For older people, the term whitepaper may conjure images of government-issued documents that nobody wants to read. In business and marketing it is a long-form sponsored content that gives useful authoritative information and solutions about a particular issue or problem. These definitions alone give whitepapers a really bad reputation. Let’s face it, they can get quite boring. Even Wikipedia’s definition of it will make you want to nap. It can be forced upon us especially when we have to “get it from the experts” or someone ordered us to read it. And in today’s lead-capturing world, whitepapers can be misused.
So why are they still being used? Some companies believe in the power of whitepapers but don’t know how to write it. This is sad because if done correctly and used properly, whitepapers can be one of the most useful and powerful tools for sales and marketing.
These are reasons enough for you to start creating some seriously mind-blowing whitepapers. Take these writers’ tips in the hopes that you can create that killer whitepaper, too.
- People should want to read about your topic
Your biggest hurdle could be finding the right topic for your target audience. If you’re reaching the wrong people, then your information and solution will be useless. Know your audience, what they want to know about their problem and how your paper can be more informative and reliable than what’s already out in the net. One way is to find what “hot” topics have the most comments in social media sites. And if you know you’re an expert in one of these, then start writing.
- Make a good outline and draft
In all great writing, there should be an outline and a draft before the actual writing happens. Your paper should accomplish whatever goals you had before starting. This can be done by making an organized list of your topics. So give it some great research and thought.
- Grab their attention with your introduction
Make sure you get your audience’s attention starting with your introduction. Give them some insight as to what they can get from your whitepaper without giving all the solutions right away but at the same time, compel them to keep on reading. Right from the start, you should have hooked your audience with a great intro that’s captivating and engaging. An engaged reader has just given you his trust that you “feel his pain” and will feed his need. Don’t waste that opportunity.
- Set the right tone
Unfortunately, people confuse whitepapers with blogs and eBooks. While both are highly descriptive, you need to use a more business-like manner when writing whitepapers. Use a professional tone. You are coming off as the authority here so don’t make it sound friendly and conversational. People will expect to gain a significant amount of knowledge and information from you so don’t try to entertain them. Be very specific and use simple language at the same time avoid jargon and acronyms. It shouldn’t be too technical and salesy either. It should be written like an academician would write it and not a blogger.
- Be clear of what you can give
Your whitepaper is not a sales pitch. It is to inform and give solutions with hard evidence. Do not try to persuade people why they should buy your product now. Whitepapers should give something valuable to the readers with useful tips, problem-solving guides and direct-to-the-point solutions.. If there are no credible facts to back up your data, readers will be skeptical about your expertise. Best solution is to cite sources with plenty of footnotes.
- Give it a good edit and proofread
Write your lingering thoughts and do not get distracted by others stuff. Just compose your draft and complete it. Once you’ve edited and given it a good proofreading, ask other people to read it and let them pinpoint common errors in grammar and punctuation.
- Don’t ignore design
What makes eBooks attractive are the eye-catching designs and images in it. Whitepapers don’t need be as flashy as eBooks but then again, don’t ignore some helpful visual elements like graphs and tables. Make sure they are done professionally to give your whitepaper that polished look that’s easy on the eyes of the reader.
- Promote like there’s no tomorrow
Without the proper promotion of your whitepaper, it will not achieve its goals even if the content is great and the writing is impeccable. After posting it on your website, do some more promoting. Mention it on your blog, on social media sites and related newsletters. And if you have some clout with industry leaders like bloggers and journalists, try to get them to share it. Lastly, publish a press release to get more mileage.
Whitepapers are like authority badges. You flash them and people will listen to you like a god. You write them, and readers will trust you and believe in what you have to say. Hopefully, these writers’ tips have helped you. If written properly, your readers will have a genuine interest and you won’t have to focus on selling your product. Your whitepaper will do all the convincing for you.