Case studies, White Papers and E-books (Oh My!)

Choosing the right medium for your message
Wordsmithie clients have a lot to say, and it’s our pleasure to help them develop articles for their blogs, websites and email newsletters. When they want to extend their industry knowledge and expertise into more in-depth pieces, we help them go long, too. Long or short, it’s important to choose the best format to effectively convey ideas and engage readers.

Let’s say your company offers a Whizbang Widget or Timesaving Service. You’ve written short blogposts and articles, but do you have enough ideas to write more in-depth? Here’s a quick primer on choosing among the most popular vehicles to deliver extended editorial content—case studies, white papers and ebooks.

Case studies
A case study combines customer or client testimonial with description of a problem, solution and outcome. It’s a short story illustrating how your Whizbang Widget or Timesaving Service improves consumers’ lives. A good case study provides a real-life example of your products or services in action, so potential customers can picture themselves being helped by your business. Case studies are short—typically, 350 to 750 words—and work well as web articles, in email newsletters or as marketing one sheets. For more, read our Anatomy of a Great Case Study.

White papers
A cousin of the case study, a white paper is a different and larger animal. It engages readers by speaking directly to customers’ pain points. A table of contents chunks out the problem/solution/results sections into an easy-to-digest format. Your white paper may begin with an historical overview and/or commentary on your industry or market climate. It should then weave in how Whizbang Widget or Timesaving Service helps solve customers’ problems within that context. Data, charts and other graphics add interesting factoids and break up the text.

A successful white paper persuades and influences decision-makers to take action (e.g., contact us for a consultation, start your free trial now, etc.). White papers are longer—five to 10 pages in length. You may feature them as a free download or as an incentive in exchange for signing up for your email newsletter.

Maybe you have so much to say about how Whizbang Widget or Timesaving Service is making the world a better place that a white paper isn’t enough. You want to publish an ebook! As Wordsmithie knows from experience, an ebook is a time- and energy-intensive undertaking. We help clients develop their ideas into ebook format to establish themselves as industry leaders and either give the ebook away or sell it as a digital book. An ebook may be 25 pages or more and may help you get a read on market interest in an even longer, commercially published book.

With so many platforms and services available for publishing an ebook, it’s tempting to create one just because others in your industry have. As we discussed in our blogpost on developing white papers, the idea should come first and the choice of medium second (not the other way around). Have you developed the base of your content in shorter forms, on your website and blog? Have you explored extending your ideas into longer case studies and white papers? Have your thought leaders crystallized their ideas into a brand story that your organization agrees upon?

If you answered Yes to some or all those questions, maybe you are ready to embark on an ebook. Wordsmithie is here to help you write the long and short of it—and everything in between.

ABOUT Heidi LaFleche

Heidi launched her writing career as a newspaper and magazine journalist—most notably as a Boston correspondent for People magazine. She transitioned into marketing communications for business, helping clients find the right words to engage their audiences. Heidi is a Senior Editor for Wordsmithie, and also runs her own freelance writing business on the side. She writes within a range of industries including technology, healthcare, financial services, legal services, education and nonprofits. Her slogan: “Every business has a story. Let’s tell yours together.”