A white paper is an in-depth guide on a topic, the problems surrounding it, and a proposed solution for handling them. The term “white paper” came about after the government color-coded reports to indicate who could access them, with the color white referring to public access.
The definition of white paper varies heavily from industry to industry. For example, it provides an in-depth informational report that explains a complex concept or provides a persuasive solution to a problem in the business world. It might be similar to an eBook, but they are different. They are designed to solve a specific question for readers and build a brand in the process.
The old definition is derived from politics, where it means a legislative document explaining and supporting a particular political solution.
In technology, it usually describes a theory behind a new piece of technology. Even a business white paper can serve various uses and audiences, some more product-based than others.
Why is a White Paper Called so?
The term originated when the government papers were color-coded to indicate distribution. A white paper was designated for public access. White papers are used in politics, business as well as technical fields to help people make decisions. The white paper has referred to documents used as sales or as a marketing tool in commercial use.
What a white Paper is not?
A white paper should contain useful information, but it is not a sales pitch. Its goal is to help the reader understand an issue, solve a problem, or decide not to tell the world why people need to buy your product right now.
Purpose of a White Paper
Its purpose is to advocate that a particularly given position is preferable or that a particular solution applies to a specific problem. The Decision-making processes of current or prospective customers are influenced by it.
Types Of A White Paper
Companies commonly use the following three types
- Benefits of the business – This type of paper will tell customers how a particular offering or product will benefit them. It can work at any point in the sales cycle.
- Technology – It is mostly written for a more technical audience as it will detail a particular product’s features and benefits. It works best in the later stages of the buying cycle when the reader has adequate knowledge on why he/she needs a solution, wants to know more about a solution, and whether it will be a good fit.
- Hybrid – It offers something for everyone as it combines the first two styles with a high level of technical detail and product information. Most needs of the reader will be met by the hybrid white paper.
Format of a White Paper
You will want a title that will grab attention and communicates the problem you are solving, which is appropriate for your target audience. Including the title’s product name is not a good idea as your title should be benefit-oriented, not feature, oriented.
The executive summary
Include direct, brief statements of your position to engage the reader. You need to provide enough facts to assure and encourage the reader to continue reading the paper even though it summarizes what the document entails.
It is an overview of the white paper. It discusses the main points that comprise the document. It also helps the customer identify the relevance of the content to them. In this section, define the issue and provide a background discussion.
The problem statement is the problem faced by customers that the white paper will address. It needs to be stated clearly for easier understanding by the reader. This part should entirely be from the point of view of the target audience.
Including any competing technologies, describe the relevant technologies at a high level. Support the arguments with tables, charts, and graphics. You are educating your target audience on where your solution fits and the current state of the art.
The solution section helps generate leads for the company as it talks about how the product or service will help the reader. In white papers, the gentle approach works better. Use appropriate language and level of detail according to your target audience. Remember to show why your solution is much better than that of the competition.
In this section, you need to grab the reader’s attention by providing plenty of assurances that your solution will work for them. Show the reader that you understand his/her pain.
The conclusion is a summary of the entire article, and it is advisable to include the essential points. Many readers may skip the paper’s entire contents to read this section only, so it is advisable to write this section as if it were a standalone document summarizing the main selling points about your solution.
Writing a White Paper
Identify Your Audience’s Pain: It is essential to know the audiences who will be reading your white paper. Knowing this helps to establish the voice you use and whether specific vocabulary is appropriate. The scope of research you should include is also narrowed down. It is vital to ensure that all the arguments are logically supported, but the stats and information presented should be relevant to your target audience.
Do Your Research:It would be best to avoid any forms of product promotion as white papers are not meant to be advertisements for your company. Instead, you should provide the readers with valuable and plenty of useful information even if they don’t become customers. Always remember that white papers serve to show your expertise as a company or a brand in a given field. Your readers should come away with the impression that you are a reliable source of expert information and having learned something new.
Create An Outline: To avoid getting lost in your thoughts halfway through, you need to make the outlining process more detailed.
A persuasive white paper outline should include;
- Headline – describe your topic
- An executive summary – a brief description of your white paper
- Your introduction – what you will expand on in the body of your white paper
- Section sub-headings
- Sidebars – include sidebars with additional information
- Images – use images for data best presented by them
- Conclusion – summarize your key takeaways
Put Pen To Paper And Flesh Out Your Outline: Outlining makes it easy for a writer to organize his/her work. Outlining also saves time, and it generates a free flow of ideas rather than thinking on the spot.
Use Imagery To Support Your Points: Visuals can help you present information in a visually exciting way. Visuals include graphs, tables, and charts.
Get Feedback: The higher quality your write-up is, the more authority you will have in your writer’s eyes. Getting feedback from someone you trust is essential for readability issues and the correction of typos.
Invest In The Formatting And Design: Color, layout, and imagery go a long way to make your whitepaper appealing. However, it is not necessary to get too flashy with it.
Download White Paper Templates
Broad topics can be quite challenging to comprehend and decipher. Depending on what writers aim to convert, the intentions of writing a paper differ. The white paper helps in writing reports, proposals, or discussions.
Suppose there are tons of information that needs to be put together to deliver a comprehensive document for the target audience’s understanding. In that case, white paper templates are helpful. Simply download our professionally designed white paper templates today to get started.
White Paper Format
White Paper Sample
White Paper Template for Word
White Paper Frequently Asked Questions
The basic standards of a white paper are difficult to narrow down. Anyone can call white paper anything. There are no laws or regulations to stop them.
1.Building a white paper must be from narrative text.
2. Must be in portrait format and at least five pages long.
3. Must provide useful and educational content.
4. Must provide well-researched facts.
5.Must be used before a sale
6. Must include an executive summary and introduction.
1. Technology benefits white paper.
2. Product comparison white paper.
3. Business benefits white paper.
4. Hybrid technology white paper
5. Video and slide formatted white paper.
1. Business benefits white paper tells customers how a particular product benefits them.
2. Product comparison white paper positions one solution as the best choice in the market place by weighing pros and cons.
3.Technology benefits white paper goes into detail about product features and benefits.
4. Hybrid technology white paper combines the business benefits white paper and technology benefits white paper offering something for everyone.
5. Video and slide formatted white paper translate white papers into a video or a slide format for customers looking for content on video and slide sharing websites.
Anyone who is thinking of buying a new high-priced product or service. IT managers, especially.
People read white papers to find useful information to help them solve an issue. It is often used to learn technical details of a product or service they’re thinking of buying.
People write white papers generally to provide the best solutions for addressed problems. It is also written to help customers in decision-making processes.
The white paper is a popular tool for content makers. They can be used to position your company as a reliable source of information to present useful information about your products and services. It educates readers while also helping them to understand and solve an issue.
An eBook and a white paper are similar in marketing. The difference between the two is that white papers are more technical and in-depth. A publisher’s facts and opinions come from original research from reliable resources. They include charts, tables, graphs, and other ways of visualizing data.
There are different types of white papers used. Whatever style you produce, your expertise in a given area should always show on the white paper contents. Your audience is searching for information on your white paper and will look for an authoritative source. However, a white paper is not a sales pitch. You should write a white paper with a target audience in mind. It may be long time customers or new prospective buyers who are entirely new to the field. The document should provide a complete investigation (external research and internal knowledge). The white paper’s sole objective is to identify a particular problem and address it accordingly.