in all aspects of the industry, on three continents … and counting.

The company markets itself on the value of having copy developed by a subject matter expert – usually faster and at substantially less cost than mainstream PR firms with high overheads and limited or no in-house expertise in this sector.

The firm was recently cited by heavily-read industry portal DailyDOOH as one of its Best of 2009 companies, products and people.  “ … there is one place that we do throw work and that’s in Burlington, just outside Toronto,” noted DailyDOOH. “That’s the home/work office of David Haynes, who has made writing a press release an art form.  When pressDOOH has written or massaged a press release, the job of journalist is made so much easier. If only more people used his services.”

The Message Tune-Up program – which drops pressDOOH’s normal minimum hours engagement policy – will be available through April, and subject to available time. Company and contact information can be found at www.pressdooh.com

15
Dec

The importance of (good) white papers

San Fran-based content strategist Eccolo Media has released a survey of US businesses that suggests white papers are the most important and influential pieces of collateral used in technology buying decisions.

The B2B Technology Collateral Survey of American businesses was done with more than 500 technology-purchasing decision makers and it confirmed, Marketing Charts reports, “that sales materials of any kind – white papers, case studies/sale sheets, podcasts, videos, product brochures and data sheets – are most frequently consumed at the beginning of the sales cycle – before a company ever invites vendors to participate in an RFP.

Collateral subsequently is used less frequently as sales relationships evolve, the survey found.

Additional survey findings:

– 77% of respondents say they’d read at least one white paper in the last six months, with 84% of them rating white papers as moderately to extremely influential when making technology-purchasing decisions.
– Nearly half (49%) of respondents say they had watched a vendor’s video while considering a technology purchase, up from 20% in 2008.
– Collateral is more viral than ever: 89% of respondents say they share white papers with others, while 85% share case studies, 81% share brochures or data sheets; 80% share podcasts; and 79% share video.
– People prefer to consume collateral from their desktop: Only 1 in 4 surveyed even print out an online document.
– Data sheets and brochures are considered least influential written collateral but were also the most consumed type, indicating they are still valuable “table stakes” in helping solidify a brand’s product messages with potential buyers.
– Podcasts are, when compared with other types of collateral, among the least influential; Case studies – preferably thoses that are written – are gaining in influence.”

The report also indicated that good writing really matters.

“Some 86% of respondents felt that high-quality writing was at least moderately influential and 51% ranked good writing as either very or extremely influential. By contrast, poor quality writing was the most frequent reason respondents gave for decreasing the influence of a white paper.”

This is, of course, all quite lovely to read, given that I do things like white papers and case studies for clients. BUT, as you might expect, a white paper or case study will not be valued just because it has that label in the heading. It still has to be good, and make sense.

There are many ghastly white papers circulating in this industry that are nothing more than pitch pieces for their clients, the equivalent of recipes that suggest the only way to make desserts is with a certain brand of flour or peanut butter.

Good white papers that people appreciate,save and circulate are ones that really do educate and guide. The writer/vendor gets the benefit of making it clear they know their stuff, and helping prospective clients NOT make some stupid rookie mistakes.

Good white papers also take good writing. It absolutely doesn’t take a degree or career in journalism to qualify as a good writer. I used to be an editor in charge of some “journalists” who, to my mind, were damn near functionally illiterate. On the flip side, I have read stuff by people with no background in the craft who write beautifully.

If you have the skills and the time to write about what you do and what you know, you are the best person to do it. If you know you will never get to it, or your output will be in Martian, get somebody who CAN do the work and who, ideally, understands what on Earth you are up to.

As the research is showing, clients place a lot of value in this material and in relative terms, it is very low-cost, low maintenance marketing.