What was your “Aha” moment in 2009? – Part 1

It’s almost the end of the year and we will soon start a fresh one. What is amazing about the end of the year is the festive mood it puts us in. It also puts us in a reflective mood as we ponder over what has transpired and how we have come out of this year stronger than we went in. I have invited our Panel of White Paper Experts to reflect on 2009 and answer the following question: What was your aha moment in 2009? Read on to get their insights.

Jonathan Kantor

Blog WhitePaperPundit Twitter Jonathan_Kantor

 “Discovering the Power of Twitter and Adobe TweetDeck.”

Jonathan Kantor’s Bio

Jonathan Kantor is the principal and founder of The Appum Group, “The White Paper Company“, and has been producing commercial white papers for the past 11 years. He is also the author of the White Paper Pundit blog. Jonathan’s experience with white papers is also coupled with over 25 years of enterprise business experience with leading industry innovators such as Apple Computer, Microsoft, Digital Equipment Corporation, and J.D. Edwards Enterprise Software (now a division of Oracle Corporation). This experience included a variety of sales, marketing, business development, and management positions.

Jonathan Kantor’s Aha Moment

During this past year, my “aha” moment was discovering the power of Twitter for Social Media with the Adobe TweetDeck application.

Prior to this year, my perception of Twitter was that of a useless text-messaging medium designed to send friends obscure personal information. Instead, I have come to realize that Twitter is a highly influential way to build social networks and relationships, quickly find specific business information, and track the release of white papers.

I use Twitter to populate my weekly Friday FREE White Paper list. Using TweetDeck, I setup two search criteria, “White Paper” and “White Papers”. Any subsequent Twitter message containing those key words is listed in a columnar format. This narrows my search, allowing me to drill down to each hyperlinked website listed in these messages and uncover free white papers that have been submitted by Twitter users.

Since I’ve started a Twitter presence in February 2009, I have been able to build a 4000+ following relatively easily. This has enabled me to promote my blog and build additional exposure to both my white papers and those of my clients.

Happy Twittering!

Jonathan Kantor Recommends

  • Free document distribution sites: Scribd.com, DocStoc.com, Slideshare.net, Gazhoo.com, Yudu.com, and WhitePapers.org.
  • Blog sharing sites such as BizSugar.com, Sphinn.com, and Reddit.com.
  • WhitePaperPundit: The Friday FREE White Paper List, a listing of free white papers from weekly Twitter Tweets that don’t require registration, posted each Friday.
  • Twitter search criteria set to keywords: “White Paper”, and “White Papers”.
  • Google Alerts set to “White Paper”, and “White Papers”.

Michael Stelzner

Blog WritingWhitePapers Twitter Mike_Stelzner

“Delve into social media marketing.”

Michael Stelzner’s Bio

Michael Stelzner is one of the leading authorities on the topic of writing and marketing white papers. Michael is also the author of the bestselling book, Writing White Papers: How to Capture Readers and Keep Them Engaged.

Michael Stelzner’s Aha Moment

My aha moment in 2009 happened when I published a report called the Social Media Marketing Industry report and it became one of the most talked about items on Twitter for two days running.  I immediately knew the world was super hungry for a lot more social media marketing knowledge.  That lead to the launch of Social Media Examiner – No turning back now!!

Michael Stelzner Recommends

Jonathan Kranz

Blog Kranzcom Twitter jonkranz

“Try something. Test it out. Learn from the experience. That’s social media.”

Jonathan Kranz’s Bio

Jonathan Kranz is the author of The eBook eBook: How to Turn Your Expertise Into Magnetic Marketing Material and coauthor, with Joe Pulizzi, of The Content Marketing Playbook. He’s all about writing helpful content and making screwy videos. Join the party!

Jonathan Kranz’s Aha Moment

My “ah-ha” moment truly is a moment. On May 19, I was one of four participants on a social media panel discussion at the New England XPO for Business. Each panelist was given a few minutes for an introduction. The two who preceded me offered quite impressive credentials and formidable opinions. But I opened with a question. “Show of hands,” I said. “How many of you feel baffled, confused or overwhelmed by social media?” The room was packed (at least 80 people, probably more) and in a second, it was completely filled with raised hands. I raised mine as well.

This is the thing: social media is so new and is evolving so rapidly that we’re ALL trying to find our way in this promising, yet still largely un-illuminated landscape. Anyone who claims to be an “expert” is full of it. While the lack of leadership may be disorienting, it also means we’re free to explore without worrying about meeting standards — because there are none.

Try something. Test it out. Learn from the experience. That’s social media.

Jonathan Kranz Recommends

Sarah Mitchell

Blog Global Gopywriting Twitter globalcopywrite

“I realized the value one well-crafted white paper can bring to a business.”

Sarah Mitchell’s Bio

Sarah Mitchell is a freelance copywriter with a focus on B2B content, specifically case studies and white papers. Combining successful technical, sales and writing careers, Sarah provides a rare perspective to every project. She’s especially interested in working with small and medium-sized businesses. Sarah has lived and worked on five continents. Find her  website at Global Copywriting.

Sarah Mitchell’s Aha Moment

I’m a big fan of white papers. I’ve been writing them since 2002. I first became aware of them in the mid-1980’s when I worked as a computer program and utilized their content in my development work. I promote white papers to my clients as the ultimate marketing document.

In other words, I’ve drunk the white paper juice, or so I thought.

In August of this year, I was asked to do a presentation on social media. As I was researching the topic, I decided to develop a corresponding white paper. Titled Practical Advice for Making Social Media Work for Your Business, the paper was a companion piece to what turned out to be a popular presentation. I didn’t charge for it and offered it to my audiences for those interested enough to send me an email requesting a copy. I put very little effort into distributing the white paper.

At the end of October, I received a phone call from a man who had a copy of my paper. I don’t know how he got it because I had never met him and he hadn’t been to any of my presentations. He was calling, specifically, to compliment me on the document. He also told me all the places he had recommended me including our local government’s small business development center. It turns out he’s very well connected. He’s given me excellent Word of Mouth references.

The same week, another person called and asked permission to distribute a section of my paper as part of a university workshop. At a professional networking function a couple days later, I was thanked by someone who had blatantly plagiarized my paper and distributed it under their company letterhead.

My ‘aha’ moment came that week when I realized the value one well-crafted white paper can bring to a business. My intent was to provide additional information to supplement my seminar. Even though I had been advising my clients to invest in white papers, I had never considered how my business would benefit from one.  From here on, I’m taking my own advice and incorporating white papers in my overall marketing strategy.

Sarah Mitchell Recommends

Stephanie Tilton

Blog Savvy B2B Marketing Twitter StephanieTilton

 “Seeing how a mix of social-networking and social-media activities can positively impact my business.”

Stephanie Tilton’s Bio

Stephanie Tilton is an expert case study and white paper writer who helps B2B companies advance the sales cycle by engaging prospects and customers. Harnessing her unique blend of technical knowledge, marketing savvy, and writing skills, Stephanie has crafted nearly 100 case studies and white papers for leading brands such as Akamai Technologies, EMC, Macromedia, Novell, SAP, and Symantec. Her website is Ten Ton Marketing.

Stephanie Tilton’s Aha Moment

My ‘aha’ moment in 2009 was seeing how a mix of social-networking and social-media activities can positively impact my business. Specifically, I’ve established new connections and landed new clients by:

  • Offering valuable information via practical blog posts, an eBook, and a report.
  • Providing links to this content via Twitter and LinkedIn.
  • Interacting with others and adding to the dialogue on other people’s blogs and in LinkedIn group discussions.
  • Attending local networking events where I’ve made new connections and converted previously virtual relationships into face-to-face meetings.

What strikes me about this “epiphany” is that nothing earth-shattering occurred to bring about these results. But it did require a shift in my mindset. Instead of worrying about marketing my business, I focused on sharing my knowledge and forming relationships. In the end, I’ve been able to grow my sphere of influence and number of connections in a way that feels natural and unforced.

Stephanie Tilton Recommends

Recommended Resources from Experts on white papers




Over to you

What was your “Aha” moment in 2009? Why?

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