Writing Effective White Papers
In the IT industry, the whitepaper has become a popular tool for promoting a product or service, and is often used in conjunction with case studies and other sales assurance.
In this article, I’ll show you how to create an effective white paper that will catch your business’s attention – and which pitfalls to avoid if you’re new to the field. Like other types of publications, such as a case study, the white paper has an accepted format that is recognized by readers. Stick to this approach. The readers know this style and will expect it from you. Only very experienced authors should try more adventurous and more radical formats.
Before you begin Define your audience. Once you’ve defined your audience, you can start adjusting your material to meet your needs.
It is very important to emphasize this point. Many inexperienced authors – especially those with a background in technology – will focus on the basic aspects of software or technology. Avoid getting stuck in detail. Although this has its place, it’s probably not here. Executives and those at the management level are your target readers. So write with them in your head.
Determine Your Topic Next, determine the main topic for your white paper. That may sound obvious, but many authors overlook this and move from one vaguely related topic to the next.
Stick to one topic per article. Avoid the temptation to discuss other features, functions, and innovations. Stay focused.
Write your white paper to achieve multiple goals. For example:
Make sure that you are the authoritative authority for the topic in question, d. H. That you stand out from the competition in this area.
Create awareness of new market trends and / or product offerings.
Shows how you are uniquely qualified to achieve this goal.
Ensures that decision makers choose you over competitors by providing compelling arguments backed by trusted credentials.
How to structure your white paper
Each whitepaper contains the following sections:
Introduction – This introductory section will cover the most important topics and trends in the industry you are dealing with. It may also contain recommendations or conclusions that you have made on the subject.
High Level Solution – Describes high-level relevant technologies, especially those that you have developed and intend to promote. Support your arguments with tables, charts and graphs. All of this reinforces your argument and contrasts with the main text.
Solution Details – Explains how the service, technology, or business model works. This is the heart of the White Paper. It contains very detailed descriptions of the proposed solution. You can also use tables, charts, and graphs with cross-references to external supporting documents for this section if necessary.
Business Benefits – Discusses return on investment, usability, and standards compliance. Customer voices are always very helpful. It shows that you are an authority in your field and can substantiate this with these notes. Do not take references for granted – not all of your competitors will be able to provide such endorsements.
Summary – Close the document with a brief summary of your key points. Since many readers skip the entire document and only read this section, here are the key selling points of your solution.
Here is a suggestion: Write the abstract as if it were a completely separate document. Distill it on one side and close with the most important point that the reader should remember. If this section is convincing enough, you can convince them to read the entire document.
Finally, remember that your whitepaper is a sales document. It is not a technical guide. When done, let it rest for a few days. Then go back and read it.
Ask yourself: Would I buy this solution?
Hopefully the answer is yes.
If not, do not be too strict with yourself as it takes some time to write a convincing white paper. Instead, identify and reinforce the areas that you believe to be weak. Soon you will have a beautiful, sharp document that you can stand proud of.