How to Write a White Paper
Table of Contents
Originated in England in 1922, white papers today are one of the most popular types of content used across different industries, including business and marketing. Typically, they’re used to explore a particular subject matter related to a specific product or service and are highly targeted at generating sales leads.
Regardless of their popularity and wide usage, not every marketing content produced can be a white paper. That is why in this guide, we’ll discover what is white paper, its structure peculiarities, and its difference compared to the other content types like a college paper or a research paper, as well as provide some great ideas on making a unique article in a white paper format.
What Is a White Paper?
When you think about white papers, the first thing that comes to mind is PDF articles with thousands of words. However, society keeps evolving, and so does the content we consume today.
A white paper today is a document typically used by business professionals who want to share in-depth information concerning a specific topic. For instance, the white papers are used for sharing the marketing data, comparing different products/services/campaigns/etc., presenting the complex analysis or describing complex technology developed by a company or brand to the average consumer.
As a rule, the typical white paper is delivered in the form of a PDF document 2,000 to 2,500 words long. Because of the in-depth research, it might take weeks to research and analyze all the information to craft a salient and compelling argument. The white papers are pretty similar to academic papers since they are built in a structure of a factual, research-based document with the purpose of sharing specific facts or some technical information.
Talking about the purposes of white papers, there are different aspects of how they can be used:
- To generate more leads (for instance, the white papers can be offered in exchange for email addresses or other contact information).
- To build trust among the audience (for example, by tackling a certain problem/pain point, providing particular information on a certain topic).
- To boost sales (as an example, with the powerful data-driven content that impacts user decisions and behavior).
As you can see, white papers are really useful at present. But how can you create one?
Main to Know About the White Paper Structure
Now that you know the definition of a white paper, it’s time to figure out the main sections this type of content includes. Generally, all the white papers consist of the following sections.
A catching, original title that introduces a specific problem and is targeted at a certain audience category without mentioning the product name in it. Simply put, it should be more targeted on the potential benefits and not the feature-oriented ones.
Generally, this part will provide the direct, pithy statements of your research to engage the reader, as well as offer a clear, general summary of what your white paper is about. Regardless of the absence of details, it still must provide enough detail to satisfy readers and get them interested in the full version of your white paper.
In this section, you should generally define the issue and provide some background words to explain why it is relevant – all this will benefit the credibility, as well as help you to find common ground with the target audience.
This part should accurately identify the business problem without promoting the solutions you can offer. Make sure it’s written completely from the viewpoint of your potential customers and not the company that sells.
Here, you’ll describe the list of relevant technologies available, including the ones offered by your business and competitors, for example. Try to support your arguments with specific tables, charts, or graphs to bolster your positions. This part should provide the key insights into the current state of affairs and where your solution will hit.
You’ll finally be able to describe your solution in detail with this part, explaining why your solution is out of competition. Strengthen your arguments with case studies or customer testimonials to show the performance of your solution and its results.
Overall, that’s the most critical part of your white paper that can grab readers’ attention and provide the real statements on why your solution will work for them. As an example, that can be the ROI details, usability, speed of implementation, and many others – anything that can resolve or relieve the target customer’s pains.
This part emphasizes the benefits of a solution offered, as well as the risks it might lead without the use of a solution, by pointing out the most important things you want readers to remember.
Call to Action (CTA)
One of the most useful and powerful sections that are usually missed in many white papers. Simply put, it addresses your readers what they should do and how to do it: for instance, that can be an offer of a free trial version, free assessment, free gift certificate if you call today, etc.
Now that you know what makes the white paper different from the other formats of academic papers. Nevertheless, there are different types of white papers which organize the narrative in slightly divergent ways. That’s why our next paragraph will describe the main formats of white papers used today.
Choose the Appropriate White Paper Format
Regardless of their data-based nature, knowing the structure is not enough to learn how to write a white paper. Depending on what information you are to uncover in your academic paper, you’ll choose one of the following types of white papers:
This type is used specifically to detail the technical characteristics or specifics of a new product/service. Typically, they’re designed to boost the readability of complicated and topic-specific information.
That category is mainly targeted at the pain points of a certain problem or challenge that customer experiences in a related field. Here, the major goal of a white paper is to raise a data-based argument on how a product/service can resolve the problem, as well as its benefits compared to the other solutions available.
Under this type of white paper, authors can present the data as numbered lists, highlighting the key takeaways, strong sides, and benefits of a certain product/service. The main advantage of these white papers is turning the complicated topics into easy-readable and more digestible.
White Paper Topics & Structure: Best Practices
Once you’ve learned all the basics of how to write a white paper, it would also be great to get some useful insights on how to make a perfect academic work for nearly any purpose, no matter whether it’s a grading papers or the marketing content.
- Define the target topic and make research on it. Once the topic is finalized, give yourself enough time for in-depth research on it.
- Ensure the white paper explores large amounts of information, as it is a long-form document.
- Make an outline for the white paper, focusing on the target audience, specifics of your research, and the structure of your paper.
- Pay attention to the introduction of a white paper. Proofread the sentences, make a spell check and ensure it grabs your readers’ attention: focus on the most important and enticing details of your research, use exciting, active, and simple language to keep the audience focused and engaged.
- Keep in mind the focus of a white paper: to share factual, technical information. Avoid the business/brand marketing presentation voice in your content.
- Always check for plagiarism in your white papers before they’re submitted – to ensure the content is fully original and tackles a relevant problem.
- Keep your white paper in the format of a stand-alone document (typically, it is featured under an online PDF or a dedicated webpage that can be circulated independently)
All these tips seem to be clear and obvious. However, many writers today still overlook them while writing! Nevertheless, following these writing practices can significantly eliminate the delivery time and enhance the paper quality as well.
Get Your White Paper Delivered with Grademiners!
Related to the informational category of content, white papers have already become one of the most common types of document, the structure and writing specifics of which every student should know nowadays. It can deeply explore a specific topic, problem, or solution relevant to the business, which makes it one of the basic marketing tools to reach out to the general public.
Nevertheless, not everyone can create a perfect white paper right from the first attempt, especially with no inspiration or writing passion for this type of content. But you can always get professional writing assistance from the expert authors at Grademiners!
Our team has years of experience creating different types of academic papers for any industry, regardless of the educational level. So, no matter whether you’re a high-school student or a Ph. D., the service will find the best expert that ideally matches your requirements!