When and How to Write a Trend-Watcher White Paper

The “trend-watcher” is a white paper that describes a set of changes affecting a particular industry or profession. Broadbean Technology’s “5 Hot Trends in Recruiting Technology” white paper is a good example of a trend-watching piece.

Trend-watching papers have a number of advantages:

They generate buzz quickly. The papers are easy to read or skim, and most professionals value awareness of industry trends.
They are straightforward to produce. Although trend watchers can be labor intensive and time consuming, writing one won’t require a department-wide effort. For the most part, the white papers are easily delegated or outsourced to skilled and knowledgeable.
They are broadly applicable. Nearly all industries are affected by a set of changes in a given period, so the time is always right for a trend-watcher.
Just before conferences are some of the best times to produce trend-watchers. Although the papers are versatile enough for production at any time, they are especially effective at large industry gatherings. They’re perfect for those seeking to keep their industry knowledge current, as conference-goers typically are. Further, the papers set a context for the event and create talking points for interactions in the booths. For these reasons, well-written papers can go viral among conference populations.

When writing a trend-watcher piece, keep the following tips in mind:

Pull in all the balloon strings. The main goal of the paper is to collect data from numerous scattered sources and put it all in one convenient place.
Focus on technology. Most of the time, trends and technology go hand-in-hand. Mobile communication and analytics are examples of technologies that are trending in most industries.
Keep it as evergreen as possible. A trend-watcher doesn’t have to have a short shelf life simply because it is describing current happenings. Stay away from pigeonholing the paper into a specific year. No one is going to read “5 Hot Trends Big Data in 2012” in 2013.
Tell your reader how to use the knowledge. Mention in both the introduction and conclusion how knowledge of the trends will lead to some kind of gain for the reader, such as increased job effectiveness.
Research by date. Keep it as current as possible. Filtering searches by no less than two years will stop you from chasing rabbits.

This post originally appeared on the Reputation Capital Media Blog.