Have you ever been invited to download a free white paper or whitepaper? I have downloaded quite a few over time and were always pleased that most of them were well-written, attractively presented and were chocked full of valuable content.
Writing white papers and disseminating them online is a very common practice for businesses today. One of the main reason is that it positions organizations as thought leaders and experts in their fields.
So what is a white paper anyway? It is usually a 6-8 page document that presents solutions to customers’ problems. When done correctly, it can generate leads, additional buzz and help smaller companies gain visibility and positioning similar to that of their larger counterparts. Some companies even recruit brand or corporate journalists to ensure that the content is well written.
Some of the keys to publishing successful white papers include:
- Great design. As a marketing tool, it should look professional and appear well-designed because it conveys a specific image about your organization. After all, as web readers, we are taking time out of our busy schedules to read 6-8 pages of content.
- No sales. White papers should not be sales pitches. They should present information that potential customers ask. They want information that can solve their problems, and in turn, you will gain their trust.
- Fact Check. Make sure that your facts, figures, statistics and any other quantitative figures are checked and double checked. You wan to gain potential customers’ trust, and that will not happen if you provide inaccurate information.
- Don’t call a spade, a spade. In other words, you do not necessarily have to refer to the document as a “white paper” since it doesn’t always hold the required prestige. Maybe a “special report” or “manifesto” or some other authoritative sounding title. Also include your target audience in the title. For example, “A special report for web writers,” could be a great subtitle for a white paper that I may write.
Check out these additional tips from contently.com on how to create effective white papers.