Most people associate White Papers with large corporations that do all sorts of complex things.
The name has connotations of prestige, highbrow concepts and power, but that doesn’t mean they are reserved for the companies that call glistening city tower blocks home.
White Papers are marketing tools that are used to help potential customers resolve challenges they are facing. Of course the solution they offer will just happen to be a product or service offered by the company that produced the White Paper – fancy that.
Whether you write your White Paper in house or hire in the services of a professional copywriter or editor to help you, there are several things it must do (or in some cases, must not do).
The whole premise of the humble White Paper is to provide the information your potential customers need. So if you’re struggling to think of something to write about as yourself:
- What problems are your customers facing?
- Are these things you can help them with?
- What advice can you give that will help them?
Once you have the answers to these questions you can start planning your document.
2. No sales
As tempting as it may be your White Paper is not and should not be a thinly veiled advert.
The main element in any sales process is trust. When face to face its easy to get a sense of whether you trust someone or not, but in an online world it’s not so easy. To convince the reader they can trust you, it’s essential that you offer advice and information. Any whiff of sales and they’ll be off so don’t blow it.
More often than not White Papers are written in over complicated English with loads of big words, complex jargon and ridiculously convoluted sentences.
Write yours in a conversational style that speaks the language of your reader. Break it up into short paragraphs with plenty of sub headings to give an outline of what it covers.
Some of you are probably frowning as you are reading this, but a conversational style is far more effective than formal corporate speak because it generates a friendly approach that makes you come across as being genuine, approachable and helpful.
If you are making claims it’s essential you back them up with relevant facts and figures from reliable sources (that should also be cited within the document).
A White Paper without substantiating evidence will come across as woolly.
5. Good looking
Getting a professional designer on board is as important as a professional writer. Your finished document has to look the bee’s knees so make sure you don’t fall at the final hurdle by using a homemade PowerPoint cover with clip art images.
As with everything a catchy title is essential and another tip is to ditch the name ‘White Paper’. Go for something that is more likely to appeal to your readers such as ‘A Special Report on…’
Finally, once it’s written and ready to go, promote it like fury.
Place it on your website, promote it through your social media channels, email marketing and newsletters. After all, if you don’t tell people about it, how are they going to know it exists?
White Papers – or whatever you want to call yours – can help any business regardless of size or sector.
Have you used them successfully in your business?
If so, leave a comment below and tell us how and why you used one.