White Paper: Definition
The purpose of a white paper is to fully inform the readers about a particular topic. This comprehensive document provides in-depth information on a topic based on further research or expertise as well as practical advice that they can easily apply.
Longer and more thorough than a regular article, but easier to read and understand than an academic article, it presents important facts and points from a practical point of view. Compared to e-book, it is more technical and intensive with information backed by research, statistics, data (charts, graphs, tables…) gathered from reliable sources.
In the consulting, finance or especially B2B sectors, companies use white papers for several reasons:
- Present research results related to their field;
- Claim your product’s superiority;
- communicate their organization’s philosophy on a topic;
- Build trust and raise awareness by solving a problem or providing useful information on a particular topic;
- Increase sales by using data-driven content to influence buying behavior;
- Generate leads by providing white papers in lieu of email addresses.
Indeed, companies often create and offer white papers for free in PDF format, but require an email address in return (and often other information, such as company size, position, and location) before the document can be downloaded. Thus they can create a list of prospects to be used for marketing or sales purposes.
With all these potential benefits, using white papers in your content marketing strategy can yield great results. In fact, according to several studies, more than three-quarters of respondents are willing to exchange personal information for a white paper.
types of white paper
A company may publish several types of white papers including:
- The most common is an information document where the benefits of a company’s products, services or practices are explained in depth;
- problem-solving approach, which guides the audience through a solution to a common problem in their industry;
- Those that summarize useful statistics and information about the state of a particular sector or industry.
But whatever type you choose, the content of the white paper will mainly serve to highlight Value I’Specialization of the company Presenting in-depth knowledge in a given area and on a subject.
Steps to Write an Effective and Concrete White Paper
Writing a white paper is similar to writing any type of document that is primarily for informational purposes. Before you start writing, keep these basics in mind:
- WHO Do you have an audience?
- what What are your goals?
- when do you want to end it?
- where Will you be promoting and using this content?
- why Should your personality care about this whitepaper?
- what are your expectations Are they realistic?
Once all these points are well defined, it’s time to get started! Here are all the major steps in writing your white paper.
choose your topic
Before you start creating your white paper, you clearly need to choose a relevant and influential topic. Ask yourself several questions beforehand:
- Is there an important aspect of your industry that is still largely untapped online?
- Is there a specific angle of your business that you would like to analyze and share?
- What aspect of your business would be useful to share?
- Has your team made any commendable achievements that can be shared?
In any case, choose a topic that you know and understand well. White papers are expert documents, so make sure you have enough knowledge to share and have reliable sources or evidence to base yourself on.
Define and understand your audience
Defining your audience goes along with choosing the right topic. But beyond the interests of your audience, consider guys People who will read your white paper. Are they coworkers? What are people likely to read material that is relatively unfamiliar to them?
Thanks to these different elements, it will be easier to establish the specific tone and jargon to use. It also limits the scope of research you can include. It is always important to make sure that all arguments based on your audience are strong and well supported, which brings us to the next step.
Before you start writing a white paper, it’s important to think about what it should include. Brainstorm the topic and do some research beforehand. Ask yourself what the person needs to know about the subject in order to achieve the purpose of the document.
Since white papers are usually solution-focused, think about the key questions or concerns the target audience is likely to have.
Go even further by trying to understand your audience deeply. Ask yourself questions like these:
- Why does my audience care about this topic?
- What does my audience know about this topic?
- What does my audience want to know more about?
- How will my white paper help them?
- What type of search analysis is best for my audience?
By answering these questions, you will naturally come up with background information on the topic, key data, and other solutions to their concerns.
white paper structure
Now that you know what your document should contain, you are ready to write your white paper. Almost all white papers follow a basic structure:
a catchy title
Attractive titles are those that connect your topic to the outcome of your reader’s dreams.
A Table of Contents / Introduction
A white paper usually includes a table of contents because of the length of its content. The introduction can be a summary of the entire document or an introduction to the mentioned issue or product.
Content / Subtitles
Like any other type of content, you can organize text and divide it up with subsections and scenes. For example, some white papers are double-column, but typically use subheadings to organize important ideas.
Note that a good white paper can contain 3,000 to 6,000 words or even more. Remember that this is an in-depth presentation and analysis of a specific topic.
And don’t be afraid to have white space around your main design elements. This prevents your document from looking cluttered. Also, don’t forget how your overall design will impact your audience. Use the same font, color, and branding that you use for your other marketing materials.
Use images strategically to help split the text and make the data easier to read. When writing a white paper, you can use visual elements such as:
- comparison table;
- custom illustration;
- Video slide if it is a slide presentation.
Placed properly, they will improve the reading experience and make your document much easier to digest.
You can end your whitepaper in several ways:
- concluding paragraph
- about the company
Once you’re happy with the material, the next (and final!) step is to proofread it very carefully. Remember that some typos make the actual word different from what you intended to use. Also, some words sound alike but have different spellings, so pay attention to that as well to avoid changing the meaning of the information.
Ready to write your white paper?
Today, creating quality content is one of the best ways to capture the attention of your target audience. Writing a white paper is a mix of writing a business report and a web content article with professional advice. If you apply these key steps, you can help the reader (prospects, customers or community) choose a solution or make a decision more easily.