What Does A White Paper Look Like?
Your white paper must be simple to navigate. Sections ought to naturally lead into one another. Use formatting to make your white paper skimmable, and graphics to attract consideration to the important thing factors you’re making.
Listed here are the important thing elements white papers sometimes have:
- Title web page
- Desk of contents
- Govt abstract
- Sections and subsections
- Graphics, charts, and/or sidebars
- About your organization
Align Your White Paper To Strategic Enterprise Values
1. Know Your Viewers
“Write for pay scale, not demographics.” That is what Jimmy Daly, co-founder of Superpath, wrote in an Animalz article. Pay scales outline how tactical or strategic the data must be to enchantment to your goal reader:
Because of this your goal reader wants several types of data inside the similar matter relying on whether or not they’re a pacesetter or an implementer. Leaders want technique and frameworks to assume inside, whereas implementers want hands-on ways and instructions.
To be taught extra about your target market, we suggest studying:
2. Know Your Enterprise Experience & Strengths
White papers are a type of thought management — content material that positions your enterprise as a good supply in your business. They provide the probability to focus on your strengths.
However, how have you learnt what topic areas your enterprise excels at? Carry out a SWOT evaluation.
Throughout a SWOT evaluation, you establish the strengths, weaknesses, alternatives, and threats your enterprise faces. You may persist with the strengths and alternatives if you carry out one to establish your experience.
Take into consideration the matters you recognize extra about than your competitors (strengths), and brainstorm topics your competitors doesn’t cowl (alternatives).
3. Select A Subject That Intersects Viewers Wants & Enterprise Strengths
For one of the best probability of white paper success, select matters that your enterprise makes a speciality of that your viewers additionally cares about.
At CoSchedule, we name this strategy the content material core. It balances your focus between visitors and promotion.
If you use the content material core to determine in your white paper matters, everybody wins. Your clients get content material they need to learn, and also you unfold the phrase about your enterprise.
And that mixture results in your perfect clients getting extra information about your product, taking them via the advertising funnel.
4. Analysis Your Subject
Begin with inside analysis and collect all proprietary data that helps your matter. This consists of:
- Outcomes out of your purchasers or clients, like buyer success tales
- Unpublished buyer interviews
- Anecdotes out of your gross sales and customer support groups
- Viewers surveys (for instance, our advertising statistics report is predicated on a survey we ran)
- Quantitative knowledge out of your consumer base (for instance, Mailchimp makes use of their consumer knowledge to publish electronic mail advertising benchmarks)
- You probably have the time and assets: your individual analysis research (Andy Crestodina of Orbit Media Studios has a improbable information to get you began)
Then, leap into exterior analysis. This can rely in your business, however listed here are some preliminary factors to start out:
Pay attention to all the pieces that aligns together with your matter. Proper now, you may’t know which knowledge factors or examples you’ll use, so it pays off to maintain monitor of something fascinating.
5. Outline The Drawback Your Viewers Wants To Clear up
Return to the viewers analysis you carried out in step one and consider issues your clients face that your white paper matter might clear up. By understanding the problems your clients have associated to your matter, you’ll be capable of current your white paper as the answer.
Ask your self these questions to seek out issues associated to your matter that your viewers faces:
- What information gaps does my viewers have on this matter?
- How does this matter problem my viewers of their enterprise day-to-day?
- What worries concerning the future does my viewers have associated to this matter?
- What troubles does my viewers have implementing this matter of their enterprise?
6. Outline The Resolution Your White Paper Supplies
Now that you recognize the problems your clients face associated to your matter, you may create an angle on your white paper. Think about how one can share information about your matter to resolve your viewers’s drawback.
Let’s take a look at how Deloitte presents an answer in its 2022 Retail Business Outlook white paper’s introduction.
It begins by presenting the issue: Retailers have to preserve remodeling their companies within the face of pandemic-fueled change.
Then, it supplies the answer of informing retailers about 2022 traits to allow them to preserve their companies on the correct course sooner or later.
Plan Your White Paper Writing & Formatting
7. Write Key Factors In A White Paper Define
Depart notes for your self to quote references and sources. Writing from a content material define helps you’re employed sooner and crush author’s block.
Right here’s the right way to construct your white paper define with the analysis you probably did to this point:
- Headline: Begin with a working model that describes your matter; you may all the time polish it up later. CoSchedule’s Headline Studio may help!
- An government abstract: A placeholder for a brief description of what your white paper is about. Add key factors right here so you may construct your abstract later.
- Introduction: What’s the hook that may draw your readers to maintain studying the white paper? What are the principle ache factors and matters you’ll cowl?
- Part subheadings: Every part is some extent that helps your general argument or a step within the course of you’re presenting. Their subheadings ought to clearly introduce them.
- Subheading content material: Record the subpoints you are making in every part and any supporting data that you just got here throughout in your analysis.
- Conclusion: Summarize your key takeaways. If it’s applicable, you may contemplate including a call-to-action right here, too.
Use our white paper template for the simplest option to construct your white paper define.
8. Get Inspiration From White Paper Examples
Need to get impressed by white paper examples that work? Take a look at the record beneath and see how people like Apple, Amazon, and Vox Media strategy their white papers.
9. Stylize Your White Paper Doc
Use this planning and outlining stage to additionally map out graphics, charts, sidebars, and one-pagers.
You are able to do this with textual content bins, tables, and web page breaks within the Phrase doc. This fashion, you’ll have placeholders instead of visuals you’ll add within the design stage in a while. This can aid you form your writing primarily based on the skeleton of your white paper’s last look.
Moreover, use this step to regulate the looks of your fonts and headers. In Microsoft Phrase, right-click the model you’re utilizing, click on Modify, and choose totally different headings or paragraphs you need to replace.
10. Write The White Paper Title
Greatest white paper headlines are those who join your matter with an final result your reader craves.
A powerful headline consists of:
- Phrase stability: a mixture of widespread, unusual, emotional, and energy phrases
- Size: optimized for visibility and click-throughs on search engines like google and social media
- Sort of headline: forms of headlines embrace ‘“why” headlines, how-to, and query headlines
- Readability and skimmability: simplified for straightforward studying and understanding at a look
Begin by itemizing headline choices. Take a look at these headline formulation and templates and these 73 (!) methods to write down a profitable headline.
From there, leap into Headline Analyzer Studio and examine your strongest headline choices towards options. Use the phrase financial institution to strengthen these headlines and choose your favourite to make use of in your white paper.
11. Write The White Paper Introduction
Your introduction bridges the promise out of your headline and government abstract with the important thing factors and sections of your white paper.
Greatest introductions assist the reader:
- Really feel like they’re in the correct place, studying the correct white paper primarily based on the issue they need to clear up
- Get a high-level overview of what you’ll cowl
- Show you do have the solutions they’re on the lookout for
Use your introduction to tease upcoming sections and contact on the information, assets, consultants, and authentic analysis you’ll use to make your factors.
12. Break Up White Paper Content material With Subheadings & Subsections
Every subsection ought to make a definite level, like defining a step of a course of or making a particular argument.
When you’ve researched and outlined your white paper in an organized approach, writing your white paper subsections needs to be comparatively simple.
As you write, you may discover a niche in your analysis or a subsection that could possibly be added primarily based on the narrative you’re growing. If that occurs, make an observation and are available again to it in the direction of the tip of your writing to fill these gaps.
13. Embrace Knowledge & Visuals
Is there knowledge or an thought that will be finest offered visually?
Mark any segments that will profit from a visible asset. You’ve marked some potential spots in your define, so now that you’ve got your draft, get particular concerning the precise visuals you want.
- A graph or chart of an vital knowledge level
- A one-pager with a key statistic or quote
- Comparability tables
- Customized illustrations
14. Recap The Drawback & Resolution In Your Conclusion
Whereas white papers are a sort of promoting collateral, they typically have a softer call-to-action than most others.
When your reader reaches the conclusion, they’ve simply gone via plenty of information. Your conclusion ought to recap your white paper’s drawback and answer to tug all of it collectively and drive them to motion.
Going again to Deloitte’s 2022 Retail Business Outlook white paper, you may see a abstract of the issue and answer in its conclusion.
As you replicate on the retail insights you learn within the white paper, the conclusion reminds you that retailers nonetheless face challenges, however additionally they have alternatives. It strikes you ahead by explaining how you need to use the data you simply discovered to maintain transferring towards the longer term.
15. Proofread & Edit
Along with your first draft carried out, it’s time to assessment and edit your work—or hand it over to your editor, in case you have one.
Then, dig deeper to examine the move of your white paper and the energy of the factors you’re making. This consists of:
- Objective: Does the content material fulfill its promise? Does it reply all of the questions your reader might need?
- Construction: Is the construction optimized for engagement and completion?
- Information: Is all the pieces factually correct? Double-check details, statistics, hyperlinks, and sources.
- Understanding: How simple is your writing to know? If there may be language or jargon your viewers might not perceive, be aware it and contemplate alternate options. This may be corrected with a easy search on Thesaurus.com.
Pay attention to any elements it is advisable reposition, phrase otherwise, or make clear; when you undergo all the doc, leap into these edits. Seize some extra modifying ideas right here if you happen to want them.
Now You’re Prepared To Write A White Paper
You made it—you’re able to analysis, plan, write, design, and promote an distinctive white paper.
Observe this course of to construct a chunk of content material that may serve your advertising and enterprise objectives for a lot of months and years to return. Don’t skip the promotion and repurposing efforts to make your work go a good distance.