Does your water industry writer have these 5 key skills? (Final)

research skills

So far in this series we have seen the importance of writing well, water knowledge, understanding your prospects, and research skills.  This week, in the final post of the series we discuss Skill #5.

Skill #5:           Planning Skills

Writers have a dubious reputation when it comes to planning and project management.  You need a writer who can plan your content project and carry out that plan.  You need to know your content investment, which may be significant, will provide a good ROI.

You need to make sure that your efforts are focused on achieving business objectives.  It’s not about the content.  It’s about the business outcomes that the content can achieve.

What should be in the plan?

  • Goals: Ensure the content will align with your business goals.
  • Audience: Be clear about your target audience.
  • Content asset: Make sure the type of content is right for the target audience.
  • Call to action: Identify what you want the prospect to do after accessing the content.
  • Keywords: List keywords your target audience is searching for.
  • Research: Describe sources for further research
  • Overview: Outline a high-level overview of the content.
  • Review: Streamline the review process by identifying all reviewers in the plan.

Each content project must be planned, no matter how seemingly trivial.  You should find a writer that appreciates the importance of planning.  A writer who can help you plan and can then execute that plan.


We have explored 5 key skills your water industry writer should have:

  • Writing well. Able to convey complex scientific and technical information in clear concise language.
  • Water knowledge. Able to explain and illustrate large data sets using graphs, tables, conceptual diagrams, infographics.
  • Understands the water industry audience. Knows your prospects’ pain points and understands how your audience can change through the sales funnel.
  • Research skills. Able to find the evidence that proves your process and translate complex jargon into plain language.
  • Planning skills. Able to plan and execute the project effectively and efficiently.

If you want to build awareness of your products and services, you must publish quality content.  Of course, your company is full of talented people.  They all work hard in their core areas.  Pulling people out of productive roles to write content may not be cost effective.

In that case, hiring a freelance writer is the best option.  Finding a writer is easy.  Finding a good, much less an excellent one, is tough.

So, next time you’re looking for a freelance writer, be sure to check for the five skills we’ve looked at here.


To keep these key skills in mind, download and print the handy infographic:

5 Key Skills You Want in a Water Industry Writer



Contact Water Copy for all your content writing requirements.




Have any idea who read your last white paper? You need metrics.

measure white paper success


Who read your last white paper?

You’ve made a big investment in terms of time, money, and yes, your personal reputation on this white paper.  You told management a strategic white paper campaign would send your conversion rates soaring.measure white paper success

You’ve released the first white paper and are promoting it effectively (see this recent post on promoting white papers here).  Is it working?  Is the white paper achieving the goals set for it?  How can you tell?

Metrics.  Metrics are things you can count.  Things that measure the response to actions taken.  It has long been recognized that if you don’t measure it you can’t improve it.  That applies to many aspects of business.  Marketing is no exception.

In last week’s post, we discussed promoting your white paper.  This week we think about how to measure the effectiveness of the white paper campaign.  And how to measure the effectiveness of the promotions.

Metrics to use to tell if your white paper is a success

At each stage of the white paper promotion there is a metric you can measure.  There are metrics for:

  • Your landing page
  • Your website promotion
  • Your newsletter and email promotions
  • Your social media promotion.

Then we look at the key metrics in any marketing campaign: those that measure the Return on Investment (ROI).

The landing page

The landing page is a critical link in both the promotion of the white paper and in measuring success.  Key metrics to use:

Metric:              Downloads

  • The # of times a PDF of the white paper was downloaded from the landing page.
  • A key metric to track the reach of a white paper.

Metric:              Landing page bounce rate

  • The ratio of visitors who leave a landing page quickly, as though they weren’t interested.
  • To measure roughly how engaging a landing page is to visitors.

Metric:              Registrations

  • The # of visitors who filled in a form so they could view or download the white paper.
  • To count how many prospects a white paper generated.

Website promotions

You can check interest in, and the reach of, the white paper through these metrics:

Metric:              Clicks

  • The # of times anyone clicked on an ad for a white paper.
  • A way to measure interest in a white paper; used to calculate CTR (see next).

Metric:              Click Through Rate (CTR)

  • The total # of clicks divided by the total # of impressions for an ad.
  • To measure the effectiveness of a web banner or pay-per-click ad.

Metric:              Page views

  • The number of times a webpage with an HTML white paper was visited.
  • To measure the reach of a white paper formatted in HTML rather than PDF.

Metric:              Permalinks

  • The number of times the white paper was linked by other blogs.
  • To measure the reach of a white paper in the blogosphere.

Newsletter and email promotions

Newsletter and email promotions are extremely cost effective.  These metrics will help you measure the robustness of your email list and the effectiveness of the newsletter/email campaign.

Metric:              Email bounce rates

  • The # of undeliverable emails divided by the total # of emails sent.
  • To measure the quality of an email list.

Metric:              Opens

  • The # of people who opened an email for a white paper.
  • To calculate the open rate (see next).

Metric:              Open rate

  • The total # of opens divided by the total # of emails sent.
  • To measure the effectiveness of an email campaign for a white paper.

Social media promotions

The social media promotion is about building your brand, your thought leadership.  These metrics help you determine the reach of your social media campaign:

Metric:              Comments

  • The # of comments posted after a post about a white paper.
  • To measure the reach of the white paper content in the blogosphere.

Metric:              Likes

  • The # of times something was “liked” on social media.
  • To measure the reach of a white paper on social media; may not be relevant to sales.

Metric:              Reposts

  • The # of time a white paper was reposted or quoted in other blogs.
  • To measure the reach of a white paper content in the blogosphere.

Metric:              Retweets

  • The # of times a white paper was retweeted on Twitter.
  • To measure the reach of a white paper on social media; may not be relevant to sales.

Return on investment

This is where your reputation stands or falls.  These are the numbers that business owners and chief executives focus on.  Revenue and sales.  Metrics for determining the ROI of a white paper campaign are:

Metric:              Cost-per-lead

  • The total cost of a campaign divided by the # of leads generated.
  • To compare the cost effectiveness of various campaigns and tactics.

Metric:              Leads

  • The # of leads generated by the white paper, qualified by marketing, and passed on to sales.
  • A key metric to track the marketing ROI on a white paper campaign.

Metric:              Revenues

  • The amount of revenue resulting from sales to qualified leads generated by this white paper.
  • Probably the most important metric of all, and very persuasive if you can track it.

Metric:              Sales

  • The # of sales resulting from qualified leads generated by a white paper.
  • A key metric to track the results generated by a white paper campaign.


Whichever metric you decide to monitor, keep it up.  Gather data.  Try different headlines.  Optimize the landing page.  Learn what you audience responds to.  That is the power of metrics and it is pure gold.


A persuasive white paper uses simple language to explain complex technologies.  In this special report, you will discover the true value of a persuasive white paper.





Does your water industry writer have these 5 key skills? (Part 4)

research skills

Since we started looking at key skills for a water industry writer, we have looked at writing well, water knowledge and understanding your audience.  In this week’s post, we look at Skill #4.

Skill #4:           Research Skills

As we have gone through critical skills for writers there is one you may not have thought about. Research skills.  You need a writer able to find the background information that supports your solution.  In journal articles, in conference proceedings, in industry publications.  The information could be anywhere: blogs, on line resources.  Even on your competitor’s website.

You need that writer to be able to synthesize all that information.  Someone who can take complex ideas and explain them simply.

Your prospects don’t really want to know all the intricate details.  They do want to know that the technology is proven.  They want to have it explained clearly and simply.

A water industry writer needs to be able to find the evidence that proves your process.  Who stays abreast of the latest developments in the scientific literature.  Who can take complex ideas and explain them in clear and simple terms.


I love a good lit review!  I keep up with the latest in wastewater treatment, subscribe to newsletters, belong to industry associations.  No one else researches the problems you solve like I do.  Let me put my skills to work for you- contact me today!

Contact me to discuss your next content project.



And next week in the final post in this series Skill #5:       Planning Skills

6 Essential Promotions for a Successful White Paper


Is your white paper being read, shared?

If it isn’t, it might be that you haven’t been promoting it effectively.

Promoting your white paper is critical to its success.  As content marketing tactics go, white papers are a sizable investment.  You want to make sure it does its job.  That means promotion.promoting white paper success

It is important that the marketing team understands that the more effort they invest in promoting a white paper, the more likely it is that it will succeed.  There are six separate yet equal aspects to a successful white paper promotion.

It is important to think about promotion very early in the white paper process.  And to continue that process until the very end:

  • During white paper drafting.
  • Upon release on the white paper.
  • And for long after the white paper is released.

There are many more ways to promote your white paper but the six we discuss here are essential for a credible ROI.

6 Essential Promotions for White Paper Success

All six promotions are essential for white paper success.

  1. Website promotions

The obvious place to start to promote your white paper is on your website.  Feature the white paper prominently on the home page.  Place an action button prominently, linking to the white paper landing page.  Collect emails and names.

Your company blog is another channel on your website.  Post a blog about your white paper launch.  Post another one with a summary of the white paper.  That will either entice a prospect to download the whole thing or, if only the blog is read, will continue to build awareness of your brand.

You can also repurpose the white paper content into posts but that is a topic all in itself.  Stay tuned in coming weeks for a post about repurposing white paper content.

  1. Newsletter promotions

Newsletters are another obvious choice to promote a white paper.  Place an ‘ad’ in the sidebar of the first page of the newsletter.  Have a compelling button that again links to that all-important landing page.

You could write a small article that summarizes the white paper and place it in the newsletter.

It is also a good idea to arrange for it to be mentioned in your channel partners’ newsletters.

  1. Email promotions

Email is a cost-effective way of promoting your white paper.  You can:

  • E-mail it to your sales force to educate them in the key benefits.
  • E-mail it to your channel partners – your distributors and dealers.  They too will benefit from understanding all the features and benefits of the new product or service.
  • E-mail it to your house list of prospects and clients. Get it out there and get it shared.
  1. Social media promotions

Speaking of sharing, social media is another essential promotion for your white paper.  You need to tweet about it on Twitter.  You need to announce it to any appropriate LinkedIn groups.  Place links on all social media sites, linking back to the landing page on your website.

  1. External promotions

There is nothing wrong with the old favorites.  Press releases are still effective at spreading the word.  Go ahead, publish a press release about it.

  • Send the press release along with a copy of the white paper to journalists who cover your space.
  • Send the press release along with a copy of the white paper to bloggers who cover your space.

Don’t forget, there are sites where you can post your white paper for free.  Use all available channels.

  1. Internal and personal networking promotions

Promoted internally, white papers can educate your sales team.  That sales team is then better able to promote the white paper! Beautiful.

A slide deck and presentation based on white paper content is effective for educating and networking.  The same presentation given to the sales team can be presented at networking events, like association meetings, conferences, workshops.  All great places to promote the white paper.


Now that you know how to promote your next white paper, just remember to maintain the push.  You must promote for months to get full value out of your white paper.  Promote strongly right up to when the next white paper is released.

And remember: if you don’t measure it, you can’t improve it.  Next week we will look at how to measure the impact of your white paper promotion efforts.



A persuasive white paper uses simple language to explain complex technologies.  In this special report, you will discover the true value of a persuasive white paper.


Does your water industry writer have these 5 key skills? (Part 3)

research skills

Over the last couple of weeks, we have been looking at how to pick a writer.  How to choose the best writer for water industry content marketing.  We have seen how important writing well and water knowledge are.  In this week’s post, we look at Skill #3: Understanding the Water Industry Audience.

Skill #3:           Understanding the Water Industry Audience

A key skill crucial to being able to write persuasively is the ability to understand your audience.  In the water industry, the sales funnel is long.  There are many people involved in every purchase.

Your writer needs to understand who your prospects are and how their personas change through the funnel.  At each stage of the funnel, these people have different information needs.  Different pain points.

Wouldn’t it be great to find a writer who knows your prospects and their pain points?  Pain points that your products and services help alleviate.  Things like:

  • Water supply – quality and cost
  • Wastewater – quality vs. disposal costs
  • Compliance with water quality discharge standards.

Water quality is important to your prospects.  It influences how the wastewater is treated and how it can be used. Water quality determines wastewater discharge options.  Water quality impacts the bottom line of your prospects’ business.

But there is something else about your prospects that’s harder to pin down.  It’s their desire to do the right thing.  To be involved in managing water sustainably.  To be contributing to our environmental resilience.

There is no reason why your prospects should not be seen doing the right thing. You want a writer that understands that.  A writer that can weave that story of resilience and sustainability into every white paper, every case study.

Finding a writer that understands your audience may be difficult but you will be glad you did.


I am an expert water quality scientist with experience in the water industry. I know your prospects.  I regulated them.  I inspected their operations.  I set the water quality standards they must meet.  In other words, I know their pain points.  I can help you engage with your prospects.  Enable you to provide the information they need, when they need it. 


Contact me to discuss your next content project.



Next week Skill #4:       Research Skills

Can an educated sales team close more deals?

white papers educate


If your sales team doesn’t understand all the features and benefits of your product, you could be leaving money on the table.  Products in the water industry use complex technologies to solve challenging problems

Does your sales team truly understand all the features and benefits of your innovative, earth-shaking, new product?  Maybe not as well as they could.

How can you get them up to speed in time for product launch?  A white paper can do that job.

“A white paper?”, you ask.  Indeed, the water industry publishes white papers for all sorts of reasons.  White papers can:

  • generate leads
  • influence a selection committee
  • redefine a market space through your solution.
  • build authority, credibility, and thought leadership
  • keep up with competitors who have white papers.

Another powerful use is education.  You can educate potential customers, channel partners, and the media.  But most importantly, your own sales force.  They are at the forefront of your marketing strategy – the face of your brand, literally.

Read on to discover how white papers educate your sales force, which can lead to increased conversions.

White papers educate your workforce

The best type of white paper to use to educate will depend on the sales team’s technical sophistication.  Are they trained sales and marketing people?  Or are they qualified engineers?  Credentialed scientists maybe?  A mix of all?  Let’s think about the three main types of white papers and see how they can help educate your sales team.

  1. A problem/solution white paper helps your team understand an industry-wide problem. It then explores the technology in the market that provides a solution.  The white paper then describes and  explains your ‘new’ technological solution.
  2. A numbered list white paper could be used to itemize the features and benefits that you want the sales team to focus on.
  3. A technical backgrounder could be used to provide the team with all the technical features that prove the benefits. Visuals, like graphs and charts, could illustrate the proof.

Then again, you could also mix it up.  Combine two types to come up with something even better.

For educating the sales force, a problem solution combined with a numbered list could be magic.  The problem sections would give the team the information they need to understand the problem and your customers’ pain points.  The solution section would fully define the technology behind your product – the solution.  A numbered list could list and define all the features and benefits in an easy to read and remember format.

Depending on your product and your sales team, a technical backgrounder could also be mixed up with a numbered list.  The background section would provide in-depth technical details about your product.  The numbered list section would list statistics and specifications that the sales team then highlights with customers.


Whatever type of white paper you choose, just be sure not to leave money on the table.  Educate your sales force so they can sell all the benefits of your product.

White papers are a valuable tactic in a content marketing strategy.  Professionally developed and actively promoted white papers can generate leads, build thought leadership and, importantly, educate.



A persuasive white paper uses simple language to explain complex technologies.  In this free special report, you will discover the true value of a persuasive white paper.







Does your water industry writer have these 5 key skills? (continued)

research skills

In last week’s post, we started looking at how to pick a writer.  How to choose the best writer for water industry content marketing.  We saw how important writing skills are.  In this week’s post, we look at Skill #2: Water Industry Knowledge.

Skill #2:           Water Knowledge

This week we discuss another important trait you want in a content writer: water knowledge.  You need someone who knows your industry.  You shouldn’t have to explain the difference between an anaerobic digester and a clarifier.  Or the difference between removing oils and grease from effluent and lowering the BOD.

Integrated wastewater management is complex.  Wouldn’t it be great to find a writer that understood the water industry?  Understood water quality? Understood wastewater treatment and use? Understood water quality regulation?

water industry knowledge

A writer for the water industry must be able to interpret the unique jargon.  As with everything else in the water industry, the jargon is complex.  There is the language used by academic researchers.  There is the terminology used by engineers.  There is the semantics of legislation.  The writer you need understands and interprets this jargon.  And translates it into simple terms.

A writer for the water industry must be able to explain and illustrate large data sets.  Graphs, tables, conceptual diagrams, infographics.  All these tools can help your audience understand complex information.  Your writer must be able to use these tools to accurately relay your data.

That’s the kind of writer that could deliver powerful, persuasive content for the water industry.


I am an expert water quality scientist with experience in the water industry. I understand the science behind your solutions.  I can interpret the jargon.  I can explain complex ideas in simple terms and compel your prospects into action.


Contact me to discuss your next content project.



Next week we look at Skill #3:    Understanding the water industry audience 

How can white papers help the water industry?

content marketing goals


Are you losing prospects in the long water industry sales funnel?  Do they enter the funnel confidently but then get lost among the treatment options?  White papers help!  White papers have the power to lure prospects into your funnel.  Lure them in and keep them engaged right through to conversion.

White papers helpBut what kind of white paper?  When?

By understanding the sales funnel and how decisions are made when the problem is complex and the solution expensive, the right type of white paper can be chosen for each point in the funnel.

Top of the funnel – generate leads

B2B customers need time and information to make decisions.  And decisions in the water industry are about complex problems that require expensive solutions.

At the top of the sales funnel, the object is to get the attention of potential customers.  Generate leads.

A problem/solution white paper is very effective at generating leads.  First you define the problem your prospects are trying to solve.  You provide quality information about the solutions already in the marketplace.  You then introduce the new type of solution your company provides.

The idea is to provide information upon which a buyer can base a business case – never use the hard sales pitch at the top of the funnel.  Never mention specific products in a problem/solution white paper.

A problem solution white paper is used:

  • To generate leads at the top of the funnel.
  • To educate salespeople and channel partners.
  • To educate analysts, bloggers, and journalists.
  • To redefine a market space.
  • To build mind share.

Middle zone – maintain interest and information flow, build competitive advantage

The middle of the water industry sales funnel can be excruciatingly long.  You must maintain interest without exerting pressure.  Do it by providing controversial, educational, and possibly even entertaining information in a numbered list format.

A numbered list white paper might be a set of tips, points, questions, or answers about an issue.  They tend to provide quick summaries in an easy to read format.

People love numbered lists because:

  • They are easy to scan.
  • You always know where you are.
  • They are an easy read.
  • The structure is clear.
  • You’ve been reading them for years.

Numbered list white papers are relatively quick to produce since they tend to present highlights rather than deep analysis.  The points presented can almost be random with the numbering system holding them together.

A numbered list is especially powerful:

  • To get attention with provocative views
  • To help prospects along that area already in the funnel
  • To cast doubt on your competitors.

A numbered list keeps the information flowing into the middle of the sales funnel.  At its best, a numbered list white paper encourages discussion by introducing sometimes controversial ideas about the problem or about solutions currently available.

Bottom of the funnel – pulling in the sale

At the bottom of the funnel you want to pull in the sale.  A technical backgrounder white paper provides detailed technical information about the features and benefits of your product, process, or service.

A backgrounder has a tight focus on one offering from one vendor.  This type of white paper is also referred to as an evaluator’s guide or a product briefing.  It tends to do one of the following:

  • Explains key features, functions and benefits in more detail than a brochure or data sheet.
  • Explains new, unfamiliar or misunderstood technology to a technical audience.
  • Supports a product launch by explaining the product in technically detailed terms.

A backgrounder-style white paper is powerful in the late stages of a buying decision. It can help the buyer or buying committee make a final decision.  The white paper needs to provide specific details of how the features of your product, process, or service will benefit the buyer.  And how those features will solve their problem.

At this point features are as important as benefits, sometimes even more important.  The buyer needs to know that your product/process/service will solve their problem.

Post Sale – maintain interest and relationships by re-purposing white paper content

After the sale, your content can help build stronger customer relationships. Relationships that can lead to future sales.  After publishing an effective white paper, the content can and should be used to feed other channels.

To establish thought leadership, you must provide new and engaging content continually.  Search engines like Google assess content as well as keywords.  And white papers are expensive. Re-purposing their content makes good business sense.

Each section of a numbered list could become a post on your blog.  They could each be re-reworked into an article in your newsletter. Both the blog post and the article should contain a link to the full white paper on your website.

A problem/solution white paper could be presented at a conference with a PowerPoint slide show.  Several white papers could be tied together and published as an e-book.


White papers can engage and educate your prospects all the way through the sales funnel. They make an excellent call to action in a strategic content marketing campaign.  Prospects who download the white paper are expressing an interest in the solutions offered.  Be sure to collect information when they do.  Then follow up. Follow up. Follow up.


A persuasive white paper uses simple language to explain complex technologies.  In this special report, you will discover the true value of a persuasive white paper.