You’ve heard of a white paper, but you never really understood its purpose or how useful a whitepaper can be for your business. Much less you have no idea How to Write a White paper.
A white paper is essential for a business that wants to establish its expertise and present information using persuasive research and facts—all of which highlight your services or products.
If you have been thinking about using a white paper for your content marketing plan but held yourself back because you have no idea how to write a white paper, keep reading.
In this ultimate guide, I will walk you through the steps to creating your own white paper.
Table Of Contents
What is A White Paper?
Types of White Papers
How to Write a White paper
Distributing your White papers
What is A White Paper?
First used as “Churchhill’s White paper, “-a government policy document prepared by the Secretary of State for the Colonies in 1922.
Today businesses and other entities use white papers as in-depth reports or guides on specific topics and problems pertaining to their industry.
The use of the white paper is to educate, convince and help readers understand how the highlighted search or product will solve their unique problems.
A white paper is more technical than other types of content and provides more detail on opinions and facts, all backed by extensive research.
Within a white paper, to break up the research are charts, tables, graphs, and other visual data.
As mentioned above, anyone can use white paper to communicate their authority on a product or service.
Similar to an e-book, white paper is a long-form piece of content.
Who uses White Papers?
Initially, white papers were used by governments when needing to present findings of ongoing research.
However, everyone who needs to market their business’ services or products can use white appears.
Content marketing is incredibly important for anyone who has a business, and the best way to do that is through a white paper.
As you begin to create your white paper for your unique business, you’ll find white papers are very versatile and useful.
A huge benefit of using a white paper is how creating one can help to showcase your expertise.
Your audience wants and needs a solution to their problem, so they will search for an expert to help them.
Drafting a well-written white paper can ensure your audience develops trust and finds your information valuable to them.
However, it is worth note there are good sides and bad sides to long form content, as you will see in my article Long Form Content vs. Short Form Content.
How to Keep Your Freelance Business Organized
From Forsta-here is an excellent example of a whitepaper. Here Forest is highlighting how traditional marketing is no longer applicable to consumers.
Types of White papers
As with any type of creative content, white papers can come in many forms.
Highlight the benefits of products or services in detail
-problem & solution
The white paper will walk the reader through the solution to the unique problem that is common within that industry.
Meaning: Let’s say you’re in cosmetics and you have a concealer that helps women over the age of 30.
You noticed that women at that age have issues with concealer settling in the wrinkles around their eyes.
You would explain the solution your concealer provides for women over 30.
How to Write a White paper
The purpose of a white paper is to build trust with your audience.
Not only does the white paper demonstrate you are a reliable and experienced source, but you’re providing the audience with quality.
This will help you to provide more value to your audience, which turns them into consumers.
In fact, according to Adobe.com, consumers will buy from a brand they trust, and abandon those they don’t.
Studies show consumers are more likely to purchase from a brand they trust and provides them with value.
Choose your topic wisely
When doing your research online, look for “content gaps”.
Content gaps are essential gaps in information already provided.
Let’s say you discover there are several articles written about how to braid hair.
But you notice that no one is talking about how to braid curly hair.
This would be the content gap that you could target.
Not only is a content gap a way for you to reach audiences, but it is another way to rank high in search engines.
Another thing to keep in mind is your audience. What are they searching for, and what problems do they need solutions for?
As with the example above on braiding hair, you could do a quick search to discover if anyone is looking for curly braided hair, different hair textures, etc.
Here are a few other things to consider when coming up with a topic to write about:
- Are you qualified to write about this topic
- Should your audience be interested
- Has there been little written on the topic? Is there a “content gap?”
- What does this offer your audience?
- What value can they take away from this piece?
How to Keep your Freelance Business Organized
Intro and Outro
As with any writing piece, you want a cravable hook within your introduction and an outro that avoids self-promotion but has a strong CTA (call to action).
Your introduction should not only hook readers but also pique their curiosity, enticing them to read more.
You want to emphasize exactly what benefit they will get from reading your white paper.
As for the outro, again, avoid self-promotion. “You should buy from me, only me.”
Only mention your products or services if they are relevant to what you are writing about and can offer the solution your audience desires.
While you shouldn’t shamelessly promote yourself, you can and should at a CTA (call to action). You want your audience to take action, tell them what that action should be.
Whitepapers are considered the go-to content format for showing off the knowledge a business has of its field. But snackable video content is going higher up in the list of content formats that people prefer. I think it is safe to say that changes in content marketing trends are becoming really hard to keep up with!
Must Have Research Skills for Freelancers
Keep It Interesting
White paper, a type of long form content, can be a bit dry. While it is a bit different from a history term paper, it can be spiced up a little.
White papers are usually more thoughtful pieces than a regular blog post. Filled with charts, graphs, and other eye-catching images and features.
You could always inject a bit of a story into the white paper, which is essential in today’s marketing tactics. Use writing techniques from creative writing.
Meaning ensure you include a beginning, middle, and end.
Here is an example: The hero enters-doesn’t know how to braid hair. Feels shame!
The hero decides he will solve this problem. The hero has discovered your tricks to braiding hair, curly hair, or any type of hair.
The hero is happy, his problem is solved.
These days google is very friendly to mobile users. Making your content mobile-friendly will ensure google gives you a good rank.
While editing your white paper, ensure you make it readable. Recognize what you should cut out, such as unnecessary or repetitive sentences.
Watch for too much content. Having too much-convoluted content can overwhelm your reader. To prevent this during the outlining phase, highlight important information and make that a priority.
As you design the layout, keep your audience in mind.
The message you are providing the audience is content that aligns with their problems and goals.
Use a specific tone that resonates with your audiences, as well.
Distributing your White papers
Understanding your audience and what platform they frequent will help you determine the best place for you to distribute your white papers.
Studying your website’s data could also ensure how your audience will receive your white paper.
One way to distribute your white paper could be through a trip wire on your most popular page or post.
-A trip wire is a conversion hack that convinces visiting audiences to give something small for something in exchange.
For instance, their email address in exchange for your valuable information.
Social media is another excellent place to get in front of your audience.
You could recruit influences to discuss what value you offer and why their audience should look into you.
Try taking out advertisements on various social media. This will heavily depend on your budget.
Email Marketing- is a huge ROI(return on investment) never underestimate the power of email subscribers. In fact, many bloggers make a great living off of their email subscribers.
Creating your white paper doesn’t have to be a daunting task or a dull read.
Keep in mind a few factors, and your white paper will be successful.
Things to keep in mind are your audience, their problems, what value you will offer, and how you will give your audience what they desire.
After distributing your white paper, follow the leads. Send out emails helping you to identify what buying stage your audience is in.
Example: I see you downloaded our white paper, have any questions?
If you liked our white paper, you’ll love this..xyz!
Lastly, don’t be afraid to tell stories and get your audience excited about your content. Use your own stories or interview test audiences that have tried your services or products.
Or why not, use both!