As South Africans settle into the swing of 2020 economic uncertainty still dogs day to  day discussions. So despite the freshness of a new year, you might be feeling a little grey and this is the perfect time to flex your marketing muscle.

Take all the grey and apply it to some cerebral activity.

Consider grey literature. One of the world’s best kept marketing secrets. If your company can be relied upon as a resource for grey literature, your credibility is a sure thing.

The little-known area of grey literature can be as relevant to your business as any other information if not more so, but is not available through traditional publishing platforms.


If you understand using blogging and e-books to position your company, grey literature could be even more powerful. It’s grey, because it taps grey matter at a deep, cognitive level and the outcome is valuable research that stands as authoritative material beyond reproach.

The term, grey literature, refers to research that is either unpublished or has been published in non-commercial form.

Not commercial

The Twelfth International Conference on Grey Literature in Prague in 2010 arrived at the following definition:

“Grey literature stands for manifold document types produced on all levels of government, academics, business and industry in print and electronic formats that are protected by intellectual property rights, of sufficient quality to be collected and preserved by libraries and institutional repositories, but not controlled by commercial publishers; i.e. where publishing is not the primary activity of the producing body.”

Grey literature examples

Examples of grey literature include: abstracts, policy statements and issues papers, conference proceedings, theses and dissertations, research reports and government reports, to name a few.

Often these are put together by academics, advocacy bodies, and private companies among others. Because these resources are so highly prized, they are much harder to access. Libraries, research houses and universities are some of the places where you can find this material. There are some that are available in PDF download from the internet by regular search mechanisms and through web indexes.

Note the motive

And then there are those that you pay for. Here you have to be careful of the bias that may exist as the motive for the research might have a desired outcome, for example the efficacy of a drug in curing cancer or contributing to cancer, as the case may be.

So, where’s the opportunity? The opportunity is two-fold. You may access these resources to edify your own position and you can be the provider of these types of documents to strengthen your position as the most relevant in your industry.

Hire a writer

And if course if you are strapped for time, hire a writer.

According to the California State University, “In the future, grey literature will be even more important. “In a world in which free trade and instantaneous communication have eliminated many of the barriers to information flow, grey literature is gaining greater importance as a source of information for much of the world’s population (Weintraub).”

Why not be a part of it?

My bio

Iza is an award winning journalist. She has worked in advertising and communications for more than 20 years. A Word or 2 has been in operation since October 2014 and continues to thrive, serving customers writing and editing services across the board from blogs to speeches.