How to Write a White Paper

Understanding the Value of White Papers

One of the most powerful yet underutilized weapons in the marketing arsenal of any business is the white paper. The white paper can open doors and give your potential clients insights that can ultimately lead to long-term partnerships. They’re strategic documents that give businesses the opportunity to show that they’re true thought leaders by making complex issues plain.

When this is done everyone wins. The reader wins because, in you, they’ve found a partner capable of providing them with the value they seek. At the same time, your business wins because the expertise you’ve shown puts you in a position to realize exponential growth.

All too often, white papers are overlooked but taking the time to develop a catalog of these strategic B2B documents can be the catalyst that takes your business to the next level.

Types of White Papers

White papers are important and so many businesses miss out on the benefits they can bring. There are three different classes of white papers and finding out which one best meets the needs of your business and positions you to resonate with your audience should be the first step in your journey. Let’s take a look at each.

The Backgrounder

The Backgrounder is a favorite for new businesses because it gives them the opportunity to build a value narrative. Some customers may not be familiar with what a new business has to offer, and the Backgrounder offers the perfect place for an introduction. If your services save time, money, or other resources, this is your chance to shine.

If you have proof that your product supersedes any in the market, now is the time to make that claim and substantiate it. This is no time to be shy, humble, or demure; this is where you lay a foundation, a path if you will that will lead customers to your door.

The Numbered List

Readers love lists. They’re easy to follow and easy to digest while presenting facts succinctly. They grab and hold attention and if you’re looking for a fast and easy way to get your white paper portfolio built up, the Numbered List is without question the best option for you.

When opting for the numbered list, be sure to understand your audience. This will help you choose how to order the list to get the most bang for your buck so to speak. Next, determine the purpose of the document. Are you looking to make a sale? Is your goal to educate your audience or are you using it as a competitive tool? Knowing these things in advance will help you develop a better document.

It’s also extremely important to have a compelling headline and sub-headline. If you’re giving five reasons to do something or another in a numbered list, spell that out somewhere in the headline or sub-headline. This is a must, and it could determine whether your audience takes the time to read your piece or passes it over. There is no point in going through all the trouble to build this piece of collateral if you’re not going to ask for the relationship. So, with that, be sure to end with a strong call to action.

The Problem/Solution

The Problem/Solution is without question the most popular white paper. It’s also the one that customers report being the most successful. The Problem/Solution is effective because, when done properly, it puts the reader in a thinking mindset.

They begin reading and they see their business being the one with the problem. As they get to the solution portion of the document, they see how yours helped others, and begin imagining how it can do the same for them. It’s that simple!

Take your time when using this method and accurately define the problem. From there, reference the solutions that are in the market, their drawbacks, and any challenges using them would present. Once you’ve done all these things it’s time to unveil your solution, the value it offers, and the difference you can make.

If this is the route you choose to take, be prepared to tell a compelling story with a beginning, middle, and end. This may be the time to hire a professional white paper writer who understands how to craft a narrative and position your brand correctly. More than any of the other types, this is by far the most strategic option, so having a skilled writer in place will be a must.

Hire a Professional White Paper Writer for Your Next Project

White papers are incredible sales and marketing tools that can be used at various points in the sales cycle. All too often, businesses undervalue their benefits and refuse to put in the hard work it takes to build a portfolio. While it is an investment, it’s an investment that will position your business for major returns well into the future.

Developing a white paper can be a challenge which is why hiring a professional white paper writer is highly recommended. The Coley Group is staffed with seasoned MBA writers with years of experience writing white papers for clients throughout the world. We welcome the opportunity to partner with you as you build this important component of your marketing model.

For more information on our suite of services including white paper writing, please feel free to contact us for a free quote.