Writing a White Paper: 5 Things You Need to Include

Designing Your Business Communication

You may be sitting there wondering exactly what a ‘white paper’ is. Essentially, it’s a report. But it’s a report with a couple of purposes. First, the initial purpose is to educate the reader about a particular issue or problem. Next, the purpose is to persuade the reader to resolve the issue or problem using your solution. This means white papers are well suited to marketing because that’s the job of a salesman, to educate and persuade.

While there really is no right or wrong way to write a white paper, there are elements that need to be included:
1 – Revelation and explanation of a problem. This could be any issue or problem that your product or service can resolve
2 – Proof that the problem exists. Being able to show the reader that there is indeed a problem goes a long way towards having them buy your product or service
3 – Exploration and connection of the primary problem to other, smaller problems. Showing a “domino effect” of issues that relates to the primary situation is also compelling
4 – Proposing a general solution. Giving the reader a way to cope with the initial issue and resolve the associated issues with a general solution leads to the next step
5 – Proposing your specific solution. This is the point where you bring up your product and explain exactly how it fixes the initial issue and takes care of the secondary issues as well.

Again, while there is no specific way to write a white paper, using these steps will give you a solid structure to build from. The reader gets the education that he has a problem and through a reasonable process is shown a persuasive solution to take care of it.

Done properly, white papers make a very powerful marketing tool. Many times, the prospective client may not even realize that there is a situation that could be seen as a “problem” but with a well crafted white paper, not only can the problem be point out, but the solution as well. This means the customer can see the problem see the solution and see how it will have a positive impact on their business.

There are white paper templates you can download for your favorite word processor so putting together your own white papers is a breeze. Take a look at using white papers in your business. You may be surprised at how effective they are.