A white paper is an in-depth report or guide about a specific topic and the problems that surround it. It is meant to educate readers and help them to understand and solve an issue.
In the past, white papers were most often produced by governmental agencies, NGOs, consultancies, and financial institutions. Many industries use them now.
One type is the backgrounder, in which the benefits of their product, service, or methodology are explained in depth.
Another is a problem-solution approach, which walks the audience through the solution to a problem that is common in their industry.
- Build trust; - Boost sales; - Lead generation.
Start by picking the right topic.
Defining your audience goes hand in hand with choosing the right topic. But moving beyond your audience's interests, it’s important to think of the kinds of people who will be reading your white paper.
White papers are not meant to be advertisements for your company, and you should avoid any overt promotion. Instead, you should provide plenty of useful information that will be valuable to readers even if they don't become customers. Emphasizing value is the key to a great white paper that will get shared and widely read.
- Sounding like a sales pitch; - Lack of adequate research; - Poor design; - Not telling a story; - Leaving it abstract.