How To Write A White Paper
October 9, 2013
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White papers are a specialized kind of document produced by companies, and many employers are on the lookout for great writers who know how to write a white paper. The term started out in government, but white papers have now been taken up by corporations and various industries. Writing a white paper is not like writing an essay or report; it has its own special set of criteria. If you need to know how to write a white paper, read on to find out just what a white paper is, the elements of a good white paper and why people write white papers.
What Is a White Paper?
White papers prepared by corporations are a type of informative promotional material. They are usually used in B2B contexts and are a medium for explaining the technical details of a product, why it is useful and more.
White papers usually follow a particular structure. They begin with an abstract and then present a problem or challenge. The next section provides a technical explanation of the product. Then the white paper describes how the product resolves the aforementioned problem. At the end there is, of course, a conclusion.
It is not enough to know how to write a white paper; you need to be able to write a good white paper to set your product and company apart from the competition.
First, the topic must be relevant. This means that the product must be truly useful to potential readers of the paper and that this usefulness is clearly illuminate in the text.
Second, they must have a clear objective. The objective may vary depending on the needs of the business. Some common purposes for white papers are to generate sales (especially B2B sales), to explain why a product is superior to that of competitors' products or to promote the company's expert status.
Third, they should include plenty of technical detail and illustrations. That is not to suggest that white papers should be full of jargon. On the contrary, jargon should be limited so that the majority of readers can understand the content. However, the purpose of a white paper is to give a full explanation of a product, so details, diagrams and complete explanations are required.
Why Write White Papers?
White papers function primarily as educational material, but they can also be used as internal documentation to educate the company's own sales force. A well-written white paper will help buyers make decisions about the product, which is why it's so important to present the information in a clear yet detailed way. White papers not only establish a level of expertise, but they promote the company and inform the reader.
Quick Tips for Writing a White Paper
You already know the main elements for how to write a white paper. Here are a few quick tips to take your white paper writing skills to the next level.
- Stay on topic. If something does not support the topic or purpose of the paper, leave it out.
- Do not create a brochure. White papers contained well-sourced, objective facts, not pictures and advertisements.
- Be technical. People reading a white paper want to know everything about what a product does and how it works.
Remember to stay on topic and stick to the facts, and you'll be crafting great white papers in no time.
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