In my short reports guide, I suggested that you keep your reports… SHORT.
With my own clients, I’ve found that the perfect size for a report or white paper is five pages. No longer, and no shorter.
I found this article, Treat Your Content with More Respect – Marketing Interactions, which reports:
“IDG Connect also shared that buyers say 7 pages is plenty for a vendor white paper, but that most white papers they review are still running 20 or so pages. Buyers say these take too much time and effort to read. This is not new information. Eccolo Media’s B2B Technology Collateral Survey has been reporting this trend for the last few years. Apparently we’re not paying attention.”
If you’re creating 20 page short reports and white papers, edit them down.
When I’m working with my students, I know that they have problems with editing. You need a method to help you to edit.
Start by outlining.
If you haven’t outlined before you start writing (a mistake, in my opinion), outline once you’ve completed the report or white paper. You’ll soon find large chunks of text which you can trim or delete.
Next, condense, and strengthen. Eliminate dead words. For example, if you’ve said: “on a daily basis”, trim it down to “daily”.
It’s fine to include dead words in a first draft, because you’re just discovering what you want to say. In subsequent drafts, slash them — be ruthless.
You’ll be surprised how easy it is to edit your reports down to five pages. Do it, and your clients will thank you.
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