Guideline on Writing a White Paper

Posted date: August 21st 2019 writing-a-white-paper

If you want to compile and impart company's knowledge of your industry, writing a white paper is a perfect way to do it. However, how can you achieve it in a white paper?
White papers can be likened to business reports but at the same time, they have their own peculiarities. In order to produce an efficient white paper, you need to know what makes it different from business reports. In this article, we will tell you everything about writing a white paper in detail.

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A white paper definition

A white paper is an authoritative document, which aims to give a reader information on a certain topic. To write it, you need to use both expert knowledge and research into a document that provides arguments for a certain solution or recommendation.
This paper enables readers to understand an issue, find a solution to a problem, or make a decision.
White papers are based on data. Because of a great deal of data and research, they are deep reads and usually have a formal style.

Application and Value

Companies resort to white papers to document expertise and market themselves.
As a rule, white papers are aimed at people who are not directly affiliated with the business. Hence, they are used as a tool to attract readers to the business by providing top-notch industry knowledge. One should not mistake a white paper for a sales pitch. It sells the business by offering the internal expertise and valuable recommendations, not by direct sales.

White Paper Format

As a rule, white papers have a standard document format. The content order may remind business reports, but a white paper has a conclusion at the end unlike business reports that put the main conclusion at the beginning of the document. Such an order corresponds to the desires of the readers and their main aim to receive information.
In the case of a white paper, it aims to inform the readers and widen their knowledge of the problem throughout the document. The final section contains a so-called ‘Ta-da!’ moment where the audience obtains a solution that is backed by the evidence in the document.

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What Is a Whitepaper Not?

A product pitch.
Although according to a definition, a white paper is an informational document produced by a business to promote or present the main characteristics of a solution, product, or service, mind that excessive shilling of the product might put off your audience.
A whitepaper aims to inform and persuade relying on facts and evidence, not to provide reasons for buying your product right now.

How to Create a Whitepaper?

In fact, there are no fixed requirements for writing a whitepaper. Anything can be called a whitepaper. At the same time, there are some boundaries. If we do not observe them, we can bewilder our readers and make the paper less credible.
Make use of the following tips that will help you to do everything by the book:

  • The length should not be less than six pages together with illustrations, charts, and references. However, it can contain more pages if the topic has a lot to cover.
  • White paper template: A white paper is comprised of a title page, table of contents, executive summary, introductory part, a few pages enlightening the audience on the problem, a few pages for hypothesizing a solution, a few pages giving an example of a business that practiced that solution to obtain results, and a conclusion.
  • Density: As a rule, whitepapers are difficult to read. In fact, readers should read them a couple of times to derive each piece of information from it.
  • Format: PDF in portrait orientation (8.5" by 11").
  • Style: Whitepapers need to be formal, professionally performed and thoroughly edited.

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Final Thoughts

To produce a white paper of good quality is not a piece of cake. However, the time and efforts spent will result in a useful document that will impart your company's knowledge, further the overall education, and facilitate progress in your industry. Above all, a top-notch white paper will multiply business opportunities.

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