Skip Nav

White paper

When I first started writing white papers more than 20 years ago, I looked all over for a FAQ.

❶If cost is a selling point it is necessary to highlight it. More and more companies are posting white papers online to build their authority — download a few and give them a read.

What is a white paper

So, What Are White Papers, Exactly?
Navigation menu
BREAKING DOWN 'White Paper'

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see White paper disambiguation. Retrieved 16 March Retrieved 27 June The Role of White Papers.

The Structures of Policy-making in Canada. D - Carleton University. The Machinery of Government. Citizen involvement in Public Policy-making: Access and the Policy-making Process.

Ottawa, Canadian Council on Social Development, Crafting White Paper 2. Retrieved 13 December Retrieved from " https: Promotion and marketing communications Technical communication White Papers Grey literature.

Use dmy dates from June Views Read Edit View history. In other projects Wikimedia Commons Wikiversity. This page was last edited on 20 July , at White papers are used early in the sales cycle, before the prospect makes a purchase. These can be called the "Vision" or "Planning" stages of the buying process, or the "Research" or "Selection" tasks of the Universal Tasks.

At this point, the customer needs documentation, training and technical support, not white papers. In general, the best flavor to attract attention, cast Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt FUD on competitors, or nurture a prospect through a complex sale is a numbered list. The best flavor to influence a selection committee at the bottom of the funnel is a backgrounder. IT people generally want to see technical details. They will tolerate longer papers with modest production values. In fact, a slick and colorful format tends to make them suspicious.

Executives want to see bottom-line benefits summed up in a page or two. They want to hear about lower costs, better sales, higher profits or improved customer service. Executives expect polished production, with clear graphics they can understand at a glance.

Managers want to hear about streamlined workflow and labor savings. They are keen to see how a new system would affect their area and their people. User reps want to hear about ease-of-use, training and support. They can be more or less technical, but they will likely be detail-oriented. Users are not often a significant audience for white papers. But if a user rep is involved in a selection committee, you need to address their concerns at some point.

A mixed audience or selection committee may want to hear everything touched on above. In this case, you may need several white papers, each with a different flavor and each with content geared to a somewhat different audience.

And there are "soft costs" in terms of the time it takes your subject matter experts to answer interview questions and e-mails and to review drafts. All this to say, a white paper is a significant project in any marketing budget. Trying to do a white paper on a tiny budget will not yield best results.

After working on white papers, in my experience it takes 6 to 8 weeks to get from the first planning interview to an approved white paper draft. And it can take longer if people travel a lot or take their time with reviews. Illustration and design take an additional week or two. Translations, if required, take more time. The good news is that a vendor can often continue to use the same white paper for years.

This long life helps to achieve a very positive return on the investment in a white paper. In fact, the best way to promote a white paper is to handle it as a mini-product launch. Do everything you would do to launch a new product, and your white paper will be on the road to success. See my article on the 18 must-do tactics to promote any white paper. Remember, a white paper is a pre-sales document intended to attract prospects or explain an offering.

Any B2B vendor selling anything relatively new, relatively complex or relatively costly could likely benefit from a white paper. Writing your fifth white paper for a long-term client in an industry you know is not so difficult. If you understand the material and work well with others, writing a white paper can be smooth and enjoyable. All in all, writing a white paper is no harder than writing a major magazine article of several thousand words.

That means one to two weeks full-time should be enough to complete a white paper Like any corporate writing project, you must allow time for interviews, research, outlining, drafting and perhaps coming up with diagrams. A client will expect a few progress reports. And you will have to incorporate their comments into your drafts. If you manage this process well, writing a white paper can be smooth and efficient. If not, it can turn into a never-ending project that drags on and on and on and on and on and on Obviously, if you have specialized knowledge about a niche market, you can charge more than a generalist who will need more time and ask more questions to get up to speed.

The most effective strategy is to head off these problems before they happen, by planning and managing a white paper to yield the best possible results. Submit short deliverables for discussion , like a creative brief or a one-page outline, before you start writing a page document. Get your client or company to make a tangible commitment to completing a white paper.

For example, freelance writers can get a partial payment in advance; in-house writers can get an okay to forego other duties writing the document. Work closely with the designer and make sure they understand the white paper format. After that, to take part in a forum where white paper writers post and answer related questions, visit my LinkedIn group, called Get More From Your White Papers.

This group is by request only and sticks strictly to white papers. Any off-topic discussions such as "where do I find clients? You can see what reviewers are saying about it here or check out the book at Amazon here.

Then, once you start writing white papers, publish good samples and testimonials on your website. And keep doing whatever works for you. For more in-depth information on this topic see my articles: To get clients, learn how to call a moose and Writers: Five strategies for finding white paper clients. It was used to distinguish shorter government briefs and position papers with white covers from longer reports and policy books with blue covers.

I have located white papers from the UK dating back to the late s. I am still searching for the earliest one on file in the UK government archives. One of the earliest white papers many people point to is the so-called Churchill White Paper from See more background at www. With the rise of the PC in the 80s, white papers started to become extremely popular in the IT industry. They have a major impact on buying decisions for billions of dollars worth of products and services every year.

Although these formats can offer a more engaging experience for certain audiences, they require higher budgets and different production methods. Those who call some other medium a "white paper" are likely trying to trade off the popularity and impact of these documents. For a longer discussion, see my article " When is a white paper NOT a white paper? Are there any industry standards for these?

What different types of white papers exist? When is each type of white paper most useful? White papers and other documents White papers and blog posts: White papers and brochures: White papers and case studies: White papers and e-books: White papers and press releases: White paper readers Who reads white papers?

Why do people read white papers? When do people read white papers? How do people read white papers? White paper sponsors Who publishes white papers?

Why do companies produce them? Where do white papers fit in the sales cycle? Which type of white paper should your firm create? How much does a white paper cost? How long does a white paper take? How do you promote a white paper? White paper writers What kind of companies need white papers?

How hard is it to write a white paper? How long does it take to write a white paper? How much can you charge to write a white paper? What main problems do white paper writers encounter? How can you learn more about white papers? Where do you find clients? White papers past, present, and future Where did white papers come from? Where are white papers today?

Where are white papers going in the future? Back to top What exactly is a white paper? A manifesto on how to solve a certain problem A "bait-piece" The glue that holds a campaign together An information widget A way to freeze-dry ideas A rare document that can be all things to all people Clearly none of these exotic definitions do the trick.

For some better clues, look at the content and format of these documents: In a word, no. Anyone can call anything a white paper. White paper experts including Gordon Graham have identified these key characteristics for a white paper: White papers come in many different types, with no accepted system for labeling them precisely.

Given this, the majority of white papers fall into one of these three main flavors: Backgrounders describe the technical features and benefits of a product or service 2. Numbered lists provide a light and lively roundup of highlights about some issue 3. For the three main flavors of white papers: Application guide Cheat sheet Installation guide Manual?! White papers and blog posts are usually quite simple to tell apart. White papers are usually PDF downloads of 3, to 5, words.

White papers and brochures are almost complete opposites. Brochures are sales documents intended to create interest and desire. A B2B e-book can be just about any length on just about any topic. In any case, here are some scenarios when an e-book might work better than a white paper: Your audience is prone to distraction They may be young, or on the road.

The goal is the same. Today, press releases are available to anyone on the Web, without the need for any gatekeeper. White paper readers can play a number of different roles in business, such as: Corporate executives decision-makers Finance executives financial recommenders IT managers and staff technical recommenders Line-of-business managers managers User representatives users In-house supporters of the purchase "champions" In larger companies, all these people may sit together on a selection committee that makes a collective decision.

White papers are especially well-read by IT managers. White papers used to be aimed strictly at IT professionals. People tend to read white papers when they: Dream of a way around a pressing problem Wonder if anything could solve their problem Look for something to satisfy their wish-list Research a possible purchase Make up a short list of qualified vendors.

No one reads white papers for fun; they read them for work. This includes companies in sectors like these: Computer peripherals and user interfaces Medical, test, or communication equipment Technical or scientific services Consulting. According to one study, vendors publish white papers for all these reasons: Gather leads for the sales force Educate potential customers Influence a selection committee Educate the sales force or channel partners Educate the media Send to a trade publication or website Redefine a market space Build credibility or mind share Keep up with competitors that have white papers.

A white paper can serve this purpose remarkably well. After making a purchase, the buyer has little need for white papers. What is the purpose of this paper? When will this white paper be used? Early in the sales cycle, your white paper can be more high-level and general. Later on, your white paper should be more detailed and specific. Who is the audience? What do they want? There are several costs related to producing a white paper: Research, writing and editing Illustration and design Translation, if applicable Printing, if applicable Promotion.

Each of these costs can be outsourced, or handled in-house. Translating and promoting are further costs. And then the promotions begin and run for many weeks or months.

7 Examples of Actual White Papers

Main Topics

Privacy Policy

As a white paper writer, I’m happy to say that white papers have grown up from the boring, highly technical documents they once were. At its core, the modern white paper clearly identifies a business problem and provides the reader with a succinct solution in an engaging easy to read format.

Privacy FAQs

Writing a white paper isn’t easy, but it can be an awesome way to stand out as an expert in your field. Although crafting a white paper is more of an art than a science, there are general guidelines you can follow to help you out along the way. Have a topic people will want to read.

About Our Ads

A white paper is a document which includes an outline of a problem that the project is looking to solve, the solution to that problem as well as a detailed description of their product, its. A white paper is an informative document that talks about the benefits of a technology or a product to the consumer. White paper writing intends to address all the issues faced by consumers in a specific arena.

Cookie Info

Now You're Ready to Format and Write This White Paper. We’ve done a lot of things so far. Some of it even involved a little bit of writing. Mostly, though, we’ve spent our time getting ready to write. Writing a white paper isn’t easy. You’re now staring down an intense and involved project. A white paper is a cross between a magazine article and a corporate brochure. Most clients want to read the educational magazine article part of the white paper to find out the solutions to their problems — but the persuasive brochure part of the white paper does its job too, and convinces the readers to buy the product or use the service.