There are a lot of things that you can write online. Articles, blogs, scripts, and e-books are all things that come to mind. However, for a business, one of the first things that you need to write are white papers.
A white paper is an in-depth report on a specific topic that shares problems, information, and data about that topic. They are designed to be educational reads that help their readers understand an issue and come up with a solution for it.
But how do you write an effective white paper, and why would your business even need one? Here’s what you need to know to put your own white papers out into the world.
A White Paper Is A Marketing Tool… But Not In The Way You Think
Whenever your business thinks about marketing, you often think about your product, and the very best way to get that product into the hands of your customers, which often means marketing your product and making people want to buy. While you can use a white paper to do that, you need to take a different approach.
A White Paper is designed to inform first, and market to your customers second. Your white paper should use facts and evidence to allow your customers to come to the conclusion that they need to purchase your product on their own. So be as informative as you can without having it become a product pitch.
White Papers Are Designed To Be Educational Reads
White Papers are designed to be thick, informative, and very educational reads that take quite a lot of time to write and also a lot of time to read. These are much more serious in tone and also more intellectual than blogs and e-books, and the people who read them are often very interested in the topics that are presented.
Granted, blog posts and e-books might be more fun to read, but if you are reading a white paper you need to be able to give as much knowledge as you can to your readers. They are reading your white paper in order to get knowledge. So if you aren’t an expert in whatever topic you want to write about in your white paper, you should become one before you start writing.
White Papers Can Merge With Other Things
But a white paper doesn’t just need to be a collection of dry facts and figures, and it can actually be used for a lot of different marketing angles as well. For example, some case studies are long enough that they can work as white papers.
Case studies are a story of how the customers achieved success with a product or by working with a company, and if they received a technical service, then they will need to have that written on a white paper.
Marrying your white paper with a case study can help you prevent it from becoming too boring and dull to read, it can also allow you to take your readers through a story of how the customer’s life changed due to your products.
Another thing that you can combine a white paper with is a reference guide, and depending on the topic that you are writing about, you can cram the paper full of technical information that is used as a resource, and it can also work as a marketing tool too.
Now that you know what a white paper is, what do you need to know in order to write one?
How Do You Write A White Paper?
First things first, you need to do your research. White papers are filled with research and are expected to be written by experts. If you don’t know everything about the topic, don’t write a white paper unless you have the experts and the statistics to back it up, and speaking of statistics.
Include Citations to Back Up Facts and Statistics
The best way to add some serious authenticity to your white paper is to fill it with facts, but also make sure that your facts and any statistics that you reference are indeed referenced. So find the primary sources in your research and then make sure that you include a citation section in the back of your white paper.
This will allow for anyone who is interested to continue learning more about the topic from the source, and it will only increase the credibility of your business! If you need help turning your research or your links into citations, then check out a free citation generator and you will find what you need to create perfect citations.
Use Imagery To Break Up The Text
A white paper can be a lot of text which is something that can be very hard to read after a while, even if you make the text interesting. The best way to keep your readers engaged is to make sure that you break up the text with some pictures, charts, or other images. So don’t be afraid to find relevant images in order to add some life to your white paper.
Have A Strong Outline
Your white paper doesn’t need to be a massive textbook of information, but even if it is a long piece you still want to make sure that it is concise and easy for the reader to follow so they don’t get lost on a tangent.
So make sure you have a strong outline that is written before the white paper body gets written, and make sure that you stick to it when writing. Have an introduction to the topic or the problem, the body of the paper, and a conclusion to tie everything all together.
White Papers are Easy Once You Get Started
While white papers might seem to be overly complicated and hard to write, once you get your mind around what a white paper is and what it isn’t, you will be able to use them to benefit your business.