The term “white paper” used to refer to a government document designed to explain certain governmental policies. Over time however, the term has come to refer to a document that explains pretty much anything, most often something that someone is trying to sell. To this effect, it has become a powerful marketing tool in many aspects. To achieve white paper writing success, it is necessary to know not only why a white paper is written, but also how to write one effectively.
The reason for writing a white paper is twofold. The first and original purpose is to educate potential customers about a product or service. It should explain in detail what the product or service is and how it can help them or solve a problem they may be having. Of course, in doing so, it can take a subtle turn as a marketing piece, convincing potential customers to become actual customers, which is the secondary purpose of such writing.
The key to white paper writing success is to be subtly persuasive while establishing expertise on the subject in general. For example, if you are selling toilet plungers, you want to write the paper in a way that explains what a toilet plunger does and how it can help the reader, while subtly acknowledging that your toilet plunger is the best. This has to be subtle however. If it is not, the whole thing just looks like an advertisement and the “establishing expertise” element is lost.
White paper writing success is somewhat of an art. It takes both knowledge and talent to give readers the information they need about a general product or service while simultaneously convincing them that your particular version is the best. The following tips should help.
Tips for White Paper Writing Success
- Grammar: Excellent grammar is necessary when establishing yourself as an expert in anything. Bad grammar completely destroys credibility.
- Knowledge: The single most important element of white paper writing success in knowledge of the topic. If you are not an expert, become an expert. You must be able to write about the topic knowledgably.
- Flair: If no one reads it, it will not be successful. A white paper cannot be boring regardless of how boring the topic may seem to some. The information that the reader needs has to be put forth in a way that is enjoyable for them to read.
- Subtlety: This is the trickiest part. How do you casually throw in that your version of the product or service is the best? One way is to just mention that it is available, maybe even only once, and provide a way to find it. Maybe mention it is available and throw in the phrase “among others.”
Hire Someone if You Need To
White paper writing is not something that just anyone can do well. If you are not one of those that can do this kind of writing successfully, do not attempt it. It will only waste time and therefore money, as it will not yield results. Hire a writer and the rewards will pay his or her fee in the long run.
White paper writing is a great way to market your business, but it must be done with its purpose in mind, and it must be done well. What are some of your best tips for white paper writing?