How to Write and Format a White Paper

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Full Guide

1. What is a white paper?

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.

Who uses white papers?

In the past, white papers were most often produced by governmental agencies, NGOs, consultancies, and financial institutions. Many industries use them now.

Types of white papers

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.

The purpose of a white paper

- Build trust; - Boost sales; - Lead generation.

2. How to write a white paper

Start by picking the right topic.

Define your audience

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.

Pack it with value

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.

3. Mistakes a white paper should avoid

- Sounding like a sales pitch; - Lack of adequate research; - Poor design; - Not telling a story; - Leaving it abstract.

This was a summary of an in-depth guide on Writing a White Paper