Jun 20, 2007

Why Bother with Whitepapers?

Whitepaper- what does that term even mean?

In times past, the term E-Book set the internet on fire. Getting an E-Book was something to brag about- you received some materials which you should have bought, but you got them for free. They were large. They were chock full of nuts. Then the internet caught on.

An E-Book is a static listing of information in a book format. Most websites are also static listings of information. But the internet can change and be updated on the fly, whereas once an 80 or even 18 page PDF gets built, changes won't be happening any time soon. The only way that E-Books could keep up with the frantic pace set by actual webpages was to take 2 drastic steps: 1) remove any static content on your site which resembles the E-Book— effectively forcing the viewer to download the E-Book to get the information. Or 2) Reduce the size of the average E-Book to around 5-10 pages— allowing more E-Books to be produced in a given time.

Enter the White Papers. Even though "White Papers" are considered technical manuals with short page lengths, they are basically the stepchild of the E-Book. Highly-skilled instructors produce the papers with a narrowly focused point of specialty. High keyword ranking words and percentages, short lengths due to the narrow nature of the work and specificity of the problem to be solved. This allows website owners to tap a wide array of writers, technical copywriters, experts, and industry gurus for a limited engagement.

But here's the kicker- Whitepapers are a new buzzword among the IT and technically trained community, but they still sit snugly within the shadow of the much-overlauded E-Book. Worse still, they are really no better than website pages themselves- static text, with static images, that will sit in directories for months while websites may become highly updated. The best answer of all comes through the power of Blogging.

With a blog, you have a technically minded individual (their credulity is on the line) who is willing to chime in on an issue with which they are familiar. Since there is no webpage to maintain, the information is easy to access, free, contains no posturing, and in many cases, is freely open to discussions right there on the spot. Being relatively new to the blogoshpere, I can assure you there is no back-patting or horn-tooting in this message, merely a statement of fact.

Why bother with whitepapers? Sometmes they can be a great help- you can download them, and visit at leisure without having to subscribe to any services, and items in print are almost universally easier to read. Interested in seeing some real whitepapers for yourself?

Consider visiting www.aspetech.com Whitepapers to get some free samples. Compare them with the materials you may have in some E-Books, or in posts you have visited.

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