8 Steps To Write a White Paper
What is a white paper?
White paper is a formal document which is mostly used by marketers and sales people. White paper is used as a powerful tool to market your company’s position and its useful information about products and services in order to generate leads. It requires an extensive research and expert knowledge to write about a company’s profile and to solve a problem. White papers are data-centric but they are usually formulated within 5 to 10 pages. Under the content marketing strategy, white paper provides information and media to convince investors, business to business partners and customers of a company. Its main role is to educate and to sell your idea or product. Therefore, it is significant to know the right steps to write a good white paper.
How to write a white paper?
These are the following 8 steps to write a white paper:
Step 1: Determine your audience
Firstly, before starting your paper you must know for whom to write it for. To identify the right people, a writer must know their professional needs, their educational background, workplace history and job titles. It is very significant to know their level of knowledge and level of understanding so that your topic should sound familiar to them. Writing beyond your audience’s interests would not address the purpose of your paper. Keywords and jargons should be used according to your audience and authentic facts should be delivered to them.
Step 2: Extensive research on the topic
To choose a topic according to your audience, various issues and commonly discussed topics must be researched extensively. After the topic has been chosen, detailed review of literature is required to fulfill the purpose of the paper. The facts and arguments presented in a white paper must be supported with relevant research findings. This will strengthen the core content of a white paper and will help in solving a problem. If the research findings are not valid and reliable, the audience will not relate to it and they may get mislead by your paper. This might put bad impression of your company on them.
Step 3: Choose the right topic for your prospects
It should be a topic that relates to your audience. Your topic should be based on some criteria such as; It should be based on solid research, it should be something you have a grip on it and it should be something from your audience’s interests.
You can choose a topic by observing the ongoing trends, common issues or by looking at current demands and needs of the people. But a topic is only right when it resonates with your focused audience and clearly addresses their needs and interests. Make sure the title name of your topic should be catchy.
Step 4: Grab the attention with your Intro
Start your paper with an interesting sentences to grab the attention of your reader as readers don’t have much time to read lengthy content of your paper. The introductory paragraph must be captivating to glue your audience to read your whole paper. In your intro, you must focus on reader’s interests and needs and tell them what they will accomplish after reading the paper will pique them to read it all of it.
Step 5: Create high-value content
As white paper is used as a content marketing tool it is important to emphasize on the value of the content of the paper because it’s like a billboard or signage which is representing your company. It is an opportunity to provide your insight and create an image of expertise in front of your audience. The content must be rich with valid facts supported by statistics and images. Arguments should be based on relevant research and authentic references. The write up should be descriptive, comprehensive and complete. These qualities will add value to your content of your paper. Moreover, your paper should represent your professional appearance by your business writing style. The format should be according to your corporate standards.
Step 6: Creatively design your white paper
Designing your white paper creatively will attract readers to read it thoroughly and will help them understand your paper easily as nowadays people have attention span of less than a second. So designing it creatively and accordingly to your topic will play a significant role in the success of your white paper which includes choices regarding the typography (use of fonts), color and the usage of visuals like shapes, charts and image. This will ultimately add value to the content of your paper.
Step 7: Organize your white paper
White paper should be organized structurally with proper headings and subheadings. This includes:
1. Cover sheet with title
4. Analysis of the topic
5. Solution to the problem / Recommendations
7. Appendix (company description, contact options)
Step 8: Proofread your paper
The final and most important step is to proofread your paper which means to find out any grammatical mistakes or any irrelevant information and then to correct those errors. You must first write up all of the paper and then edit it, recheck it again and again until there are no mistakes found. Any error in your white paper may destroy your and your company’s image. Therefore, proofreading before finalizing your white paper is a must to do step.