White papers have been used as a business strategy for a long time. White papers can vary from industry to industry however that are some steps you can take to craft a compelling white paper that people will read and that will drive the desired results, it doesn’t matter what industry you work in.
Below we have compiled ten steps that will help you write a white paper that people will want to read.
Ensure that you and any other team members working on the white paper have a clear understanding of what a white paper is and what the plan is moving forward. White papers are based on fact and can be compared to research papers, so the research, writing and publishing process should reflect this.
Identify the target audience.
As a team, you must understand who will want to read your white paper. As you plan, draft and write the paper you should always have the target audience as a focus. Ensure that the information that you include in the white paper is relevant and interesting to keep your target audience engaged.
Gather relevant data.
Commonly white papers are based on research; therefore conducting primary and secondary research is essential. Gathering all data that supports your claims that you plan to discuss in the white paper. Then you should develop a structure for your paper that will present the data gathered compellingly.
Present the problem or identify the promise that the white paper will deliver.
White papers often present a problem to the target audience and then offer a solution to that problem within the paper. A white paper should promise something that they will deliver once the target audience has finished reading the paper.
Write in an informational style, not a marketing style.
Do not write your white paper in a style that is selling a product. The white paper should be used as an informational tool that should not include any sales language or sales pitches.
As mentioned white papers are not a sales tool. They should build trust in a brand and among the target audience. Offering in-depth information that is not biased, factual, practical, and reliable. Make sure that the research data included proves the points you are focused on, quote the sources that have been added to boost credibility.
Present the solution.
Once you have identified the problem, offered further information about the problem, it is now time to present a solution to your target audience. Your product or service should, of course, be included as a solution along with other options. Just make sure that when identifying possible solutions, you don’t make your product or service too ‘sales pitchy’.
End with your pitch.
Once you have presented all solutions and delivered your promise of the white paper, then you can add your sales pitch about your product or service.
Don’t forget that formatting matters.
It is essential that your white paper is formatted correctly and looks professional. YOur white paper should be easy to read and include a table of contents, executive summary, and conclusion so if your target audience prefers to skim read. Make sure that headings and short paragraphs are used to break up the content and make it easier to understand.
Create a relevant and search-friendly title and subtitle.
The title and subtitle will attract the target audience’s attention and entice them to read your white paper. Therefore the title and subtitle should be clear as to what the paper will include and what the benefit is of reading it.