8 Basic Tips for Writing an Amazing White PaperBy Contently Staff February 10th, 2012
Writing a white paper isn’t easy, but it can be an awesome way to stand out as an expert in your field. Although crafting a white paper is more of an art than a science, there are general guidelines you can follow to help you out along the way.
- Have a topic people will want to read. This seems obvious, but finding the right topic can be your biggest challenge. First, figure out who your audience is; who are you trying to reach? Then, choose an issue that’s interesting to them—perhaps a common problem they’re faced with, or a case study of successful companies in your industry.
- Be descriptive and professional. Writing a white paper is not the same as writing a blog. You need to use a business writing style and be fairly descriptive. You will probably end up writing at least ten pages to make your point.
- Set up a great intro. Be captivating. You want to catch people right off the bat with your introduction. Pique their interest, and then tell them what they’re going to accomplish by reading your white paper. This means writing a summary of your white paper and including an organized list of topics.
- Emphasize the value you will create. Your white paper is not a billboard for your business—it is an opportunity to create an image of expertise and insight that will help your readers. In return, they may buy from you later. First, though, you need to give them something of value, and you can only do that by filling your white paper with useful tips and information.
- Organize your draft. Come up with a clear outline first, and then proceed to write your paper. Be sure the flow of your white paper is in line with your goals. Grab their attention, deliver value, and get them to take further action.
- Write first, edit second. Once you have your outline put together, get your thoughts down while they are still fresh in your mind. Just start writing. Don’t worry about editing until you have completed the draft. You will have no problem going back and making everything flow well afterwards.
- Proofread. Go back over your draft and see what needs to be done to make it read better. Ask for other people’s opinions, because they may be able to catch mistakes you overlooked. Read it out loud to ensure there are no run-on sentences or awkward phrases.
- Follow up with how you can help. If you are selling a product or service that will help your readers, make sure to mention it at the end. You shouldn’t use the body of the white paper to sell your product or service, so make sure to use a catch that is naturally incorporated when you summarize the paper.
White papers are great tools for generating credibility. Customers respond better to informative write-ups than they do to blatant ads. The trick is to make sure your white paper is organized and well thought out so that you will create a natural and genuine interest in your services.
To learn more about how to create great content, check out our playbook for launching and staffing a content marketing program.Image by Thaikrit